(Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

(Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

Norah Meier thinks the number of abandoned pets in our city is unacceptable, so she’s the first to scoop up any stray pups she spots on the side of the road. The Preston Hollow neighbor fosters animals in need, volunteers with Education and Animal Rescue Society and runs the Facebook group Dallas Strays and Rescues.

When did you start rescuing dogs?
When I graduated from SMU in 2006, I started my first job in sales for a trucking company on the south side of Dallas. Every day, on the way to work, I would see stray dogs everywhere — dead on the side of the road, litters of puppies run over, dogs walking around with broken legs.

One day, there were two dogs on the side of the road, and nobody was stopping. I stopped the car, grabbed the two dogs and put them in the car.

Then it started the whole process of “how do I not know what’s happening in our city?” I thought if I don’t know, other people don’t know.

How bad is the stray animal problem in Dallas?
In Dallas-Fort Worth alone, we euthanize 551 animals a day. The average age is 18 months old. There’s an estimated 8,700 strays living on the streets in Dallas County, and that’s in a very concentrated area, too.

Where all do you volunteer?
I started the Facebook group Dallas Strays and Rescues. That was a message board system to help people find a pet or adopt a pet. Up until two years ago, I was doing it all independently. Along the way, I met a ton of people. I met Kimberly, the president of the Education and Animal Rescue Society. Now I’m the volunteer coordinator and social media coordinator.

When the tornado hit in Rowlett, I started a search-and-rescue group. We went out there for three days, dug animals out from rubble and reunited them with their families.

What’s the hardest part of fostering?
The hardest part for me is giving them the grace period to acclimate and calm down. A lot of these dogs — you don’t know what they’ve been through.

Have you had any fosters that have been hard to give up?
Cannoli was one that I loved more than anything. He’s a Baylor therapy dog. We raised so much money. He got so much attention on social media. He’s a big ole 100-pound pit bull, but a lap dog. He’s the most special one that I didn’t want to let go.

How do you pick the pups’ names?
I love naming dogs after food. I’ve got a whole list of names. I’m just waiting to get some little dogs for Sushi and Wasabi.

Interview edited for clarity and brevity.

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