Women Making A Difference: Pet lover uses dogs to foster addiction recovery

By Sara Donchey - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Most people struggling with addiction are no strangers to feeling alone, dejected and completely overwhelmed.

Tyler Jones was all too familiar with that. He said he used drugs from the age of 10 until he was 29 years old.

"You can't breathe. You can't function," Jones said. "All you do is gasp for air, and all you do is you want a better life for yourself and it can't happen. If it was a drug or another substance, I've done it."

Jones’s life would take an unpredictable turn when he sought treatment at the Taylor Recovery Center in north Houston and met the center’s owner, Kristi Taylor, who decided to do things a bit differently at her facility.

"There's no sober living or treatment in Houston that you can bring your pet to, let alone a rescue pet from off the street," Taylor said.

Taylor and her husband opened the recovery center about five years ago, and the couple has been personally impacted by addiction over the years. Taylor’s husband is a recovering addict.

"My husband wouldn't go to treatment for years and years because he couldn't bring his pit bull with him," Taylor said. "So it's something he wanted to do for all those people who wouldn't leave their dog."

So, Taylor Recovery Center became something of a haven for lost or stray dogs. Taylor noticed homeless and abused dogs running around the neighborhood at all hours of the day, and decided not only would she rescue them, but she would allow her clients to help foster and care for the dogs.

Taylor noticed a pit bull who was living on the streets with a homeless man nearby. The dog was emaciated, had mange and a veterinarian told them there might not be much they could do to save the animal. But Taylor thought Jones could help the dog.

"He was in horrible shape, and it broke my heart inside and out and I knew I had to do something,” Jones said.

So, he began nursing Charlie the pit bull back to health. At the same time, Jones himself was struggling to recover, and the pair formed a special bond.

"They're in just as much hurt and anguish as we are in recovery," Jones said.

Eventually, Charlie and Jones both recovered, something Taylor feels can happen for any of her clients at the recovery center.

"A lot of people come in with a lot of grief and sadness and a pet or a foster animal kind of takes that away in the beginning," Taylor said.

Since Taylor Recovery Center opened, Taylor estimates she and her clients have rescued about five stray dogs from her neighborhood. She has also helped to install a dog park at the facility for all her clients to enjoy.

Click or tap here to learn more about Taylor Recovery Center.

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