It was only a matter of time, really . . .
After nearly two months of posing for the BARC "Pets of the Week" series — part of the shelter's effort to arrange 2,100 animal adoptions by the end of October for the ASPCA Rachael Ray Challenge — Houston mayor Annise Parker finally caved and walked away with a new canine friend.
"The mayor went 'Oh, no' as soon as she saw the dog walk into the room," said B ARC's Christopher Newport. "You could tell he was really messing with her mind during the photo shoot."
According to BARC spokesperson Christopher Newport, it was love at first sight during the weekly photo session at City Hall.
"The mayor went, 'Oh, no,' as soon as she saw the dog walk into the room," he told CultureMap. "You could tell he was really messing with her mind during the photo shoot. You practically could see the mayor's heart melting."
Originally named Oreo, the scruffy black-and-white dog turned on the charm as he sat with Parker in the Proclamation Room and even maintained his cool when joined by Neo the cat.
"The Parkers have cats at home, so that was a good sign," Newport laughed. "The mayor had a serious discussion with her family the next day and, by Tuesday night, the dog was at their house. They renamed him Jax."
After what was sure to have been a weighty deliberation, the mayor — along with her partner Kathy Hubbard and their two daughters — decide to offer Jax as a gift to her adult son Jovon Tyler, whom she and Hubbard adopted nearly two decades ago.
With all the official paperwork out of the way, Parker made the announcement on Friday via Twitter:
"I confess. I couldn't resist temptation. Took the BARC Dog of the Week home. Well, it went home with my son as gift from me. I'll dog sit!"
She joked with her Facebook followers on Saturday, saying "Now I can, quite literally, ask you to join me in adopting an adorable animal from BARC, the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Facility!"
In early August, BARC joined 49 other animal shelters across the country to compete for a $100,000 grant from the ASPCA in a special national challenge sponsored by Rachel Ray. The Houston shelter hopes to secure the top slot to help fund a mobile adoption unit that will be able to reach more locations across the city.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the shelter will partner with PetSmart and Freebirds World Burrito to mount the largest off-site adoption event in BARC history. No fewer than 100 pets will be available at the Sawyer Heights PetSmart (1907 Taylor St.) for special discounted adoption rates — $20 for dogs and $10 for cats.