About UsLearn more about us and our mission.
Friends of Rowlett Animals (FRAs) is a 501(c)(3) all volunteer non-profit organization founded in 2004.
Our mission is to provide resources, programs and education to promote adoption and care of homeless pets in Rowlett and the Lake Ray Hubbard area.
FRAs’ vision is a world where every companion animal has a safe and loving forever home.
It all started off with 4 volunteers that wanted to support the Rowlett Animal Shelter. These volunteers sponsored one or two pets per month and reduced their adoption fees in an effort to increase adoptions for the Shelter.
After the devastation of the December 2015 tornado we distributed supplies directly to pet owners through the generosity of businesses, other non-profit organizations, and citizens both near and far, with our volunteers even going into the disaster areas with supplies. We partnered with Premier Vet Care Clinic to host a vaccine and microchip clinic where we were able to microchip 175 pets, and help Four Paws Animal Clinic with another microchip clinic to microchip another 40 animals!
Our organization has grown to 100 volunteers and while the Shelter is not an official No-Kill shelter, FRAs has helped the Rowlett Animal Shelter maintain a 98% or better Live Release Rate since 2013! No-Kill Shelters must only maintain a 90% or better to be considered No-Kill.
FRAs has not only grown in volunteers, but we have grown to meet the needs of our community. We are able to host multiple off-site adoption events, sponsor heartworm treatments for all dogs in the shelter that test positive for heartworms, sponsor a Barn Cat program for the feral cats, and so much more!
Learning from leaders in the animal welfare community like Austin Pets Alive! and Best Friends, we have been able to continue to expand the impact of our organization to communities close to Rowlett and beyond! Helping struggling shelters by narrowing down the most at risk animals and showing them best practices, has allowed Friends of Rowlett Animals to influence policies for success.
Meet the Team
Dawna has spent nearly 20 years working in Corporate America. However, it is the work she does for FRAS that is her true passion. Dawna first got involved with rescue when she started caring for a small colony of feral cats at her husband’s auto shop. Also, it seemed every stray dog seemed to seek her out for help, to the point where one day she opened her backyard gate to find a small dog sitting outside her gate staring at her as if to say “I have been waiting here for you, where have you been?”. Dawna joined FRAs in 2011 and in 2013 was elected President. Dawna is also a member of the Rowlett Animal Shelter Advisory Board. Dawna is married to her best friend and together they have 4 loving pets they spoil rotten.
Michele grew up in the Dallas area with pets in her home ever since she can remember. From dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, turtles and even a rat! She began volunteering with FRAs after researching and making sure the organization truly centered on the care and rescue of pets. Beginning with caring for the cats at the adoption center at PetSmart, she has been involved in the Witness Purr-tection Program, fundraising, fostering and working adoption events. Michele is married to Chris, and together they have 5 children, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 gerbils, 2 finches and countless foster kittens. She gets asked a lot how she is able to foster and let them go. “Letting them go is the goal. The happy stories of families fulfilled by one of my fosters makes it all worth it.”
Molly was born and raised in rural New Jersey and studied accounting at Penn State. She currently works as a corporate accountant for an electronics manufacturer in Dallas. She, her husband and two children have lived in Rowlett since 2007. Their cats, Oscar & Livi, were both adopted from local shelters.
In 2015 when her son needed volunteer hours for Boy Scouts she discovered Friends of Rowlett Animals. “We were searching for a local organization that would allow a young teen to volunteer. Since we both love animals, and especially cats, FRAS was a great fit for us. We enjoy caring for the adoptable cats at PetSmart Rockwall and fostering cats and kittens in our home. The volunteer opportunities fit well with our busy schedule and we can spend quality time together doing something to better our community.”
When she’s not working, volunteering, shuttling kids to soccer practice, boy scouts or band events Molly enjoys quilting, reading, baking and watching “Survivor”.
Monica Mercado, Secretary
Monica has been a volunteer with FRAs for several years. She was looking for something to do with some of her free time since her kids were all in school. She went to the Rowlett Animal Shelter to see if they needed volunteers or fosters, and they directed her to FRAs! At the time she had just brought in their new puppy Bella, so she took a few months to get her adjusted at home before becoming active within FRAs. Monica is a Foster Coordinator and PetSmart Adoption Center Coordinator. And if that wasn’t enough (those are big jobs!), she joined the board to help be more involved behind the scenes.
Melissa grew up in Kaufman, Texas and raised her two daughters who both love animals. She has been a pharmacy tech for almost 20 years. She started volunteering at the SPCA in 2014, and her passion is working with fearful and abused dogs. She was there about 4 years then went to the DFW Humane Society in Irving, and is now with FRAs! She moved to Rowlett in June of 2018 and knew she needed to help local animals here. She is the Volunteer Ambassador, Shelter Animal Handling Trainer, Senior Volunteer Lead and now the Member-at-Large on the board. She loves going to the shelter, walking the big dogs, taking pictures and videos to network them for adoption. She says, “My mission is saving animals one at a time. My dream is one day we will not need shelters, and all animals will have loving homes.”