Austin FC may not have 15 wins on the pitch, but the club's mascots won over thousands of fans as 15 rescue pups were adopted during the team's first season as part of the Austin Pets Alive! Honorary Mascot program.
Featured at each home game at Q2 Stadium, these Verde-clad rescue dogs welcomed supporters with winning smiles as they searched for their forever homes. The program found 15 great matches and even had Austin FC goalkeeper Will Pulisic foster 4-year-old Black Rose for a few months this summer.
Pulisic and his girlfriend, Mia de Leon, took care of Black Rose after she had spent two months with APA even though there wasn't much information on her previous life.
"Nobody was really looking to adopt her I guess because nobody really knew what she was like," Pulisic said. "So we kind of took a chance and it worked out amazing. She was so sweet and awesome to have around. And eventually were able to find her permanent home."
People may not have been interested in her before, but with attention from Pulisic and Austin FC, she got dozens of inquiries before getting adoped two months later. Then came the hard part—Pulisic said the couple nearly adopted her, but being just a year out of college, decided against it and had a bittersweet goodbye.
She was she was the right dog for us," Pulisic said. "We got really attached, but... we're not quite ready for quite ready for that. We still talk about her a lot, but we know he did the right thing for her which ultimately makes us happy."
While Pulisic found out about Austin Pets Alive! through Austin FC, for Jessica Gay, it was the other way around.
Gay , a graduate student at the University of Texas, was temporarily fostering pit bull Missy when she learned that the popular pup was getting dozens of inquiries after her week as an Austin FC mascot.
Thanks to @AustinFC for choosing Missy as tonight's #AustinFC Mascot! Ready to adopt this sweet gal from @austinpetsalive - Please check out her bio: https://t.co/UJ7F2o79iR#adopt#dogsoftwitter#VERDEpic.twitter.com/Viwkqw0owy
— Austin Pets Alive! (@austinpetsalive) August 19, 2021
She got her application in for Missy, who already had her own Instagram account, just in the nick of time and has since learned more about the mascot program and Austin FC's partnerships with local companies in the process.
"I hadn't known much about them until Missy became their temporary mascot, and I just think it's so awesome," Gay said. " I've heard a lot from other people saying that they do a great job partnering with local community organization in their partnership with Pets Alive. I think it really does make a huge difference in their ability to adopt dogs out."
Gay, Pulisic and other adoptee families toured Q2 Stadium to celebrate their pets in a press conference on Oct. 29. Like Gay, Amy Matlock hadn't heard of the Austin FC initiative until after she had met her 4-year-old pit bull Woody at Austin Pets Alive!, but after having a "love at first sight" encounter in the shelter and later seeing him greet fans in a Verde bandanna with the team, she couldn't believe her luck.
Woody got to be the @AustinFC#honorarymascot this weekend at the winning game! Email email@example.com to meet this lovable hunk today! #verde#atx#austinfcmascotpic.twitter.com/5ZgMmxMiRg
— Austin Pets Alive! (@austinpetsalive) October 5, 2021
"It was an instant connection," Matlock said. "I know it seems weird, but the first time he came in and jumped up on me', I was like, I love him.' It's so weird."
Pets have become a bright spot in the pandemic for many as they live and work at home, and both Matlock and Gay say their pups have instantly improved their lives.
"My quality of life has improved so much since the moment I got her," Gay said. "The structure and schedule that she provides to my everyday life is so good for me...she's so excited to see other people so then I get to socialize with other people."
- 9 dog-friendly Austin eateries that will give you a new leash on life ›
- Austin company pitches masks for dogs - austonia ›
- Austin pets alive dogs to be honarary Austin FC mascots - austonia ›
- Meet the dogs of Austin's celebrities and famous - austonia ›
- Furever companion: Austonia's complete guide to adopting in Austin - austonia ›
- Instagram stars clone dogs, cats with Austin tech company ViaGen - austonia ›
By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.
What's new in Austin food & drink this week:
- Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
- Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
- Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
- Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
- Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
- Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
- The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
- Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
- P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.