Introducing Our New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of Special Pals, Houston’s longest-running no-kill animal shelter, announce Robin Lupole as the new executive director of the organization.

Lupole joins the Special Pals team with 35 years of animal rescue and nonprofit organization experience. “I am looking forward to working to strengthen the shelter’s community support and making a positive impact in the lives of the animals in our care,” Lupole said.


With her previous work with malamute and pit bull rescue organizations, Lupole brings a unique wealth of knowledge honed over her years as a volunteer and a caregiver. “I’m mom to two great children, and I am also the fur-mother to two fur-children: a 12-year-old pit bull named Bailey and a 10-year-old mutt named Jakie,” she says.

“We are excited to welcome Robin to the Special Pals team,” said Melissa Houser, President of the Special Pals Board of Directors. “Her passion for animal rescue, along with her vast experience, will help our shelter move forward in a new direction.”

Robin Lupole - Special Pals Executive Director

Now in its 40th year of operations as a no-kill shelter in Houston, Special Pals will continue to host low-cost wellness clinics on scheduled Saturdays and perform low-cost spay and neuter surgeries, while also continuing its primary mission: finding permanent, qualified homes for the 100+ cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter.

Special Pals also offers innovative programs to get the community involved with their shelter animals. Hosted on Sundays, “Walk with a Friend” pairs up adoptable dogs with dog-walking volunteers, allowing time outside of the kennels for socializing and leash-walking practice.

Former executive director Elizabeth Trick left Special Pals in December to pursue a career change. “We are appreciative for Elizabeth’s commitment to the mission of Special Pals, and we wish her good luck in the future,” said Houser.

“We have big plans for Special Pals in the coming years, and with Robin leading the charge, we are confident we’ll not only achieve our goals, but surpass them,” says Houser. “The Houston no-kill movement and Special Pals are stronger with her leadership.”