Houston PetSet Community Relations & Grants Manager Becky Best recently spoke with Ann Traynor-Plowman, Bay Area Pet Adoptions’ Board of Directors Vice President to discuss their program, impacts of the pandemic, and the renewed energy of staff and volunteers as they plan for a bright future.

For the past 15 years, Bay Area Pet Adoptions in San Leon has been dedicated to rescuing shelter animals or owned pets in need. Although many think they are a municipal shelter receiving government funding, it is actually donations and grants that allow this organization to do its life-saving work. 

Board Vice President Ann Traynor-Plowman has been supporting this work for nearly the entire time the organization has been in existence. She started 12 years ago after getting married and finding out her husband’s dog had been adopted after a long stay at a shelter. Wanting to learn more about the group, Ann went for a visit. Having volunteered at various shelters since the 1990s, it is no surprise that once there, Ann decided to dive in and become a canine volunteer. She has now been on the board for six years and has held the vice president position for the past three.

A passion for helping animals has always driven Ann, but she’s excited that the organization is now looking more broadly at its work to help the community and the people in it. “If people are doing better, the animals will do better,” she said, echoing the sentiments of many new national efforts to highlight the human-animal connection and ensure both are getting the help they need.

Bay Area Pet Adoptions provides this support through a food pantry, which they’ve had for years, and through low-cost vaccination clinics, education programming, and other services to help families and their pets. They hope to expand efforts to offer low-cost spays and neuters in the future. 

When asked about key accomplishments, Ann did not hesitate to praise the people involved with the organization. “The staff is amazing – I can’t say enough about them,” she said. She was equally complimentary about the volunteers and the new ideas they’ve been offering to help dogs and cats. “We are moving in a progressive way,” she said proudly. It was clear even in her tone of voice how much enthusiasm she has for the overall team and what they are building together.

This has taken some time, however. She admits that during the pandemic everything slowed down. There was concern about whether volunteers would return. But thankfully, Ann is seeing previous volunteers return and new volunteers join, all dedicated to providing the best care possible for the animals.

For dogs, this includes being part of the behavior program, which allows volunteers the opportunity to start providing basic levels of support while giving opportunities to “level up” and learn more advanced skills to work with more challenging dogs. The volunteers have been very receptive to this approach and everyone is eager to advance through the levels to help as much as they can.

This is especially good news for some of the harder-to-place dogs that Bay Area Pet Adoptions is willing to take on. One of Ann’s favorite cases is a dog named Odin. Upon arrival, he had a number of health issues, such as hip dysplasia, crusty skin, hair loss and some extra weight. He was generally sweet, but could also be a bit of a “cranky old man.” 

After spending time at home with Ann and in the shelter office, Odin was fortunate that a great foster stepped forward, one that happened to be a manager at a vet clinic. The foster fell in love and decided to make Odin a permanent part of the family. Today he is living his best life — playing ball, being spoiled and spending time with his fur siblings. It was the gift of time that allowed that to happen, both having time at the shelter and having a foster give her time all of which gave Odin the wonderful next chapter of life he deserved.

The team at Bay Area Pet Adoptions is dedicated to giving all of their pets these storybook endings. By seeing each pet as an individual, they work to recognize the pet’s body language, triggers and motivations. By learning what training methods work best for each dog (always positive reinforcement), the pets are more engaged and happy. Then, the team works to place pets with a family whose lifestyle and activity level matches that of the pet. Their hope is that every pet can be as happy and successful as Odin.  


Lisa Tynan