School of Public Health faculty member bridges public health and animal welfare

Cowtownfriendly1A faculty member of The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s School of Public Health has merged her passions for both human and animal health.

Associate professor Dr. Dana Litt co-founded Cowtown Friends of Fort Worth Animal Care & Control in 2020 to provide support to the local municipal animal shelter through fundraising, community engagement and outreach.

Litt believes the connection between her professional focus and her passion for animals is intrinsically linked to a broader perspective on public health.

“Public health isn’t just about human health,” she said. “It’s about the health of our entire community, and that definitely includes our four-legged friends.”

By dedicating herself to both human and animal health, Litt said she is embracing a holistic approach to public health. Her academic work aims to address issues like youth alcohol consumption and mental health, while her efforts with Cowtown Friends aim to enhance community health by supporting the local animal population, promoting responsible pet ownership and connecting animals to loving dog parents.

“Dr. Litt’s work exemplifies the interconnectivity of public health-related concerns and underscores the transformative power of individual commitment within a community,” said Dr. Shafik Dharamsi, dean of the School of Public Health. “Her dedication to animal welfare is an inspiration to us all, and her work is making a real difference in the community.”

Finding their fur-ever home

Cowtownfriendly2Fundraising is a cornerstone of Cowtown Friends’ work. The nonprofit is focused on providing raised beds for all the dogs at the shelter. These beds not only offer the dogs a comfortable place to rest but also help to maintain their health and hygiene by keeping them off the cold and often damp floor. Funds also support enrichment tools, such as KONGs, puzzle toys and chew toys to keep the animals’ minds active and happy while they wait for their forever homes.  Cowtown Friends also routinely provides supplies to the shelter, including water dishes, dog and cat food, treats, medical supplies and other miscellaneous needs.

Another key initiative that Cowtown Friends has undertaken is hosting adoption events at local businesses and at famous Fort Worth landmarks, including the Stockyards. These events significantly increase the chances of animals finding their forever homes. They allow the animals to interact with potential adopters in a more natural setting that allows the pet’s personalities to flourish.

These events also serve as a platform for Cowtown Friends to raise awareness about Fort Worth Animal Care & Control and its crucial role in the community. By hosting these events in highly visible, high-traffic locations, Cowtown Friends effectively reaches a wide audience, spreading the word about the shelter’s work and the ways in which community members can contribute.

Anyone interested in getting involved can find more information on the nonprofit’s website.

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