Drool. Paw prints. Spills. Hair clumps everywhere. Whether you have a Bruiser or a Beethoven, pets can be a challenge when it comes to home decorating. Fortunately, today’s minimalist trends have made it a little easier to keep a home both beautiful and pet-friendly.
The best principle pet owners should live by when decorating is to keep surfaces smooth. For the easiest cleaning, floors should be laminate, ceramic tile or hardwood sealed with polyurethane. This way if your pet has an accident or throws up, a quick swipe with a mop does the trick.
Enzymatic cleaners are a must-have. While pets might continue to have accidents, they won’t be attracted to the same spot again once it’s been treated. Avoid deep carpets that soak up odors, loose fibers that might snag nails or ammonia-based cleaning products.
Machine-washable rugs are a great place for your favorite furry friend to nap or watch for intruders. Choose types that provide a balance of softness and durability. Try dark colors and natural textures to hide dirt or stains, or experiment with carpet tiles to piece together or remove as needed.
Pets love to rub against walls, or scratch or bite if they are bored. Walls painted with semi-gloss paint make it easy for pet-owners to wipe away drool or grime. Installing beadboard panels at least halfway up on walls protects drywall from misbehavior, and provides a stylish alternative to wallpaper.
Like carpet, living room and bedroom furniture should have smooth, hard surfaces or be covered in low-pile upholstery. A distressed leather couch is a great option, because it can be wiped clean and doesn’t collect fur. Armchairs covered in machine-washable slipcovers provide pets with a place to sit without the worry of a permanent mess.
Arrange a collection of pet-safe potted plants, such as cat grass or catnip. According to the Humane Society of the United States, pet owners should avoid toxic plants such as lilies and daffodils.
To make a room smell better, place scented candles out-of-reach of curious cats or determined dogs. The American Veterinary Medical Association warns against using liquid potpourri in accessible areas, as it could cause serious health problems such as oral ulcerations in your pets.
Pets love to play with long cords or pooling drapes, but this could cause a nasty tangle or a broken blind. The best options are simple, short and sturdy. You can find various types of window treatments that combine elegance with modern simplicity without risking a pet’s well-being.
Cats love to look down on the world from on high, so why not indulge them? To keep your cat happy and entertained, install two or three floating shelves staggered under and beside a window with a view. This way she can hop up and supervise her dinner prep, the birds outside or simply play hard to get.
To make a dog feel like a part of the family too, designate a special spot for him to hang out and daydream. Salvage a small table or old wooden piano bench and reupholster it with a comfy cushion and a cool patterned fabric. Then place it in front of a window for optimum entertainment.
You and your pet’s well-being is top priority during the hottest months of the year! While enjoying the longer daytime hours and warmer weather can be fun and rewarding for both you and your pets, there are things that you can do to ensure that you both remain healthy and happy. This includes taking precautions, being informed and prepared, and engaging in activities that actively involve keeping you and your pets cool.
Before the infamous muggy, Texas heat hits, here are some good tips to keep your pets safe from the risks that the extreme weather can bring:
Hyperthermia, otherwise known as heat stroke.
- Dogs and cats have very few sweat glands, which are located on the pads of their feet. The only other way for them to lose heat is from their tongues by panting. When they pant, they also lose moisture, which needs to be replaced. Keep fresh, clean water with you at all times, especially on walks and car rides, can help your pet stay cool and hydrated.
- Try to avoid the hottest part of the day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., for outdoor activities. Try to reschedule walks for the early morning or early evening.
- If you take your pet with you on a car ride, make sure to NEVER, EVER leave them unattended in the car. Even with the windows down or in the shade, there is not enough air circulation and the temperatures can rise in the car to life threatening levels within minutes.
- If your animals are outdoor animals, make sure that they have a cool, comfortable spot to rest in. Include shelter and fresh, clean water, such as a kiddie pool.
- Different breeds handle heat differently. Flat-nosed breeds (Pekingese, pugs, bulldogs) have more trouble staying cool than long-nosed. Their shorter nose and oral cavities don’t allow them to breathe as efficiently. Keep your pet’s breed in mind while planning outdoor activities.
- Cutting a long haired pet’s hair does not mean that it will be cooler. Most animal’s coats insulate against heat just as much as they insulate against cold. Instead, brush your pet frequently to get rid of loose fur and mats. Brushing your pet’s coat and ridding it of debris allows it to ‘breathe’ better.
- Excess layers of fat on animals can cause them to have more trouble shedding heat. Take extra care to make sure overweight animals are comfortable.
- Birds are less at risk from the summer heat, as their internal body temperatures are higher than dogs and cats. Though their internal body temperatures average around 104 – 105 degrees Fahrenheit, if their temperatures do rise they can suffer from heat exhaustion, as they have no sweat glands. Make sure cages are kept out of direct sunlight and they have fresh, clean water to drink at all times. Misting your bird with a spray bottle can be a cooling treat for them!
Sun burns and hot concrete.
- Pets with lighter pigmented skin and hair can burn easily, though all are at risk. Generally exposed areas such as the nose, tips of ears, and underbelly will burn. Talk to your vet about pet-safe sunblock if your pet will be in direct or indirect sunlight with any frequency and/or for any extended amount of time. Sun burns can lead to skin cancer, so when in doubt, protect your four-legged loved ones’ health like you would your own!
- Sun-heated sidewalks and asphalt can burn your animal’s paw pads. If the sidewalk is too hot for you to walk on comfortably in bare feet, it is too hot for your pet. If your animal is ‘high-stepping’, prancing, shifting, or looks stressed, get them off of their feet and somewhere cool immediately. Dogs who are athletic and loyal will often try to keep up with unknowing owners, sometimes long after burns or heat exhaustion has set in. Avoid the middle of the day and areas lacking shade or grass to protect their precious paws!
Your pet and the water.
- Watch pets in the water like you would watch children and give them frequent breaks. Cases of drowning and near-drowning of pets increase in the summer months due to the more frequent exposure to water and swimming. If your pet inhales water and appears to be in danger, keep him or her warm and dry and immediately contact your vet.
- Swimming can lead to ear infections. Ask your vet for ear cleaning products that will help keep your pet’s ear canals dry and infection-free.
- Older animals can require assistance in and out of the pool. Consider purchasing a ramp to allow your pets easy access to the pool and an easy way to exit the pool on their own if they need to.
Bites, stings, and dangerous plants.
- Your pets are more likely to come in contact with fleas and mosquitos during the summer. These pests can cause tapeworms, heartworms, and the West Nile virus. Check for fleas and ticks frequently, and get your pet tested for the diseases that they can carry. Rid your property of shallow, stagnant water to prevent mosquitos from breeding. Ask your vet for their recommendations for preventative products in case your animals do come in contact with mosquitos.
- Keep pets away from bees, wasps, and woodpiles that may harbor spiders. Keep your animals from rooting around in possible animal dens. If your pet is bitten or stung, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.
- Certain plants, such as Foxtails, can harm your pet. Foxtails are a type of grass with bristle-like fibers with sharp points that extend forward and may imbed itself in your pet’s paws, ears, eyes, and nose. They can cause infections, and possibly death if ingested. Seek veterinary attention immediately if your pet eats anything unusual or has wounds from plants or animals.
When in doubt, seek your veterinarian’s opinion!
- It is never a bad idea to ask your vet for advice or help. A quick call to the vet could save you time, money, and, most importantly, your pet’s life.
Summer is a fun time for everyone, but making sure that everyone remains safe is the most important! Using these tips can help to insure that you and your pet enjoy summertime to the fullest!
Dallas has many wonderful rescue organizations devoted to providing companion animals with a second chance at a happy life and a loving home. In 1996, a small group of individuals came together with the goal of doing just that for their beloved breed, the Golden Retriever. In 1997, the Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas was incorporated and took in 7 dogs. Through the support of dedicated volunteers and Golden loving members, GRRNT has been able to assist over 2500 dogs! Michelle, GRRNT’s President, tells us more about the group and the special qualities of the Golden:
PCPSI: Where do the dogs come from that enter your rescue group?
GRRNT: Our Goldens make their way to GRRNT from a variety of places. Shelter employees or Good Samaritans will call us if there is a Golden in a shelter, some are released by their owner for financial reasons, time commitments, illness…etc, and others are found as strays by Good Samaritans. GRRNT is their second chance at life with a forever family where they will be loved for years to come.
PCPSI: When a golden retriever enters your rescue group, what process do they undergo before becoming adoptable?
GRRNT: When a Golden enters GRRNT, we have them checked over by one of our dedicated vets. If the Golden is healthy, s/he will enter into a foster home where we can get to know his or her personality. While in foster care, fosters families work with their foster dogs on basic commands and house manners. After approximately 2 weeks, the Golden will attend one of our Meet and Greets where they will hopefully find the perfect forever family.
If the Golden has health concerns, we will work with our vet to create a plan. We do not adopt out a Golden until the vet gives us an all clear or, in an instance such as allergies or thyroid, a maintenance plan is in place. Each of our Goldens goes to his or her forever home up-to-date on all shots, spayed/neutered, and with a clean bill of health from the vet.
PCPSI: Tell us more about your permanent fosters.
GRRNT: Occasionally, GRRNT will rescue a golden who our vets deem unadoptable due to their medical condition. Our permanent fosters are typically older Goldens, but we get a few young pups who have a health issue such as cancer or a severe heart murmur. These Goldens remain with their foster families in their loving homes and under the medical care of GRRNT until they cross the rainbow bridge. Click the name of each Permanent Foster to learn more about them: Daisy, Fozzi-Bear, Preston, Rocky, and Diva.
PCPSI: If you were talking to someone who is learning about golden retrievers for the first time, what traits or characteristics would you use to describe the breed? How are they different from owning other breeds of dog?
GRRNT: Goldens are faithful companions who want nothing more than to please their human, get lots of belly rubs, and take long walks. Goldens are typically very eager to please their owners. This translates into their being relatively easy to train for obedience. Most Goldens are wonderful with kids, especially when they have been regularly exposed to well-behaved children. However, they are large and excitable and may easily knock children over if they jump up to lick their faces or propel a toddler along with a solid whack of their tails.
Physically, Goldens are completely mature by 2 years of age. Mentally, well, that depends on the individual, but usually not before 3 years of age! Even though Goldens are physically mature by 2, you may notice changes in them well past that time. Remember, by nature Goldens are fun-loving and happy-go-lucky, so their perceived maturity may be less because of it.
Goldens shed a lot. They have an abundance of coat as well as feathering and they will produce a more or less constant amount of hair in your house. Some of this can be alleviated with regular and thorough brushing, but if you have an aversion to dog hair in your house, a Golden will not be a good choice. On the other hand, many of us believe that the dog-hair problem is more than compensated for by the loyalty and love that a Golden also sheds along with the hair!
Don’t miss GRRNT’s Second Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 13th noon – 3pm at the North Bark Park! There will be more than a dozen eggs with prizes in them, as well as ones with dog treats inside. All proceeds benefit the Goldens! Check out GRRNT’s Facebook page for more details on the Easter Egg Hunt, and to keep up with everything the group is doing for this wonderful breed.
Your Spring Break and summer travel plans are quickly approaching, and we know you have options for your pet’s care. Here are some of the benefits to using a pet sitter rather than a boarding facility when you travel.
- It’s less stress for you and your pets. We believe your pets are happier and healthier when they remain in their own environment. They are surrounded by familiar smells, sights, and sounds. Possible aggression from other dogs can be another point of stress. And you will get peace of mind from check in calls, texts, or emails from your sitter to give you updates.
- There’s reduced exposure to illness. At a kennel your pet is exposed to diseases and parasites that they wouldn’t experience at home. If they are stressed out, their immunity to fight off illness is reduced.
- Not worried about drop-off and pick-up. You are not inconvenienced or rushed by having to transport your pets before or after your trip. Also, many kennels are closed on Sunday, and you may have to pay for an extra night to pick them up on Monday.
- Regular visits to your home may be a crime deterrent. Making sure your mail and packages are brought in, lights and or blinds alternated, as well as general daily activity, gives your home a “lived in” appearance.
- Your pet will be there to greet you upon your arrival home!
Dallas Pets Alive! has finally given us a reason for taking all of those selfie pictures! Their recent “Muttbombing” project Photoshops adoptable dogs into Instagram selfies and has taken social media by storm. We talked with DPA! Vice President Max Morrison about the many ways this organization is working to educate the public on adoption and prevent the euthanasia of companion animals.
Park Cities Pet Sitter: When and how was Dallas Pets Alive! started?
Dallas Pets Alive!: Dallas Pets Alive! began the planning stages back in the summer of 2012 with our first animal pull in September of that same year, so we’re coming up on two years since the very beginning.
As for how, our Executive Director lived in Austin before moving to Dallas. Upon seeing the situation the animals of Dallas were in if they were taken to public shelters, she realized that action was needed. The seed was planted to take the foundation Austin used to turn that city around and create a solution for the DFW metroplex area.
PCPSI: According to your website, you pull animals from Dallas Animal Services. What traits and characteristics are you looking for when you choose an animal? Do you only rescue dogs?
DPA!: Our goal is to prevent the euthanasia of companion animals so traits and characteristics aren’t our priority. Our priority is to identify animals on the euthanasia list and find a way to pull them into the program. We have volunteers who work with Dallas Animals Services to identify those animals and gather as much information about the animal as possible. We then send an email blast to all of our volunteers signed up as fosters and to share them on social media to find them homes. Whether that is through us in foster homes or adoption through DAS, the end goal is to find them deserving, safe homes, where the animal can lives a long, comfortable, happy life.
At the present time, the majority of our work is with dogs because they are the most at risk in Dallas. That being said we do have equipment and volunteers who help with TNR (Trap and Release) programs to assist feral cat colonies. And as we continue to grow, as it says in our mission statement, we want to prevent the killing of all companion animals: dogs, cats, pot belly pigs, rabbits, prairie dogs, and the list goes on.
Longshot Lucy popped up in a selfie taken at the Perot Museum.
PCPSI: When an animal enters your rescue program, what process do they undergo before becoming adoptable?
DPA!: All animals go to the vet once they enter the program so we are aware of any potential health issues in order to remedy them and so the future adopters know as much about the animal’s health as possible before adoption. Everyone also receives all shots/boosters, de-wormer, are spay/neutered, and micro-chipped before being adopted. If any other treatment is needed, like heartworms, parvo, URI, we pay for the treatment until the animal is healthy. We firmly believe the adopters should not be surprised by any health concerns or conditions when they adopt an animal from our program.
Training is also a consideration based on the dog’s behavior in the foster home. Fosters work with the dogs on the basics but if advanced work is beneficial, we can bring in professionals to help the families out.
PCPSI: How did you come up with the Muttbombing idea?
DPA!: The original concept was founded by a marketing agency we’ve been so fortunate to partner with called Dieste. We charged Dieste with helping us create innovative and unique approaches to marketing our dogs and educating the public on the topic of adoption and no-kill. They took our charge to heart and looked to market a rescue organization in a way that has never been done before. Just exactly like our mission states….innovative approaches.
Great ideas have no budget, geography or social limitations. Ultimately the goal was to look for a creative way to reach out to people using non-traditional media and something that could really be part of their culture. So using a social media platform like Instagram and mixing it up with a global trend (selfies) sounded like a good approach. We found a low budget vehicle to drive change. And we did.
PCPSI: Have any big names/famous people responded to your posts?
DPA!: None of the famous people we have muttbombed have responded, but we are still holding out hope! We are confident one day Ethan will be on Jimmy Fallon!
DPA!: I don’t know of any specific cases where a Muttbomb has resulted in an adoption but that’s harder to track. The metrics we normally keep an eye on show our traffic is way up, Facebook likes are on the rise, our volunteer applications are up, and we’ve had a lot of exposure from various websites such as Fast Company, Huffington Post, The Times, CBS DFW, and Discovery News, to highlight a few. We’ve had coverage from sources based in 6 continents so far. So if you know anyone in Antarctica, feel free to share the campaign.
And if I may, we just want to send out our sincerest ‘thank you’ to everyone who has taken part so far. It’s been wonderful to see people from all over the world getting involved, even if you think it’s not in a big way. It’s all part of a bigger picture and global shift that needs to occur when it comes to ignoring a problem we’ve created. Everything counts. It all matters. So thank you, from the bottom of our tired hearts. Let’s keep it going.
PCPSI: Your website talks about setting yourself apart from other groups with “innovative and progressive programs”. Muttbombing is clearly an example of your creative techniques. What are some of your other practices?
DPA!: As the public, the biggest thing to recognize is that the problem Dallas animal’s face is complicated and has many layers to which there is no one answer. So our approach as an organization is multi-pronged. We need to tackle each individual issue from an angle that specifically targets the cause and provides a long term solution.
The problems are numerous. We need to change the idea that a dog is disposable. We need to understand that many people who love their dogs do not have access to pet shops or veterinary care in their neighborhoods. Education for pet loss prevention isn’t making it to the people who need it. Regulatory practices for breeding dogs are virtually non-existent and needs to change. There is a lot to deal with and each piece needs a solution based around that specific issue.
Working with Dallas Animal Services to help solve the problem is the biggest thing we can do. Many groups rescue the dogs from the shelter and find them homes, which is absolutely necessary, but that does not address the root of the problem. We want to do both. Some of the things we’re working with DAS on we can’t speak about yet but you will be hearing about it within the next month or two.
We also have additional campaigns we are working on with Dieste that are just around the corner to continue to engage the public in different, meaningful ways. We’ll be using all the tools available to us: Facebook, Twitter, print, events, Vine, and others to accomplish this goal. We look at it as this is the first small step towards something bigger. So be on the lookout for more in the very short future!
To view all of the creative and cute Muttbombing photos and to suggest a friend that should be Muttbombed, click here to visit their website. You can also follow Dallas Pets Alive! on Facebook to keep up with the fun.
Are you interested in giving your time to help animal rescues or shelters? Most people are aware that there are always opportunities to help out with dog handling at adoption events, fostering, transport, and walking or socializing shelter dogs. Depending on your skills or expertise, here are some other ways you can assist:
- Marketing/PR/Graphic Design
- Web Design
- Social Media
- Data Entry
- Legal Assistance
- Community Outreach Programs
In most shelters/rescues, you will need to go through general volunteer training. When signing up as a volunteer, let them know that you have an area that you would like to specialize in.
For example, here are some volunteer opportunities Duck Team 6 currently has available:
- Creating Marketing Videos for Duck Dogs
We need someone with video editing skills (iMovie, Vimeo, One True Media, or any other software) to create videos of the dogs in our program that need forever or foster homes.
- Organizing Fundraising Events
We need a central point of contact who can organize fundraising events and work with volunteers to manage all aspects of the event. This will include securing a venue, entertainment, budgeting, coordinating schedules and volunteers, and anything else related to the event.
Dallas Pets Alive is also currently seeking volunteers in most of the above areas.
Cheryl Spencer had been involved in animal rescue and foster work for quite some time. When her house had reached capacity with foster pets, she needed to come up with another way to help the animal community. On April 1, 2011, Spencer founded the North Texas Pet Food Pantry.
North Texas Pet Food Pantry provides pet food assistance to rescue groups and animal shelters that are in need. They also assist individuals who are suffering from a job loss or health problems that have left them unable to temporarily care for their companion animals. Spencer didn’t realize how big of a need there was for this type of assistance.
They recently assisted a boarding facility for rescue dogs where the water pipes froze during last month’s ice storm. The pipes burst, destroying their entire dog food supply. NTPFP rushed 500 pounds of food to the boarding facility in time for the dogs’ dinner! They were able to provide enough food until the facility could clean up and replace their pet food supply. Spencer and her team also stepped up to help when a rescue group abandoned 300 dogs on a boarding facility that was left with the full expense of feeding and caring for these pups. “We try to keep, at least, 1000 pounds of food on hand for emergencies, but one emergency can wipe us out and leave us short until we can collect more,” says Cheryl Spencer.
The donations for North Texas Pet Food Pantry come from individuals through pet food drives and drop off locations at pet related businesses. They are always in need of regular dry adult dog/cat food. However, with puppy and kitten season right around the corner, shelter and rescue groups will need puppy/kitten food, puppy pads, toys, and replacement formula to bottle feed abandoned puppies and kittens. If you are interested in contributing a monetary donation to NTPFP, click here for a secure donation link. They will also pick up donations, or you can purchase online from your favorite store and have it delivered to their address.
They plan to obtain 501(c) status this year which would open more doors to them, including to corporate donations. With growing exposure through events and word of mouth, they expect to double, if not triple, the support they can provide in 2014. And with that growth, comes the need for volunteers to help keep the organization running. Check out the North Texas Pet Food Pantry Facebook page for more information on their open Volunteer Coordinator position, as well as updates on food drives and events.
Unleashed by Petco, a new boutique-style pet store, is now open near the corner of Abrams Road and Gaston Ave. We decided to stop in to say hello and sniff out all of the details for our pet loving clients.
When you step inside you realize this isn’t your average big-box pet supply store. Unleashed has a cozy, neighborhood feel. We were immediately greeted by Veronica, the Dog and Cat Manager, who offered to help us find what we were looking for. She explained to us that Unleashed offers individualized service in ways that some of the larger stores aren’t capable of. If you don’t know exactly what you are looking for, they take the time to show you your options and the differences in your choices. Their educated staff believes that healthier pets make happier people so they promote natural foods and products. You can also find ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ and earth-conscious products, as well as pet fashions and travel gear.
Our favorite feature was the Self-Serve Dog Wash. For only $10 (any size dog), they provide shampoo, conditioner, grooming tools, towels, apron, and blow dryer. Their stations have platforms to accommodate both large and small dogs. The side has a door that opens to allow large dogs to jump in on their own, saving your back from lifting your full size pup. Tethers and break-away leashes keep your dog safe and contained. If you’ve never used one of these dog baths, one of the employees are happy to help get you set up. And the best part? They take care of the clean-up – no worrying about cleaning out the tub or removing hair from the drain.
In addition to providing all of your pet care products, Unleashed is active in promoting animal rescue organizations and holding adoption events. Right now they are having a “Pound for Pounds Challenge” to promote dog weight awareness. Each dog that comes into the store can step on the scale to check his/her weight and help Unleashed reach their weigh-in goal of 5000 pounds. When they reach their goal, they will donate $500 to Apollo Support and Rescue. Not only are you helping a good cause, but you also get to see if Fido needs to make some New Year’s weight loss resolutions.Unleashed by Petco is located at 1911 Abrams Road. Their hours are Monday-Saturday 9am-9pm and Sunday 10am-7pm.
Although we have had quite a few sunny 70 degree days in Dallas recently, the winter weather has arrived. Cold fronts can quickly and drastically reduce temperatures. Taking these simple precautions can save you a lot of money and trouble when the mercury drops.
- Have rain and freeze sensors installed on your automatic sprinklers. Watering during a freeze can form sheets of ice on your property and the street, creating extremely dangerous conditions for drivers and pedestrians.
- Prepare your pipes for freezing weather. In below freezing temperatures, the water in your pipes can freeze. This frozen water expands and can burst your pipes. To avoid this costly hazard, wrap all exposed pipes outside or in unheated areas of your home. Insulate your outdoor faucets with hard foam covers or cloth. If you’ll be traveling, let your pet sitter know where your water shutoff is located.
- Keep your dog warm. Although it may look like a fashion statement, there are practical reasons for a coat that keeps your animal warm. Small breeds with a high ratio of body surface to body weight lose body heat more quickly than the larger breeds. And just like you never leave home without your scarf, these snoods from Sirius Republic add an extra dose of warmth for your pups.
- Protect their paws. The salt and other chemicals that are used to melt the ice can irritate your dog’s paws. Wipe their paws down with a damp washcloth before heading indoors.
- Soothe their skin. Just like humans, your pet’s skin can become dry and itchy from the cold. Wash problem areas with gentle soap and apply a triple antibiotic ointment. Oatmeal baths are also a common remedy for itchy skin. To soothe a dry, cracked nose, try a healing balm designed specifically for pets, such as Snoutstik.
- Help feral cats get warm. Feral or stray cats also need protection from the harsh winter weather. Make an inexpensive feral cat shelter out of common household items to keep them warm. Click here for an example.
- Use ceramic or plastic bowls for outside. If you feed any outdoor animals, do not use metal bowls. When the temperatures are at or below freezing, your pet’s tongue might stick to the metal. Provide a little extra food since keeping warm drains energy and make sure water is unfrozen.
What do you do to keep your home safe and your pets healthy through the winter months? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page!
Dallas has many wonderful animal shelters that help provide homes for abandoned animals. However, East Lake Pet Orphanage stands out from the rest. Established in 1999, ELPO is a no-kill facility comprised of veterinarians and animal advocates dedicated to rehabilitating orphaned animals, giving them a second chance at finding a permanent home.
The orphans at East Lake Pet Orphanage come from various walks of life. Some are pulled off death row from high kill shelters. Some come from word-of-mouth and networking with other rescue groups. Some are dropped off by their owners in boxes duct-taped shut. ELPO recently acquired 18 guinea pigs after someone left them at their doorstep in the middle of the night.
When an animal enters their shelter, they are evaluated by their veterinary staff to ensure the animal is healthy. Once that is established, they receive training using positive reinforcement. They even use clicker training with the cats to relieve the anxiety that can develop from being confined to a cage while waiting to be adopted. For the more sensitive cats that prefer a dog-free environment, they have the East Lake Cat Care Center. Primarily used for their rescues at this time, this kitty paradise boasts a real wood cat tree and bedrooms that provide a home-like environment.
In addition to dogs, cats, and small furry animals, East Lake Pet Orphanage also takes in injured and orphaned wildlife. They usually take in birds – anything from a hawk to a sparrow. They once took in a turkey found running through Lake Highlands after Thanksgiving. So far this year, they have taken in over 1200 birds! The birds will be triaged to determine their condition, stabilized, fed (including the meat eaters), and re-released with the assistance of Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation.
Although ELPO establishes loving relationships with every animal that enters their facility, they ultimately want to see these pets end up in your heart and home. If you are currently looking for a cat, ELPO recently took in 24 cats from death row including Siamese, Calicos, Russian Blues, and many other wonderful breeds. You can also help these passionate people continue their work with monetary donations and by volunteering your time. Next time you are out shopping, check out Second Chance Treasures in North East Dallas which provides significant revenue for ELPO. You can find appliances, clothing, antiques, and art at this lovely resale shop. They have a warehouse located at 7939 Heinen Dr., where you can donate old appliances, electronics, clothing, household items, and much more (no mattresses or chemicals, please). No donation is considered unworthy; they work to recycle anything from scrap metal and rags, to fine china and beautiful antiques, all to help pets!
Halloween is always a fun time for kids (nothing beats free candy), but it can be very stressful for our pets. Follow these tips to make sure you and your four-legged friends stay happy and healthy.
- Keep Halloween candy out of reach. Make sure your pets cannot get to the Halloween candy, especially chocolate which can be toxic to dogs and cats. Tinfoil and cellophane candy wrappers can also be harmful if swallowed.
- Keep your pets in a safe room during peak trick-or-treating hours. Do not let your pet be the one greeting the trick-or-treaters. A bunch of strangers in costumes might spook your dog or cat. You also do not want them to run out when you open the door. Give your dog a distraction such as a tasty bone or chew toy.
- Do not force your pet to wear a costume they are unhappy with. Some pets are big hams and love their costumes. But make sure the costume doesn’t restrict your pet’s movement, vision, or hearing as this can make a dog or cat nervous.
- Keep your pets away from lit pumpkins and candles. Enthusiastic tail-waggers and curious kittens can easily knock over a pumpkin, and cause a fire or get burned.
- Keep pets inside to avoid harm from pranksters. There are some people that get out of control on Halloween, and that includes harming your animals. Black cats are especially prone to abuse during this holiday, so keep them inside a few days before and after Halloween.
Happy Halloween from Park Cities Pet Sitter!
In the month of August, Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center took in 2,380 animals. That’s an average of 77 animals EVERY day! Their live release rate (adoptions, transfers to rescue groups, and return to owners) was 40.8%, double what it was in August 2 years ago. Despite that good news, 1,408 animals were still euthanized. This emphasizes the importance of spay and neuter programs such as Big Fix for Big D.
The Big Fix for Big D initiative is a multi-year effort of four community partners to spay or neuter tens of thousands of pets in Dallas to significantly diminish numbers of unwanted litters, with the ultimate goal of reducing euthanasia at Dallas Animal Services. This ground-breaking initiative is working to curb unchecked breeding, which results in thousands more animals than the system is able to handle. BF4BD offers FREE spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and registration for animals in 8 of the highest-need zip code areas, including 75211, 75212, 75216, 75217, 75224, 75227, 75228, and 75241. A survey of pet owners identified these areas as highest-need. Lack of money, lack of awareness, and lack of access are among the reasons people were neglecting to spay/neuter their pets.
The Big Fix for Big D initiative is funded by the Companion Animal Funders Coalition, led by The Dallas Foundation, which also includes The Meadows Foundation, PetSmart Charities®, The Rees-Jones Foundation, the Summerlee Foundation, and The George and Fay Young Foundation. In-kind support is also being provided by The Marketing Arm and the City of Dallas.
Park Cities Pet Sitter would like to aid in Big Fix for Big D’s worthy goal of reducing euthanasia in Dallas by 30% in 3 years. That is why we have included BF4BD in our Presents 4 Pets donation drive. We are asking our friends and clients to contribute much needed items such as: monetary donations, collars, leashes, flat pet beds, e-collars, pet carriers, hand sanitizer, towels, and blankets. All of these items will be help the BF4BD partners (the City of Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center (DAS), Spay Neuter Network (formerly Kaufman County Animal Awareness Project, KCAAP), Metroplex Animal Coalition (MAC), and SPCA of Texas) spay and neuter more pets.
People who reside in these zip codes can find more information by visiting www.BigFixforBigD.com, and make appointments by calling 214-DBIGFIX (214-324-4349). Caretakers of feral/free-roaming cats should contact 214-814-0161, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
The Humane Society of Dallas County operates Dallas’ first and ONLY no-kill animal shelter – Dog & Kitty City, established in 1987. They are a true no-kill facility, taking in animals of all ages, with or without health issues. They provide them shelter, food, medical care, and love until they can find an adoptive home.
As a true sanctuary, they house many cats that will live their entire lives in the shelter because they are considered not adoptable, due to serious medical issues or because they are extremely feral. They are also one of the few shelters that take in cats with Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). Sadly, the FeLV cats are rarely adopted, but still receive care from this compassionate organization.
HSDC recently gained ownership of the building out of which Dog & Kitty City operates. The Manor Way building is rather old, so they are planning major renovations, starting with the dog runs in the next few months. Supplies and donations are always welcome as the shelter does not receive any tax support – they rely solely on donations from the community.
That is why we at Park Cities Pet Sitter decided to make the Humane Society of Dallas County one of the recipients of our Presents 4 Pets money and supply collection drive. We would like to help make it easier for them to provide shelter, love, and medical care for all of their animals until they find a loving home. If you would like help us give back to the shelter community, click here for information on what items are needed and how to donate. We will be collecting donations from now until November 1st. Thank you for your support!
We are still glowing with happiness since we were named Best Pet Sitting by Dallas A-List voters. All of our sitters work so hard every day of the year to provide the best pet care to our clients, and it is wonderful to receive this validation from you. We are so grateful for everyone who voted for us.
Here is what sets us apart:
- Our Team. We have a passionate team of pet care professionals who strive to make all of our two- and four-legged clients happy. Every sitter knows that with one phone call, they can get advice or an extra pair of hands immediately!
- Our Knowledge. Our sitters are fully trained by us, following our guidelines, policies and procedures developed over 21 years of experience. We also invest in the education and ongoing training of our pet sitters. The majority of our staff is Pet First Aid & CPR certified to give our clients the peace of mind that if something goes wrong, their pets are safe in our hands.
- Our Compassion. We simply love animals – your animals, our animals, all animals. PCPSI works closely with our local and national pet community, such as the Presents 4 Pets collection drive. This year we are gathering food, supplies, and money for two deserving organizations: Dallas County Humane Society and Big Fix for Big D.
Winning these awards continues to motivate us to provide the best possible service to our clients. Everyone loves to be recognized when they do a great job, and we are proud to say that our pet sitters have been providing great service for many, many years. We continue to reinforce the importance of providing consistently superior service, and winning awards like the “Dallas A-List” award is a wonderful tribute to the hard work our sitters put in on a daily basis.
The dog days of summer can be taxing on everyone, including your feline friends. Heat stroke is a serious concern, especially for overweight and senior kitties. Here are our tips for keeping your kitty cool despite the heat:
Create a shady retreat. Give your cat a place to retreat to that is quiet and out of the sun. Try sticking a frozen water bottle or package of frozen peas under a towel to provide the ultimate cooling effect.
Brush your cat daily. This is crucial for long haired breeds. Daily brushing will help with shedding and will prevent matted fur, which can be a serious heat trap.
Give your cat access to the cooler parts of your home. Cats are geniuses when it comes to comfort. That’s why they seek refuge from the heat in places like the sink where the porcelain stays cool. Rooms with tiled floors such as bathrooms and kitchens are also a good option.
Keep your cat hydrated. This is true for all times of year but especially important during hot weather. If you have an outdoor cat, switch to ceramic bowls that do not trap heat like metal ones do. Experiment with adding ice cubes to your kitty’s water to keep it cooler longer.
Make refreshing catcicles. Mix your cat’s favorite wet food with a pinch of catnip and freeze. Petfinder has an awesome step-by-step guide for making these delicious treats.
How do you and your cats beat the summer heat? Share your tips with us on our Facebook page!
Every day, Angie Manriquez ventures into the most economically depressed areas of our city – places most people like to forget even exist. Affectionately named “The Fairy Dogmother of Dallas”, Angie delivers food, water, and care to the neglected and chained animals that no one else looks after. And since 1999, she has been doing all of this on a meager Social Security income.
She replaces heavy chains with lightweight tethers to prevent spine deformations. She crawls under abandoned, dilapidated houses to rescue mother dogs and their puppies. She ensures dogs with ill-fitting collars that have cut into their flesh and other injuries get medical treatment. She even takes dogs to the free spay/neuter clinics weekly to curb the cycle of forgotten animals.
In an effort to aid this selfless woman’s efforts, a group of supporters and longtime friends formed Angie’s Friends. This non-profit organization provides the financial support to help Angie continue her animal welfare work. All monetary donations go directly to buying food and medicine for the neediest animals in Dallas. A $5 donation will feed a dog for a week. To contribute to Angie’s Friends, check out their website for a secure link.
Angie’s Friends also has dogs that are available for adoption. These three cuties are looking for their forever home:
Meet Blade: Blade is an 8 week old American Staffordshire Terrier puppy who is about the sweetest thing on the planet. He’s curious, playful, and already a devoted pup that follows people around. He will be a fairly large dog and it’s estimated he will grow to about 65 lbs. Blade was going to be euthanized by his breeders because they could not sell him with the burn on his back, but Angie saved him! Blade is neutered and vaccinated.
Meet Osa: She is a 2 year old Besinji mix. Osa is a super fun, affectionate, and playful dog. She’s the perfect size at 25 lbs, she can keep up for a good walk or jog, but is small enough to cuddle up in your lap. Osa’s got a really easy-going personality that does well with other dogs and she LOVES kids. She’s housebroken and will be an excellent family pet. Osa is spayed and vaccinated.
Meet Tigger Tigger: This little guy (roughly 10 lbs) is sweet as pie and is a total clown, in addition to being a real lover. He’s guaranteed to make you laugh. Tigger Tigger is a 2-year old Portuguese Podengo Hound Dog and is extremely social – he gets along with everybody. He does great with kids and can run and play with the best of them. He is a great little guy that would love to get a family of his own. Tigger Tigger is neutered and vaccinated.
- Take your walks in the early morning or late evening hours. If you can’t avoid being outside with your pets during the heat of the day, make your walks short. If you have a brachycephalic breed (short-nosed breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs), be extra careful as they are the most likely candidate for heat stroke. Also be mindful of the temperature of the concrete; if you wouldn’t go barefoot, than it is too hot for your dog’s paws.
- Keep hydrated. Make sure you and your pet are taking in lots of water. If you are going on a trip to the park or beach, bring along a collapsible water bowl.
- Know the signs of heat stroke. Time is of the essence in treating heat stroke, so recognizing the symptoms is very important. These include: excessive panting or drooling, dark or bright red tongue and gums, sticky or dry tongue and gums, staggering, and stupor. If you think your pet may be over heating, you need to cool them down quickly. You can do this by hosing them down with cool water, or putting them in a bathtub filled with cool water.
- Try indoor activities to provide your pet with mental and physical stimulation. Try teaching your dog a new trick. Or play hide-and-seek by having your pup practice his/her stay command while you “hide” their treat in another room (on a chair, in a corner, under the table). And if you and your dog are experiencing cabin fever and must get out of the house, head to a neighbor or friend’s place for a play date.
As Texans, we must be creative about getting our exercise while still being safe on these 100+ degree days. What ways do you and your pet beat the heat? Share your tips and tricks with us on our Facebook page!
Something pretty special happened at the Cleveland Animal Protective League. When a day old pit bull puppy, Noland, was dropped off at the shelter, his odds of survival were not good. Momma cat Lurleen was already nursing four newborns of her own and that’s when the team at APL decided to get creative. They introduced the puppy to Lurleen, and to everyone’s surprise, she instantly accepted Noland as her own. According to the APL’s Facebook page, “Lurlene, her kittens, and Noland are all doing well! One of Noland’s eyes opened today!”
This isn’t the first time an animal has adopted a baby of other species. Check out these great stories of awesome animal step-moms: 5 Mama Animals Adopt Babies of Different Species.
In certain parts of Dallas, there are packs of homeless dogs roaming the streets. They can be scared, sometimes injured, and elusive, often seeking shelter in abandoned homes. Duck Team 6 is a group of brave, animal loving friends with the patience and experience to rescue these street dogs.
Tracking and capturing these stranger-wary strays is rarely easy, and typically takes them into dirty, flea-ridden areas that would send most people running in the opposite direction. In spite of the horrendous conditions they face, this team has saved more than 350 dogs in the Dallas area. They are funded mostly by donations which help to pay for veterinary care, equipment, and other expenses.
If you are interested in helping this amazing rescue group, they are always in need of foster homes. Having dogs in homes, instead of boarding facilities, is crucial for them to receive medical treatment. It also helps to socialize these canines, which makes for a much smoother transition into their forever home. If you are interested in fostering, you can find more information and the foster application on their website at duckteam6.org. And while you are at their website, read the hilarious story of how Duck Team 6 got their funny name.
If fostering is not the best option for you, monetary donations are always welcome, and crucial to keeping this organization alive. Right now, they are holding a 30-Day Match Challenge fundraiser, the Semper Woof Challenge. A very generous supporter of DT6 has agreed to match all donations, up to $15,000, through July 17! Visit their Facebook page or website to use the Special Razoo donation link to contribute so your donation will be matched. And don’t forget to share this with your Facebook friends to help DT6 reach their $15,000 goal!
Thanks Duck Team 6 for everything you do for the homeless dogs of Dallas!
In between visits from their favorite pet sitter, dogs tend to get very bored during the day. This boredom quite often is displayed through destructive behavior – as we’ve all seen in the “dog shaming” pictures flooding the internet. Food dispensing dog toys help keep your dog occupied, which can reduce anxiety, and possible bad behavior. So, we got our very own Swami Stubbs to try out StarMark’s Treat Dispensing Chew Ball.
We used kibble to fill the ball because the small pieces were easier to insert. This was Swami’s “breakfast” serving, so he was hungry, and had motivation to work on getting the food out. Once the ball was about half way full, we put it on the floor and let the fun begin.
It didn’t take long for Swami to learn to push the ball around with his nose, and as it rolled, it would toss out 2-3 bits of kibble at a time. We liked that it didn’t dump the kibble quickly, and the ball kept him busy for almost an hour. According to the StarMark website, you can cut the plastic pieces around the opening to make it easier for the dog, or to accommodate larger treats inside.
The Treat Dispensing Chew Ball claims to be made of “Virtually Indestructible Material”. It is definitely tough, and has held up well. However, Swami is known to be a toy destroyer, so we remove the ball once the kibble is all gone.
Have you tried an interactive dog toy before? Share your experiences with us on our Facebook page!
Ask any cat owner and they will be happy to tell you how their feline friend has enriched their lives (and probably have tons of adorable pictures to back it up). But there are still so many cats and kittens that are waiting in shelters for good homes.
While the cute and cuddly kittens get most of the attention, there are great perks to adopting a senior cat.
- What you see is what you get. With a senior cat, there are no surprises about how big they will get, or what color their coat will be. And, their temperament is unlikely to change from when you met them in the shelter.
- Less Maintenance. With a mature pet, you have already bypassed the time-consuming, and sometimes destructive phase of raising a kitten. Most adult cats come already litter-box trained, and many have very good manners.
- They’re perfect for families with young children or seniors. An older cat is far less high-strung than a kitten, making them more of a cuddle-buddy, instead a chaos-creator.
- A great value. Adult cats are more likely to have already been spayed, neutered, microchipped, and fully vaccinated.
- They’re grateful. Senior pets somehow seem to know that you gave them a chance when everyone else turned away. Many people feel this makes them more appreciative and loving, which results in a very strong bond between the pet and owner.
If this is your first cat, the ASPCA has helpful information on how to prepare your house, including the supplies you’ll want on hand, as well as tips for making the adjustment as smooth as possible for everyone involved. And if you already have a cat, you should read their guide on introducing your cat to a new feline member of the family.
In honor of June being Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, many of the shelters and rescue groups are offering discounts this month. Operation Kindness is celebrating with a $25 discount on the adoption fee of any cat or kitten. Dallas Animal Services has reduced the adoption fees for cats 6 months or older to just $5, but it’s only for a limited time.
Is your cat adopted? Share your adoption stories with us on our Facebook page!
“He doesn’t raise our taxes — we have no sales tax. He doesn’t interfere with business. He’s honest.” Most mayors would love to hear those words spoken about them, except this mayor is a cat.
One day back in 1997, outside of Nagley’s General Store in Talkeetna, Alaska, someone brought a box full of kittens that they hoped to find homes for. The store manager, Lauri Stec, chose the one kitten without a tail and named him Stubbs.
A few months later during the town’s mayoral elections, residents were not happy with any of the human candidates, and decided to vote for Stubbs as a write in candidate. He won and has been mayor ever since!
Nagley’s General Store now doubles as his mayoral office. “All throughout the day I have to take care of the mayor. He’s very demanding,” Nagley’s employee Skye Farrar told CNN. “He meowed and meowed and meowed and demanded to be picked up and put on the counter. And he demanded to be taken away from the tourists. Then he had his long, afternoon nap.” Stubbs even requires his mid-day drink and catnip to be served in a wine glass.
Although he is regularly guilty of sleeping on the job, the majority of the 900 residents are happy with their elected leader. “His biggest political rivals would be other local businesses that would hate that he comes over and takes a nap and leaves fur everywhere. They aren’t big fans of him,” Farrar told CNN. “We usually say, ‘You have to deal with it. He runs the town.’”
We love the brief time in Dallas when the weather is just perfect! The sun is shining, the flowers are in bloom, and the patios are full of happy people. We always try to take advantage by leashing up our dogs, and exploring our favorite spots!
“I have a client in a high-rise on Turtle Creek. Sometimes, I walk their dog across Turtle Creek, and on to the property of the Kalita Humphreys Theater. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.” says Linda, a PCPSI sitter who services the Uptown/Oak Lawn area. “It is a beautiful, historic building nestled in the trees above the creek, and has nice grounds to walk during times the theater is closed.” This Dallas landmark is one of only three theaters designed by the American architect, as well as one of his last completed projects.
With all of the new developments, Downtown Dallas is really becoming an attractive place to hang out. Take a stroll down Flora St, through the Arts District, and enjoy the buildings that not only house our outstanding organizations, but are also works of art themselves. The photo opportunities are tremendous as you have your dog practice his sit-stay in front of the unique architecture and public sculptures. Make your way over to the Klyde Warren Park to let your dog romp with his fellow furry friends at the new off leash area, My Best Friend’s Park.
If the hustle and bustle of downtown is a bit too much for you and your pooch, White Rock Lake offers a more tranquil setting. PCPSI pet care pro Diana really enjoys this iconic Dallas location. “I walk one of my client’s dogs at White Rock near Doctor’s Hospital, just off of Poppy Drive. There’s everything you could want there – walking trails, a big open field, beautiful scenery, wildlife, and a bench to sit on.” But don’t forget to leave nothing behind except paw prints. If we make sure to bag our dog waste, we can curb the negative feelings people have about sharing their space with our canine companions.
So let’s get out there and start exploring this amazing city that we call home! Do you have a wonderful trail or park that you and your dog love to visit? Share it with us on our Facebook page.
Last night in Dallas, we had some dazzling thunderstorms — I’m a fan. As humans, we’re well aware that the odds of a thunderstorm causing us harm are slim. Some dogs don’t mind thunderstorms. On the other hand, dogs might display some anxious behavior, and others may just totally fall apart. First, imagine the sound of thunder the way you hear it, and then crank it up. Not only are dogs ears more sensitive, some can even detect what we cannot on the sound spectrum. The vibrations from a thunderstorm and changes in the atmosphere most certainly affect animals differently.
What can you do if your dog is one of many who suffer during severe weather? There are several steps you can take. Thundershirts are becoming increasingly popular to help soothe your dog through the storm. There are more details about how these work at their website, and they say that 80% of dogs improve with the use of this special garment that applies pressure to their body. The methodology behind this explains that the pressure from the Thundershirt has a calming effect on your dog’s nervous system. Other methods include holisitc remedies, like DAP (dog-appeasing pheremone) collars and herbal supplements. Many owners’ last-ditch effort to help their dogs suffer less during a storm require a veterinarian’s prescription.
One tried and true method used by behaviorists involves a method called desensitization and counter-conditioning. This can be tricky and possibly damaging if not done correctly, but the basics of this method are easy to understand. Your dog associates the sound of thunder with the fear. Your goal here is to gradually — and carefully — reduce your dog’s fear of something we can control. A recording of thunderstorms (or any other loud noises, like fireworks) can be played at almost inaudible levels to start. While the sounds play, that’s where counter-conditioning comes in. Play a game with your dog, reward your dog for performing tricks, and keep him or her occupied and happy. If at any time you notice signs of anxiety due to the recorded thunder, stop it immediately — you are trying to prevent stress, not cause it. If your dog seems happy, continue the play and relaxation for about 10 minutes, break for about 5, and gradually increase. This is not a fast process, but over time with enough care and consistency, you can help rid your dog of the anxiety and stress from the loud noises.
If your dog has this problem and you could use some help, contact us. We can set up a private session to work on helping you and your dog live a happier life together! Also, share your tricks on how you calm your dog during a thunderstorm on our Facebook.
William R. Nadeau, ABCDT is the Staff Dog Trainer and Operations Assistant with Park Cities Pet Sitter, Inc., the #1 pet care company in Dallas, Texas. Will has worked with dogs and other animals for over four years, both within the pet care industry and in rescue/shelter environments. As a certified dog trainer, he primarily provides in-home private dog training services, focusing on improving the relationship between pets and their owners using a positive reinforcement-based “whole picture” approach. He also provides adoption consultation with a history of several successful placements.
Choosing a pet is something that requires a lot of thought and consideration before the decision is final; one must look at this decision as a lifetime commitment (for the lifetime of the pet) – you’re taking a life into your home and will be responsible for their well-being, and you must also consider the overall well-being of your family!
The first step in this decision is coming to a consensus on each member of the family’s preference as to which type of pet – big dog, small dog, a particular breed? A cat? Maybe start with a hamster? It’s important that everyone agrees as to avoid fostering resentment!
Another major factor in deciding on a pet is to determine your family’s schedule and level of activity. Are you constantly on the go? Do you have frequent houseguests? Are you homebodies? Does someone stay home all day? An answer to any of these questions can give you vital clues. A puppy isn’t going to be a great addition to a family that doesn’t have the enormous amount of time and consistency needed to raise it. A cat may not be very happy in a home with frequent visitors, or may even be prone to escaping. A big, energetic dog wouldn’t be ideal for a family with small children or elderly visitors. Of course, there are always management strategies you could consider implementing if your family life doesn’t perfectly lend itself to the type of pet you want.
Your willingness to learn is of utmost importance – and your ability to teach your children is imperative. Animals aren’t people, or toys for that matter. Learning proper animal handling techniques and passing them on to your kids is not only good for your pet, but essential in preventing dangerous accidents and injuries. Learning how to effectively train your pet to avoid, manage, and correct behavior issues is also something to give a lot of time and thought.