08/14/2012 08:29 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Keeping Pets Alive: Saving Oreo, Rocky, Cupcake and More!

Pets bring years of joy, happiness, and laughter to their owners' lives! At, we know that an adorable puppy video never fails to brighten our viewers' day. With these heartwarming pet videos popping up everywhere, it's easy to forget the thousands of shelter animals at risk of being killed. We were lucky enough to be introduced to Austin Pets Alive!, a unique non-profit animal rescue organization that helped save the lives of more than 8,000 pets just last year.

"The most rewarding part, obviously, is saving the animals... That's what gives everyone here a smile. It definitely brings a smile to my face," says Ellen Jefferson, executive director at Austin Pets Alive!

The organization's mission is to provide the resources, education and programs needed to eliminate the killing of companion animals. Check out the smiling pets at Austin Pets Alive! and hear more from executive director Ellen Jefferson:

APA! focuses on helping healthy and treatable pets that are in danger of being killed in a shelter. They rescue the pets that are at the greatest risk and help owners who, due to difficult circumstances in their own lives, need to surrender their pet to a shelter.

Their rescue program is unique in that it does not duplicate the work of other agencies in Austin. They focus solely on the pets who have already been passed over by other groups and the shelters' adoption programs and only take the healthy and treatable pets who are about to be killed and have no other options.

If you're in the Austin area, meet some of the pets in need of a loving home. (If not, check out a shelter in your own area!)

Meet Oreo:
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Oreo is an 8-year-old female black and white Tuxedo cat that was rescued in March of 2011. She has a gorgeous black and white coat with beautiful golden green eyes. She is a playful girl but also an easygoing companion. She is the "Store Cat" at the APA! She roams freely amongst patrons and the puppies we have on the weekends, and she loves nothing more than finding a nice lap to jump into, a leg to rub against, or a window with a great view. We know she's a happy girl when we hear her loud purr.

Her first family surrendered Oreo when they moved into an apartment that didn't allow pets. Since then, Oreo has transferred to several adoption centers in the hopes of finding her forever home. Obviously, this gets to be a bit stressful, and Oreo is a stress eater so now she is affectionately known as "Double-Stuff."

For more information visit the Austin Pets Alive! website and Facebook page, and lift your spirits with more animal videos from