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Change Makers: ThisIsHouston

Determined to help those that others won't, ThisIsHouston is a non-profit focused on caring for and rescuing dog in need.

Article by Memorial Lifestyle Staff

Photography by ARG Photography

Originally published in Memorial Lifestyle

A well-known quote attributed to Immanuel Kant says, "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." Across greater Houston, many organizations have made it their mission to help, care for and rescue animals in need. We are spotlighting one such organization - ThisIsHouston, formed in 2019 by co-founders Tom Heller and Laura Forma. 

Heller and Forma were independent rescuers who picked up dogs in need on a nearly daily basis. Their house was continuously full of dogs waiting for their forever home or a foster, and the hard work of finding a rescue organization to take in dogs was frustrating. Heller and Forma knew they could streamline this system if they created their own nonprofit organization, so they did just that. With a reliable network of volunteers already in place, ThisIsHouston began to take shape. 

Although Heller and Forma rescue dogs from all over the metro area, most of their recent efforts are focused in Cleveland, a small city northeast of Houston. "The situation in Cleveland is so bad, and they don't have a lot of resources there. We gathered a group of people, went out to Cleveland and started handing out flyers for a free vaccine clinic," says Heller. "We showed up with a tent and some vaccines thinking we would sit and wait for people to show up. People were lined up before we got there, and the line went down the street as far as we could see. A year later, we're there twice a month, giving free vaccines, microchips, dewormer and offering free spay and neutering services. We're vaccinating and chipping 200-300 dogs each time."


Like most nonprofit organizations, ThisIsHouston relies on the kindness and commitment of others. Heller and Forma have been lucky enough to have a dedicated group of volunteers that help at their spay and neuter events and vaccination clinics but are always looking for extra help. "The three most important things we need are fosters, volunteers, and donations. Without these, we cannot continue. All the dogs we intake must go to a foster home, or we cannot help them," says Heller. "We dove into this head first, not knowing if the volunteers and donations would be there, but we committed ourselves. We have been able to help so many dogs in Houston, and we are grateful to everyone who has stepped up to help us along the way." this-is-houston.org

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