MANVEL — It wasn’t exactly the way Kym Ann Dabideen-Denton and her husband, Ron Denton, planned to spend the holidays or their wedding anniversary.
The founders of the Kemah-based Triumphant Tails canine rescue group have been in Brazoria County since before Thanksgiving finding new homes for animals left at a now defunct Humane Society shelter in Manvel.
With just a few days left before the group has to vacate the property, only 24 of the more than 220 animals that were at the shelter remain.
Dabideen-Denton got involved when the shelter’s operator, Shirley Tinnin, sent a message through Facebook.
“She was in the hospital (and) had been there for a few days,” Dabideen-Denton said. “She wasn’t certain when she would be released.”
A few months ago, the Humane Society of Brazoria County lost its nonprofit status, and donations had dried up. The shelter had started as a no-kill shelter, but the years of financial woes and Tinnin’s illness turned the shelter’s mission upside down.
Dabideen-Denton met with Tinnin, who signed over the operations to Triumphant Tails. She had no idea what was ahead for her organization.
“Shirley had told us during our visit in the hospital she thought she had about 130 dogs on the premises,” Dabideen-Denton said. “When we arrived the first day we counted 228.”
It got worse.
“When we initially arrived that Saturday, there were critically ill dogs on the property, two of which died on the premises,” she said. “Ron and I immediately started grabbing the dogs in the most dire need of medical care and rushed them to VCA Emergency Animal Hospital.
“Our efforts continued on an emergency basis the first 48 hours. We didn’t have time to reach out for help from others. We were too busy trying to help the dogs that needed it the most.”
Angel Animal Hospital, which has a long history of working with Triumphant Tails, stepped up too.
“They stepped up to clear entire days off their schedule so as to spay or neuter approximately 20 of the unaltered dogs to allow them to be adopted,” Dabideen-Denton said.
“There were many other unaltered dogs which went into rescue programs.”
As she does well, Dabideen-Denton then put out an emergency help call via social media and the Triumphant Tails website.
Media reports from The Facts of Brazoria County, a sister publication of The Daily News, helped. Volunteers also stepped up, but Triumphant Tails had to hire staff to help maintain the shelter.
Through it all about two dozen dogs remain.
Still Dabideen-Denton worries the remaining animals will be the hardest to place.
“The dogs I worry most about are those with fear-based issues as they are likely the ones that will be left,” she said.
“All we can do is our best to make sure that there are no dogs on the property.”
How to help
Those wanting to help or donate to Triumphant Tails efforts can mail donations to Triumphant Tails, Inc. P.O. Box 338, Kemah, TX 77565 or the group’s PayPal account by sending through PayPal to kymann@TriumphantTails.net (receipt will reflect "Triumphant Tails, Inc."). To help cover the dogs’ medical care, contact to Angel Animal Hospital in Pasadena at 713-944-2424 or to Bayside Animal Hospital at 281-334-2273.