Austin is the largest no-kill city in the country, which means it’s also the safest large city for pets. Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) is pretty proud of that. The private, nonprofit, no-kill shelter works closely with the city-run Austin Animal Center to provide a safety net for animals who are most at risk of euthanasia in other shelters.

When Austin passed no-kill legislation in 2011, it was in large part due to the incredible support and advocacy of the city’s pet-loving community.

We chatted with APA! about the best ways for you and your furry friend to adjust to your new city.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ANIMAL LOVERS RELOCATING TO THE AUSTIN AREA?

Between yappy hours and water activities, hiking trails and pet-focused events, there are plenty of opportunities to do fun things around town with your pet. Before you venture out, ensure your pet does well around other people and animals and familiarize yourself with appropriate ways to approach and greet a new dog and introduce pups to one another.

If you recently relocated to Austin and are looking to add a fur member to your family, APA! has dogs, puppies, cats, kittens available for adoption at the shelter on West Cesar Chavez. Cats and kittens can also be adopted at participating PetSmart and Petco stores around the city.

WHAT ARE SOME FUN PET-FRIENDLY HANGOUTS AROUND THE CITY?

Zilker Park and the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail feature both on- and off-leash areas for pups to play. If your dog’s a water lover, rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak at Rowing Dock and get out on the water to enjoy the city’s mild year-round weather.

“Yappy hours” give you the chance to bring your dog out for a drink. ABGB and Yard Bar are perfect places to take your pup to hang out with his or her friends while you grab a drink with yours. Check community calendars like Do512 or APA!’s event calendar for pet-friendly events. The BarkHappy app can also help you discover the dog-friendly world around you.

HOW CAN ANIMAL LOVERS GET INVOLVED IN AUSTIN’S PET COMMUNITY?

The choices are many. Turn your love for animals into advocacy by volunteering with APA!—we have plenty of opportunities to fit your interests and availability.

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