Pets Fur People


The Humane Society was established in 1963 by concerned citizens after they visited our city’s animal pound.  At that time, animals were housed in one small building regardless of the health of the animals.  Control was turned over to the Humane Society in 1964 and the shelter opened its doors in 1968.  They housed animals from Animal Control agencies including Smith County, Tyler, Lindale, Bullard, Whitehouse, Troup, and Hideaway. During that time, they housed approximately 400,000 animals. Their responsibility was to return those animals to their owners, adopt them, or humanely euthanize them. Gayle Helms came to the organization in 1998. Gayle’s background was in Broadcast Radio and TV, serving 18 years as the Program Director for KLTV after many years with KDOK radio station. In 2008, they made the morally right decision to become the only selective admission, no-kill animal sanctuary in East Texas. Although this meant giving up all government funding, at the beginning of 2010, that dream became a reality. 


To  provide a life sustaining sanctuary for homeless animals. Any animal that comes to Pets Fur People has a home until they find their forever family. What happens while they wait? They do all they can to make sure their time there is as pleasant as possible. They have a comfortable shelter, medical care including exam, shots, and medications. Their staff members insure that the animals are fed and watered daily and that they have a clean environment.  The dogs enjoy outside exercise in their play yards and dog park. The staff members and volunteers prepare them for their new lives by encouraging healthy socialization.  The cats have their own cattery which is every cat’s dream home.  There are floor to ceiling windows, cat trees, beds, toys…never boring especially when their volunteers come to play. To work to eliminate euthanasia through comprehensive education about the importance of spay/neuter and to increase public awareness of the responsibilities of pet ownership. Pets Fur People makes sure all the animals they offer for adoption are spayed or neutered in order to decrease overpopulation.  They take this message to our community by providing informational booths at public events, media outreach, and sending spay/neuter information via e-mail and Facebook.  


In addition to finding forever homes for homeless animals, Pets Fur People strives to help enhance the lives of the people in our community through pets.  They have partnered with Meals on Wheels to oversee the packaging of donated dry pet food to be delivered twice a month to seniors and residents with disabilities for their household dogs and cats.  President and CEO of Meals on Wheels, Mike Powell said “Dogs and cats provide invaluable companionship to elderly men and women who may not have any other regular visitors.”  If they can help these folks keep their companions and prevent one pet from being surrendered because the owner cannot afford food for their pet, they feel they have succeeded. Pets Fur People serves as an example for young leaders in our community.  Boy Scouts have earned their merit badges and Girl Scouts can complete their Gold Award at Pets Fur People.  With Eagle Scouts completing the fencing, they were able to open a dog park on their campus.  It is free, open to the public, and in the event of a disaster, it could be used as an emergency destination.  Also partnering with Tyler ISD’s Career and Technology Center, they give students hands on experience in design, fabrication, and construction by building structures for their campus.  In addition, Pets Fur People’s outreach programs include: PetEd, a humane education for kindergarten through 4th grade students and Compassion Connection, a pet therapy at local nursing homes. They also offer the opportunity for children who suffer from dyslexia to come read to the dogs and cats, giving them the confidence to finally read out loud in front of their classmates without embarrassment. They also offer to the public reduced prices on basic vaccinations, boarding, and microchipping plus lost and found services.


In 2010, when Pets Fur People made the moral decision to become a no-kill shelter, they were no longer eligible to receive city or county funding, resulting in a $200,000 annual funding shortfall.  They rely on private donations, contributions, and support from local businesses and fundraisers. One of their main fundraisers is the Disc Dog & Disc Golf Championship held each year at Lindsey Park. The tentative date for 2018 is Saturday, May 5th. Admission is a voluntary donation to Pets Fur People. Several local businesses have special events to benefit the organization. On the first Thursday of each month, ETX Brewing Company in Downtown Tyler hosts “Yappy Hour”, a fun social for dogs and their proud owners. Awards are given each month in different categories such as most beautiful and best pet trick and free dog training  by the famed Bill McFarlin along with individual advice for any challenges you may be facing with you particular pup. The admission is free and a portion of the food and drink sales are donated to Pets Fur People. The annual Dirty Dog Wash will take place this year on Saturday, September 16th at Peltier Subaru. Bring your dog out for a bath and Robert Peltier will generously donate $25.00 to Pets Fur People for each dog washed. Peltier Subaru also hosts Pictures with Santa benefiting the organization each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Local business owners are encouraged to do promotions on behalf of Pets Fur People. Some examples include local boat dealer, Nautical Mile Marine who donates $100.00 for every boat sold in the month of June and Subaru of America who donates $250.00 for each car sold at Peltier Subaru during the last two weeks of November and the month of December.  By participating in these fun events and by supporting the businesses that support Pets Fur People, you are making a difference. Of course, monetary donations are much needed and easy to do at You can make a one-time donation or an on-going commitment monthly for whatever you can afford. Do you have some spare time and love animals? Pets Fur People is always in need of volunteers. Volunteers can participate in socializing and walking shelter animals, help with community programs, special events and administrative support. Interested volunteers should apply online at and be willing to attend volunteer orientation.“We believe every creature is important, the love we give to a pet, and receive from a pet is important to our well-being. We know we cannot save every animal; but we can, and do, make a big difference each and every day. We have come a long way from taking over the city pound 49 years ago.” said Gayle Helms.


Current Issue

Default 3
Default 4