If you’ve adopted a pet in McKinney, chances are that you’ve visited the Collin County branch of the SPCA of Texas, located on Stacy Road just east of Custer in McKinney.

Informally called “the animal shelter,” the SPCA of Texas is much more than that: It’s a non-profit, independent animal welfare organization famed nationwide for its efforts to shelter and aid animals, and to educate the public about animal needs. Perhaps most importantly, the SPCA brings people and animals together in a way that enriches the lives of both.

The SPCA of Texas, one of the leading animal welfare agencies in North Texas, offers many services, including low-cost spaying/neutering services and veterinary wellness services for pets. McKinney is fortunate to host one of the two primary shelters that makes up the organization.

Spaying and neutering of pets is strongly advocated by the SPCA. The problem of unwanted and homeless pets has reached epidemic proportions in America, and one of the only ways to combat this tragic situation is via spaying and neutering.

How serious is it? Given current rates, it has been said that in order to provide a home for all homeless pets in America, every American — every man, woman and child — would have to adopt seven pets per day.

The McKinney facility is called the Phoebe Sherwood Perry Animal Care Center, named after the kind benefactor who donated the nearly 35 acres of land on Stacy Road for SPCA use.

While most of us know the SPCA shelter takes in and adopts out dogs and cats, did you know the facility houses many other types of critters as well? At any given time you might find pigs horses, chickens donkeys — for a while there was even a llama!

Here’s something else unusual about the McKinney SPCA: Its main building was designed and built to loosely resemble the shape of a dog. If you go to Google Maps and look at the overhead satellite image, you’ll clearly see the body, head, legs, and — thanks to the twisting front-entrance portico — even the tail of the dog.

Sometimes people confuse the SPCA with a municipal animal control service, but it’s totally different. In fact, the SPCA of Texas is not affiliated with other entities. It does not receive general operating funds from cities, the state of Texas, the federal government or any other humane organization.

It was formed in 1993 when the Dallas SPCA and the Humane Society of Texas (which was, at the time, based in Collin County) merged to form the organization we know now. Its forerunner was the Humane Society of Dallas, which traces its roots back to 1888. Interestingly, at that time the Humane Society sought to protect both animals and children!

As a non-profit organization that takes in “surrendered” animals and adopts them out to loving homes, the SPCA of Texas relies heavily on local volunteers. As Maura Davies, VP of Communications, says: “There’s no way we could do what we do without our amazing volunteers. They are highly valued and very essential for our operations.”

Davies explains that it’s easy to volunteer, and any assistance the public can offer is deeply appreciated and welcomed.

“We have about 500 volunteers who work throughout the organization, and we’re always happy to have more. We can work within a volunteer’s personal schedule, and there really is something for everyone,” she says. 

Readers with older children interested in animal welfare should know that kids’ help is also greatly appreciated. Children 12-17 are welcome to volunteer with a parent or legal guardian also serving as a volunteer.

In addition to working directly with animals as an “Animal Ambassador,” other work is available too. In fact, it’s now possible to serve from the comfort of your own home and computer as a “voluntweet” by sending out information and announcements, etc. 

To learn more about volunteering, see www.spca.org

The SPCA of North Texas wants the animals it cares for to be loved and to become members of loving families. You can help in these important causes with a donation of money, materials, or some of your time as a valuable volunteer — or with an adoption of a "furever friend." 

Davies and the other staff at SPCA of North Texas extend their sincere thanks to the public for caring about the organization and, especially, for caring about the many animals it helps.