One of the best parts of the job for Elena Luetkahans is taking a dog from Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare (AAMW) out for a game of fetch.

“That is definitely one of the things I enjoy about my job,” said Luetkahans. “That and finding a home for a dog.”

Luetkahans is the Adoption Specialist for AAMW. Her primary responsibility is helping find a home for animals at AAMW. However, Luetkahans is also one of the AAMW employees and volunteers who take dogs to the AAMW play areas for regular games of fetch – or just some quality play time.

“The time in the play areas is pretty important,” said Luetkahans, an Amarillo native who will mark her one-year anniversary with AAMW in June. “Being in the kennels, the dogs can get a little restless. With the play yards, they are able to get that restless energy out. Not only that, but we do the dog meet-and-greets for potential adoptions in the play areas also.”

AAMW has regularly-scheduled play sessions in the play areas (which are enclosed and gated) for dogs. Depending on how busy AAMW is, there can be as many as 10 play sessions a day. 

While playing fetch is certainly part of the curriculum, the play sessions are much more.

“It is really whatever the animals want to do,” said Luetkahans, who has six animals at home, including a cat and a dog. “Some of them are really into the toys and some just want to sit in your lap the whole time.”

AAMW does use volunteers to also lead the play sessions. In other words, volunteers take dogs to the play areas for some quality play time. (If interested in being a volunteer, go to):

“It is really not a bad gig – getting to play with the dogs,” Luetkahans said with a laugh.

Another favorite part of the job for Luetkahans is leading the adoption process.

“We help people find the right fit for them – the right dog or cat,” said Luetkahans. “We get pictures of the animals and put them online – the entire adoption process.”

In April, there were 169 animal adoptions at AAMW, consisting of 35 cats, 16 barn cats and 118 dogs. 

Animals available for adoption, including pictures and bios, can be found at:

For Luetkahans, she has found her calling. 

“I love animals. I have worked in vet clinics and I kind of wanted to something different,” said Luetkahans. “When I saw the adoption specialist postion at AAMW – I knew that was what I wanted to do.”