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Rescue finds homes for dogs saved from Burnet hoarding situation

Highland Lakes Canine Rescue

Highland Lakes Canine Rescue technician Jay Bailey with Legolas, one of 13 dogs the organization helped rescue from a Burnet-area home earlier this year. Law enforcement found about 90 dogs at the home. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Legolas and Aragorn are among the last of 13 dogs that Highland Lakes Canine Rescue took in from a total of 90 dogs removed from a Burnet-area home earlier this year. Burnet County sheriff’s deputies found the dogs in a manufactured home with dilapidated walls and holes in the floor. Some were trapped underneath the floor and in the walls. Most of the dogs weighed 25 pounds or less and shared similar physical characteristics. 

“We ended up bringing back 12,” said shelter operations manager Brittany Osbourne, adding that the rescue later received another dog for a total of 13. 

Shelters from Georgetown and Williamson counties also helped with the rescue.

“It was a great community effort,” she continued.

When Osbourne told the rest of the Highland Lakes Canine Rescue staff and volunteers about the situation, they stepped in to take on extra work. Volunteers washed towels, maintained facility grounds, cleaned kennels, and more. The extra hands allowed Osbourne and her staff to focus on getting the 13 dogs ready for adoption.

“They needed a lot of socialization and just being worked with,” she said, “and that takes more time.”

Seeing the first two dogs adopted into a nice home brought smiles to everyone’s faces at the rescue.

“It was really awesome,” Osbourne said. “To know they went from literally squalor to good homes, that was so wonderful.”

Highland Lakes Canine Rescue doesn’t just find homes for dogs, it works to make the best matches between animal and adopter. That has resulted in a low return rate over the years. The same has held true for the 13 rescued from the hoarding situation, of which only three remain. 

“Truthfully, I thought we’d get some returned,” Osbourne said, “but it’s been so wonderful. We get regular updates from the people who have adopted them, and it’s been great to hear about how they are doing.”

As for the remaining three — Legolas, Aragorn, and Rosie — Osbourne believes adoption will happen.

“They’re great dogs, so loving,” she said. 

The entire process, including the initial intake of the 13 dogs, the care and socialization, and eventual adoption has been a team effort. 

“It was quite an adventure,” she said. 

Highland Lakes Canine Rescue has a number of dogs available for adoption. The organization can also use volunteers for a variety of roles, including walking and socializing dogs, helping with facility maintenance, assisting at adoption events, and transporting canines. Visit the rescue organization’s website to view available dogs, learn about the adoption process, and see volunteer opportunities. You can also call 830-693-0569.