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Who We Are

Our Mission

To rescue, rehabilitate and secure loving and healthy forever homes for abandoned dogs in the Texas Hill Country.


Eighty percent of our kennel population is devoted to canines with special medical and behavioral needs, and we provide individualized care to each one, optimizing their health and increasing their readiness to be successfully placed with qualified families.

Trixie's Puppy
A Non-Profit Organization

Highland Lakes Canine Rescue is a non-profit organization designated as a 501-c(3) with the IRS. We are managed by a volunteer board of directors and operate entirely on private donations and eligible grants.

Our Story

Highland Lakes Canine Rescue was founded in 1999 as Highland Lakes SPCA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, by community members who wanted to rescue homeless dogs in the Central Texas region.


HLCR initially started as a “foster only” organization. However, through generous community support, a location was found near Marble Falls, Texas and HLCR became a no-kill dog shelter.


Since then HLCR has built a kennel facility, outdoor pens and walking trails, has a staff and resident caretaker, and is blessed with an active and passionate group of volunteers who work tirelessly supporting HLCR and its mission.


In 2019, we changed our name from Highland Lakes SPCA to Highland Lakes Canine Rescue to more appropriately reflect our focus and mission.

Special Dogs, Special Care

An animal shelter is a place where stray, lost, abandoned or surrendered animals are brought because there’s nowhere else to take them. Typically, these places are city or county operations. Highland Lakes Canine Rescue is more than a shelter.

We are the only area rescue that provides this level of support for every dog in our care. Highland Lakes Canine Rescue:


  • Fully vaccinates

  • Takes in and TREATS dogs with medical needs

  • Spays and neuters

  • Ensures optimum health for each dog before they are made available for adoption

  • Fully reviews potential adopters to ensure compatibility

  • Ensures a smooth transition for the dog and adopter

  • Has 24-hour onsite staff caring for our dogs

No Kill Means No Kill

Unlike some shelters that claim to be “no kill,” once we rescue a dog, it will never be euthanized for space limitations, treatable medical or behavioral issues, or inconvenience. Unless a dog develops a terminal medical condition or a serious, uncorrectable behavioral issue that make it genuinely unadoptable, it stays in our shelter until finding its forever
home. We strive to be the best no-kill shelter in the Hill Country.




How We Rescue

In addition to working with area Animal Control Officers, we rescue dogs who are “at risk” in shelters throughout the Central Texas area. Partnering shelters reach out to us because of our exceptional reputation for taking on dogs with special needs.


The dogs we rescue tend to need little more than time, attention, or medication. Our facilities allow us to care for dogs over an extended period of time. We have become known for taking in and treating a variety of conditions

  • Demodex Mange

  • Heartworm Infections

  • Pregnant & Nursing Mothers

  • Breeds at Risk for Bloat

  • Amputees

  • Visual & Auditory Impairments

  • High Anxiety

  • Dog-Associated Reactivity


We have three distinct areas on our property for dogs requiring varying levels of care: general, quarantine, and critical care. Each area has appropriate supplies and sanitation measures includes climate controlled kennels and spacious outdoor yards.

  • 15-acres of land with walking trails

  • Grooming facilities

  • Backup generator

  • Climate control

  • Water catchment, reservoir, and softening system

  • Advanced fire & carbon monoxide detection

  • Video & audio observation in kennels

Why Take From Shelters & Animal Control

Typical shelters and animal control facilities are limited in the time and attention they can give each dog. An abandoned dog that requires extra care will either not receive it, or take precious resources from every other dog in their care.

When we relieve a shelter of just one dog with extra care needs, we are saving multiple lives. The shelter may rehome 10 ready-to-adopt dogs in the time it would take for the 'needy' dog to be adopted. This is how we maximize our impact on the community and save the most lives!


How We Heal

We don't take good health for granted. Many small steps in the right direction amount to a better quality of life for neglected dogs.

Vaccines & Preventatives

All dogs receive age appropriate and vet recommended vaccines. We also administer monthly flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. We believe this level of care should be afforded to every dog, not just pets at home.


We have several kibble formulas on hand to meet a variety of diet restrictions. We take age, health conditions, and even personal preference into account when feeding each dog. Our shelter manager and lab technicians work together to ensure the diets are nutritious and appropriate.

Surgery & Procedures

Of course any dogs that experience traumatic injury undergo appropriate surgeries and life-saving procedures. But quality of life can be reduced simply by genetics. Whenever possible we elect to treat breed-specific conditions like bloat, hip dysplasia, and entropion to prevent fatal or painful conditions long after the dog has been adopted.

Senior Care

With age comes more responsibility. Basic hygiene and nutrition start to look differently for a dog when they are 7 years old or more. We keep them comfortable with teeth brushing, joint supplements, and even massage.


How We Love

Everything we do is ultimately to prepare them for their forever homes, and sometimes it just looks like love and kindness.


Typical shelter dogs may suffer from anxiety and other behavioral problems simply because of boredom. Most undesirable behaviors like eliminating indoors, destroying toys, and excessive barking can be solved by reducing stress and anxiety. We do our best to offer dogs training, puzzles, and interesting stimuli to keep them mentally healthy.

Enrichment gives our dogs a head start on adjusting to home life.

Just Like Home

Blankets, toys, personal space, compatible playmates, and routine. Our dogs are treated as well as any pet at home.

Bathing & Grooming

First impressions are very important, and something as simple as a scraggly hair cut or eye boogies can deter adopters. Monthly baths, nail trims, and ear cleanings are the least we can do for a dog's basic hygiene. A well-equipped grooming room allows us to care for dogs with long or fluffy coats too!


Impact & Integrity

Our mission is not just a dream, it is a reality and we make an impact on our community every year.

Candid Platinum Transparency

View our impact data with GuideStar

View our 2022 Form 990

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As network partners, we provide data from our rescue to support Best Friends Animal Society's vision to make the country no-kill by 2025.

Form 990

The Hearts & Minds

Meet our volunteer board members.

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Jeanne Gillen


"More than a decade ago, I witnessed the compassionate efforts of the staff and volunteers caring for dogs at Highland Lakes Canine Rescue. Having rescued two dogs, one on the verge of euthanasia due to time in a public shelter, I’ve experienced the transformative power of care. I had been looking for ways to become more involved in my community and this little no-kill shelter provided my opportunity to be part of group addressing a significant need in our area and a cause dear to my heart.


Now, I devote my time to Highland Lakes Canine Rescue, a wonderful shelter that takes in dogs with treatable health and behavioral challenges from area public shelters that aren’t likely to be adopted and that may face euthanasia. Our staff and volunteers provide them with the care, treatment and training needed to address their conditions so they can find loving homes. It’s my way of helping to ensure that every dog, regardless of their past or present struggles, has the opportunity for a brighter future."

Vickie Davis

Board Member

"I volunteer at HLCR because I see the amazing work at our shelter. We have an incredibly loving and dedicated staff that works with our dogs on a daily basis to help heal dogs that have been traumatized, neglected and abandoned.


I have witnessed so many dogs become happy, healthy and trusting again because of the excellent care.


The joy of seeing the turn around for these precious dogs fills my heart with joy!"

Janelle Boutte

Volunteer Coordinator

"After spending 17 years abroad, my journey led me to the Hill Country, where I began volunteering with CASA as a court appointed advocate for children. When the pandemic hit and we couldn't engage with the kids, I found HLCR through Facebook and began volunteering to walk dogs. Soon after, I was approached to take on the role of volunteer coordinator, and since I was already attending the monthly meetings, joining the board felt like a natural step.


Initially, I worried that every visit to the shelter might leave me in tears. But I instead found myself looking forward to spending time with the dogs and witnessing their care. The shelter wasn't just transforming the lives of these animals; it was making a tangible impact by raising awareness about local issues. The shelter's efforts were about fostering a sense of community and compassion.


It's been a journey filled with unexpected joys and the satisfaction of knowing that our work is making a real difference."

Jan Walters

Board Member

"I volunteer at HLCR because of its mission. Dogs with special needs are given the opportunity to be rehabilitated and then found their forever homes. It is a unique place with a great purpose."

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Juli Ballard

Board Member

I'm a former Sales Associate with Merrill Lynch for 38 years. I worked most of my career in Houston and transferred to Austin in 2018, retiring in June 2022. My neighbor and fellow Board member, Micheala Black, hooked me into helping out at the shelter’s annual fundraiser “Diamonds in the Ruff,” Putts 4 Pups and walking dogs one summer. I fell in love with the dogs.


Even though I wanted to, I have never been involved with a dog shelter or rescue prior to HLCR. I was afraid my emotions would get the best of me and I would be sad. But when I visited HLCR for the very first time, I was so impressed at how organized and clean it was – how happy all the dogs were. I knew then that this was a place I wanted to be associated with.


HLCR is special to me because when my Dad recently lost his dog that he loved, I knew I would be able to find him a dog that would fit his lifestyle. That he could welcome a new fur baby into his home to love as much as loved his other dog. HLCR dogs are taken care of and loved during their time here. I am thrilled to be on the board and getting the chance to help the dogs in any way I can.

Tammie Flack


"We were asked to write a few words about why we are on the Board of Highland Lakes Canine Rescue.  That’s easy, I get to do what I love, loving on dogs. 


As Treasurer, I see how well this organization is run, from the staff, the board, the volunteers, and countless others that give their time and money to help. Many people tell me they would never be able to volunteer without adopting. That’s where we’re very different from other shelters. Our dogs are family to us and they are treated that way. They have wonderful places to run and play, go on walks twice a day, and have loving staff to take care of them. It’s a happy place, not at all a sad one! They help us as much as we help them!"

Jeannette Murphy


"I certainly never would have predicted, that at the age of fifty-one (after growing up in a home that was
never without a cat) that I would become a dog person – but that’s what’s happened! After adopting
my first dog from HLCR fifteen years ago (and three others since then), a friend pulled me into sharing a
dog-walking volunteer shift with her, and I’ve never left! It’s been rewarding and FUN to be able to
utilize my time and business experience to further a cause I’m passionate about. And most of all it’s
fulfilling to be part of a team committed to a framework for decision making that always asks, “what’s best for the dog?”.


What drew me to HLCR were the dogs, the people and the unique environment and care HLCR, its staff
and volunteers provide to these abandoned dogs who can’t speak for themselves and who oftentimes
are considered disposable because they’re not perfect. What keeps me here is all the above plus those great days when a Clover, a Ruby, or a Ryder who were sick, scared or scarred finally go to their perfect homes!"

Michaela Black

Board Member

"What an amazing turn of events it was that led me from teaching elementary art to falling in love with what was at that time, a small mostly volunteer run shelter in the middle of the hill country!


Fourteen years ago I took advantage of an invitation from another volunteer to come take a look and see if this shelter was something I might enjoy once I retired. Initially, I thought I'd volunteer to stay active and spend time with the dogs, but I never imagined the depth of my involvement in this special place. I fell in love on my first visit and continue to marvel at the growth of this shelter and its mission. 


I’m privileged to witness first-hand the miracles that take place daily as our dedicated staff transform the lives of our rescues, both medically and behaviorally, and provide the gift of time for each dog to heal and transform in body and spirit. Celebrating these transformations and then seeing each dog adopted is truly rewarding!



Our shelter’s purpose is unique, filling a niche that no other area shelter does. HLCR is small but mighty and I’m so proud to be a part of helping our rescues on the road to connecting with their forever families."

Marta Scott

Board Member

I have always been drawn to the arts. After using my art education degree for a diverse range of projects, I delved into selling art, managing galleries, and eventually opening my own. My love for beauty in the world grew alongside my first dog, a beloved companion from Georgetown. She was more than a pet; she guided me through tough times with that innate understanding dogs have, and it was Nambei who first imparted to me the powerful healing impact of a rescue dog.

As a business owner, I focused on philanthropy and concentrated efforts to make a difference. Connecting with HLCR, I proposed Bark at the Art, now HLCR’s largest annual fundraiser. Witnessing the care and compassion within HLCR, I was inspired to become a board member and join hands with a team of strong, compassionate women committed to making a difference.


My passion for the shelter stems from a deep belief in protecting and supporting the vulnerable. The human-dog bond, especially in healing and transforming lives, resonates deeply with me. I'm immensely proud of HLCR's work as stewards of our world, turning broken dogs into healers and enriching countless lives through their unique mission.

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