AUSTIN, Texas -- When it comes to saving animals, Austin is on a mission to keep as many pets alive as possible.
For almost seven years, the city has maintained its status of being a no-kill community, and it's caught the attention of other cities across the country.
"Any ways to increase life saving, we're all on board for," Jason Garza with Austin Animal Center said.
Austin Animal Center and Austin Pets Alive! will receive a $4 million grant to help other communities follow in their footsteps. A national family foundation called "Maddie's Fund" is providing the grant after a successful trial run of the program.
"We had the no-kill training academy last year from Maddie's Fund, it was a year-long pilot program to see if the idea worked, and it did," Jessica Powers, with Austin Pets Alive! said.
Over the course of three years, the grant will give about 2,000 animal welfare workers from all over the U.S. the chance to come to Austin and learn on-site. The goal is for them to take what they're taught in training and implement it into their own communities.
"We're going to be able to communicate with students after they leave and support them as they're going through this path and help them get over any roadblocks that come in their way," Powers said.
Austin sets a high standard when it comes to city funding, to the tune of more than $13 million. While not every city will be able to match that, Austin Pets Alive! says the key is to start by getting the community on your side.
"That's one of the things we'll be teaching is how to approach your community and how to approach your leaders in the area and show them that no-kill is just achievable, its our responsibility," Powers said.
"It took a lot of effort and a lot of lessons learned here and there, but in the end we instituted a practice and working with our partners, and we've reached new pinnacles of success that we're excited about," Garza said.
The grant will fund everything from staff positions and travel expenses for the animal welfare workers - to supplies.
Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Animal Center expect to have their first class of students begin in February.