Animal Affection

GRANBURY, TX — He was a tiny mess of matted black fur, pitiful, whining and so sick from vomiting he was nearly dead when Kay Collerain discovered her Labrador mix, now 4 years old. The puppy, later named Moose, was just 5 weeks old when Kay found him sitting on her woodpile surrounded by fierce Dobermans ready to pounce. “It’s a miracle he lived,” Kay said. “He couldn’t eat anything, nothing would stay down. It was coming out both ends, poor thing.” But she didn’t give up. She slowly but surely nursed him back to health until he could eat again. Now, he lies comfortably at her feet, sprawled out and relaxed on her living room floor as she sits in her stately home nestled between Granbury’s town square and the shore of Lake Granbury. “It hurts me to see animals suffer. I just cannot stand it,” Kay said. “I’m one of those crazy people who would have as many animals as possible. My house would be filled with them if it was feasible, but you just can’t do that.”

Instead, Kay does her utmost to rescue and help as many animals as she can. From deserted kittens to abandoned horses and even birds, Kay will stop at nothing to find a home for an orphaned pet. She works closely with local animal shelters, and picks up any lost or wounded  animals she finds to be sure they get help. “Kay is excellent with animals,” said Cathy Hoxie, a friend and loving recipient of a Border Collie mix Kay found in a pasture. “The way she works to help so many is incredible. If she finds an animal or knows of an animal that needs a home, she will get them spayed or neutered for people and be sure it has everything it needs, so a family can adopt it without having to worry about it.”

Cathy first met Kay in her bakery, the Nutshell Eatery & Bakery in downtown Granbury, where Kay often posts pictures of animals that need a home. A jar also sits on the counter to collect donations for animals in need. “We take that money every three to four weeks and use it to do things like buy dog food for an elderly person’s pet or pay to help someone get their pet spayed or neutered,” Kay said. In her 33 years on the square, Kay has discovered countless animals either running stray nearby or simply dumped behind her building. She most recently discovered a litter of kittens. “I could hear this pitiful mewing. I don’t know how they got there or what happened to their mother, but they were so young I had to bottle-feed them,” she said. “I brought them home and took care of them here.”

The kittens never left. Still living with Kay, they are now healthy and happy. They are a little older and quite a bit bigger, but they roam free through her lawn and patio, which look out over her well-manicured landscape as it slopes toward her dock along the lake. “I usually keep the cats I find, because they can live outside. They help keep the snakes down,” Kay admitted. But she can’t bring any more dogs home. Moose and her 10-year-old Doberman rescue, Leroy, are enough. “When I found Leroy, he was skin and bones and could barely eat,” Kay said. She rescued him through a Doberman rescue group in Irving when he was 12 months old. “I know better than to have any more dogs. It would be too much. I wish I could keep many more, but it’s not practical.”

So when she finds other dogs, like Truck Stop, frantically running around a gas station, she scoops them up, gets them healthy and finds them a place to call their own. Anytime an area animal shelter calls desperate about a dog like Rusty, a yellow Labrador with only one day left to live, she stops at nothing to save him. Kay’s business partner, Barbara Stevenson, adopted a Blue Heeler they found in January that had been deserted with a small Pomeranian along Highway 377. “They were pitiful, cold and shivering just lying there, and it was muddy, wet and rainy,” Kay said. “They were just miserable.”

So Barbara took the big dog, and after they nursed the Pomeranian back to health, it went to a woman in Pecan Plantation. “We have such empathy for these poor guys who find themselves in such a bad spot,” Barbara said. “It’s tragic, absolutely tragic. We don’t set out to find these animals, but when we do, we try everything we can to help them.”
Both Barbara and Kay work with the Animal Activists of Hood County, the Glen Rose Animal Control, the Granbury Animal Shelter and several other organizations. “People need to be aware of this problem. There are so many animals out there that need a home. In this economy more and more animals are getting dumped,” Barbara said. “Kay is wonderful about doing her part. She does far more than her part.”

Kay’s love for animals blossomed when she was a little girl growing up with her two brothers on their family farm in Amarillo. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an animal lover,” she said. “I’ve had animals my entire life.” When Kay left the farm for college and ventured out on her own, she earned a degree in chemistry at Texas Woman’s University. After working as a registered dietitian and nutritionist, she branched out on her own formulating recipes, which eventually led to opening the restaurant with Barbara in Granbury. “Kay uses her ability to bake and cook to help people, too,” Cathy said. “She will invite friends in to have a meal or take meals to the elderly in town or just take something she’s made to someone she knows would enjoy something good to eat.”

When Kay isn’t at work or saving animals, she’s likely to be found at any number of area golf courses with her group of four ladies who like to play. “We go everywhere,” she said. “We love it. On October 7, we are playing in the Rally for the Cure at Harbor Lakes.” Kay can also be found at Granbury City Council meetings. She is not only passionate about making a difference for her four-legged friends, but she also wants to improve life for her two-legged friends. Between registering voters and actively participating in local politics, Kay is a firm believer in taking action. “We take every opportunity to make lasting changes for the citizens of Granbury.”

Written by Sarah Anderson.