Why People Love Pets

Post by Niki Clark

It’s no surprise that people love animals and choose to keep some as pets. According to the National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of US households own a pet. And that could be multiple pets in one home. Basically, 68% of us opt to share our home with some sort of animal as a pet. Why? What is the appeal? Is it the sheer joy from a dog when you come home from work? Could it be the purr from the cat as it snuggles up on your lap at just the right moment?

Lets Think About This: Pets

There are a slew of answers. Pets offer their companionship, unconditional love, loyalty, protection, and even health benefits. They are members of our family. Their birthdays are celebrated. They receive gifts on holidays and special occasions. They go with us on vacations. Pets hold a special place in our hearts. With that being said, pet ownership has its struggles too. There is the hamster that runs in its wheel at all ends of the night and parrot who thinks your finger is fun to peck at. So why do people continue to open their home to a roommate who is unable to do dishes or fold the laundry?

Some researchers have suggested it is our need to take care of another living breathing thing. An ingrained need to nurture. Others think it has to do with evolution. Some even think it may be a form of social status. Remember the dog in the purse craze a while back? There are many articles on this subject and all seem to have varying conclusions. Since each individual is different and each pet is unique, it is hard to distinguish the exact reason.

Regardless, it’s safe to say you no doubt cherish them and will do whatever it takes to make sure they are well cared for. VIP Pet Services has many different service options that will be perfect for your special family member. We would love to meet you and your pet! Contact us today!

Can Your Dog Catch Your Cold?

Many of us catch at least one cold during the winter months, and we all know how easy it is to pass a cold around the household!

What about your dog? Can your dog catch your cold? Happily, no. Humans and dogs are affected by different kinds of cold germs and cannot share them.

But dogs can catch colds from other dogs, which is why keeping them home with a pet sitter is so much better than boarding them at a kennel where they can be infected by another dog. If your dog does catch a cold, there are a few things to watch for. (This short video from Pet MD has some quick tips.)

As the video mentions, the best cold treatment for an otherwise healthy dog is to make sure they stay hydrated, and you may even want to put a humidifier near their bed.

If you’re going out of town for the holidays, or just extra busy and need a hand with your furry friend, it’s time to book your VIP sitter. It’s a great way to reduce their chances of catching a cold from other pets at a kennel! We’ll take your dog for a walk, cuddle with your cat, give them a belly rub and a snack, and we’ll even text you a quick update so you’ll have peace of mind.

Our schedules fill up quickly during the holidays – especially Christmas, so click here to book your pet sitter, or leave your number here and we’ll call you…

Pet Diabetes Month



Symptoms of Diabetes

An affected animal will be hungry a lot of the time. Since glucose is not making it to the brain, the levels are too low for the brain to register that it is receiving food. You’ll see an increase in appetite, yet your pet will continue to lose weight because the nutrients in her food are not staying in her body. With glucose constantly leaving the body, she will be tired and unable to exercise or play. There is also increased thirst as a result of an upsurge in urine output while the body attempts to rid itself of the excess insulin.

The liver can also be adversely affected by this condition, as can the eyes and kidneys. Many animals with chronic and/or untreated diabetes will develop cataracts in their eyes and eventually go blind. They may also develop chronic kidney disease.



Veterinary Diagnosis and Treatment

In order to make a complete diagnosis, your veterinarian will take detailed a medical history from you about your pet’s health leading up to the onset of symptoms. The vet will also want details of the exact symptoms, including an estimation of daily urination times and amounts. Standard tests commonly include a complete blood count, chemical profile, and urinalysis. These tests should be sufficient for diagnosis and initial treatment.

Typically, with diabetes, an unusually high concentration of glucose will be found in your pet’s blood and urine. Abnormally high levels of liver enzymes and electrolyte imbalances are also common. Urine test results may also show evidence of abnormally high levels of ketone bodies – water-soluble compounds produced as a by-product of fatty acid metabolism in the liver and kidney. A numbers of other abnormalities may also be found.

The course of treatment for both cats and dogs typically includes…

  • Daily exercise using walks, runs or play therapy.
  • Gradual weight loss through increased physical activity and lowered caloric and carbohydrate intake.
  • Veterinary dietary management plans for all foods and treats. Dr. Spector recommends feeding cats “a canned, high protein, low carbohydrate food twice daily.” The veterinarians at WebMD suggest giving a high-fiber veterinary diet designed to normalize blood glucose levels.
  • Determination and tracking of daily blood glucose levels.
  • Daily insulin injections depending on the size, age, gender and weight of the affected animal. The insulin dosage may need to be adjusted as blood glucose levels sometime vary from day to day.

If left untreated, diabetes can lead to cataracts, growing weakness in the legs, malnutrition, vomiting, dehydration, and the development of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a metabolic process where fats and proteins in your pet’s liver are broken down to serve as sources of energy not being supplied by necessary glucose. This leads to chronic liver disease, and eventually liver failure and death.

Prognosis of Pet Diabetes

Unfortunately, diabetes is not a disease that can be cured, but your pet’s health can be kept stable and she can go on to live a fully enjoyable life. This will be dependent on your willingness to adhere to your veterinarian’s dietary recommendations and suggested insulin protocol. The best preventive from complications is practicing careful maintenance at home with your animal’s best life in mind.


Ease Your Pet’s Holiday Stress.

Holiday stress isn’t just for humans; it can be hard on our pets too, but it doesn’t have to be if we’re mindful of a few ways to ensure our pets have a wonderful holiday season. We know you’re busy, so we’ve assembled a super-quick list to help you ease your pet’s holiday stress…

  1. Visitors.
     Unfamiliar people and extra noise and activity can be stressful on your pet if they are not used to having visitors. They may become overly excited (and forget their manners or dash out the door) or they may become frightened.
    Solution: If your pet shows signs of either extreme, let him spend time in a comfortable, private room with the door closed. If he has a cozy rug, some treats, toys and water, he can relax and de-stress.
  2. Smells.
    Pets, especially dogs, can find strong odors overwhelming. Air fresheners, potpourri, and scented candles may be too strong for your pet.
    Solution: If you must use them, it is best to do so only occasionally and keep the areas well ventilated during use.
  3. Exercise.
    As your schedule gets busier, you may find you are not exercising your pet as often as he needs (and he probably needs more exercise during the holidays – it’s a great stress reliever). Lack of exercise can cause behavior changes such as chewing on furniture, tearing up household items or even unwrapping gifts (causing YOU more holiday stress!).
    Solution: Plan for more frequent exercise sessions, and we can help! Just see our special discount below.
  4. Rules.
    Don’t want Fido sharing the sofa with your guests? If you usually allow him on the furniture, he’ll be stressed and confused if you change the rules at the last minute. The same is true for begging at the table – not that any of us would ever allow that 🙂
    Solution: Use the quiet room idea from tip #1 above if your pet has some habits that might cause you stress while entertaining. He’ll be happy and so will you.

Our schedules fill up quickly during the holidays,
especially Thanksgiving!

Whether you are going out of town or entertaining guests, book your VIP sitter now to make sure your pet is cozy and cared for all weekend long.

Schedule your Thanksgiving service by November 9th and get $10 off!
Your booking must include at least 4 standard or premium visits.

Click here to get started, or leave your number and we’ll call you!

(Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions.)

I love the ease of scheduling an appointment. Also love the consistency of the pet sitter – I like the security of knowing Trudy will take care of the pups with minimal instructions as we have an established relationship. -Luis G


Halloween Safety Tips and Costume Ideas for Your Pet

First, two ways to keep your pet safe:

Keep your pet indoors on Halloween. It’s a prime time for injury and malice toward pets (particularly black cats), and they are much better off in the protection of your home unless they are on a leash by your side.

Use a leash. With all the activity on Halloween, your pet can become nervous and dart away. Keep him safe and secure with a comfortable leash and collar or harness.

And now, costumes!

Your pet is adorable in his costume, but if he doesn’t love it, we recommend leaving it at home and letting him enjoy the holiday ‘au naturel.’ He’ll be much happier and so will you! If your pet does tolerate a costume, there are lots of fun ideas to get him ready for the big day. We’ve found a few sites to help you choose the best costume. Just be sure to use lightweight materials, and remove any loose objects that he could choke on or become tangled in.

  1. If your pet doesn’t mind wearing a sweater, all you need is a white paint marker to make this quick and easy skeleton costume. Tip: use glow in the dark paint to make your pet more visible and safe!
  2. We love this watch dog costume!
  3. How about a no-sew iPhone costume? This is a child’s costume but could easily be transformed into a comfortable costume for your pet!
  4. And here’s a whole list of simple DIY costumes to choose from!




Holistic Pet Care

By Cate Burnette

A General Overview of the 4 Most Common Alternative Vet Therapies

More and more pet parents are searching for alternative forms of therapy when it comes to the veterinary treatment of the animals. The term “holistic” pet care – when related to veterinary tactics – generally refers to trying to be as minimally intrusive as possible when it comes to treating various ailments within a pet.

The primary advantages holistic veterinarians hope to convey is that through less intervention involving technology or medicine, the more effective and cost-friendly this type of technique will be toward comforting an animal and its family during a time of illness and stress.


Types of Holistic Veterinary Medicine

There are a number of differing alternative therapies available for sick pets. We will go over 4 of the more common treatments here, although your holistic vet may offer other therapies that he or she feels will be more effective for your individual animal.


  • Acupuncture: Veterinary acupuncture is a holdover from Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that has been practiced on animals for thousands of years. Originally performed on military horses, the demand for modern veterinary acupuncture for use on companion animals has steadily increased over the last 20 years. Used mainly for functional problems involving pain, paralysis and non-infectious inflammation, vet acupuncture can treat patients with arthritis, hip dysplasia, feline asthma, non-infectious diarrhea, and lick granulomas (hot spots).Veterinarians in this country are trained, certified and governed by the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture and approved by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) for the management of pain in cats and dogs.


  • Massage Therapy: Massage therapy for animals is a touch technique that causes the pet’s body to release endorphins, a natural body product that relieves pain and lowers stress levels. Used on both companion animals and horses, therapists claim that massage can increase the circulation improving joint flexibility and muscle tone, help eliminate toxins and wastes from the body, improve the condition of skin, gums, coat and teeth, and positively affect the behavior of nervous, aggressive or anxious animals.The National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage (NBCAAM) was founded in 2008 to establish and uphold professional standards for animal acupressure and massage practitioners. Pet massage therapists do not have to be licensed veterinarians, but they must pass national core competency examinations to be certified in this country. Your veterinarian or the NVCAAM can help your find a certified pet message therapist in your area.


  • Nutrition and Dietary Changes: Just as in human medicine, veterinary nutritionists use common foods and nutrients to prevent and treat diseases in our pets. They teach pet parents how to read pet food labels to find optimal products, how to make homemade meals for sick and ailing animals, which vitamins and minerals will combat certain chronic disorders and which foods are hazardous to a patient’s health.Obese pets, animals with chronic kidney and cardiac disease, cancer patients, animals with arthritis and hip dysplasia, intestinal disorders and skin conditions can all be helped often with just a simple change in diet or nutritional plan.To find a qualified veterinary nutritionist, consult with your vet or visit the website of their governing body, the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition.  


  • Chiropractic Care: Veterinary chiropractors are licensed veterinarians who have undergone post-graduate animal chiropractic training and been certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.Vet chiropractors manually manipulate the neuro-musculo-skeletal systems of pets in an effort to treat animals with stiffness, tension, pain and even organ dysfunction. As an alternative to regular veterinary care, animal chiropractic adjustment can promote optimal function of the nerves, muscles and tissues supporting the joints, resulting in improved movement, stance and flexibility. Vet chiropractors claim that this alignment promotes increased agility, endurance, and overall performance for sport animals. Broader benefits include superior immune function, healthier metabolism and a vibrant nervous system, facilitating your companion animal’s natural ability to heal.


Official Guidelines

The American Veterinary Medical Association officially describes alternative veterinary practices as “Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM).” While the AVMA has recognized these types of therapeutic methods for usage, they have still implemented various guidelines that call for appropriate evaluation of each alternative procedure, insisting that programs dedicated to promoting CAVM practices need to demonstrate “a substantial body of scientific knowledge.”


As the official AVMA guidelines state, these recommendations include:

  • “Veterinarians should ensure that they have the requisite skills and knowledge for any treatment modality they may consider using.
  • Diagnosis should be based on sound, accepted principles of veterinary medicine.
  • Proven treatment methods should be discussed with the owner or authorized agent when presenting the treatment options available. Recommendations for effective and safe care should be based on available scientific knowledge and the medical judgment of the veterinarian.
  • Owner consent should be obtained prior to initiating any treatment, including CAVM.
  • Medical records should meet statutory requirements. Information should be clear and complete. Records should contain documentation of client communications and owner consent.
  • Veterinarians should be aware that animal nutritional supplements and botanicals typically are not subject to pre-marketing evaluation by the FDA for purity, safety, or efficacy and may contain active pharmacologic agents or unknown
  • If a human health hazard is anticipated in the course of a disease or as a result of therapy, it should be made known to the client.”

According to a recent article in the Dallas Morning News, in Texas, holistic therapies must either be offered or approved by your TVMA-licensed veterinarian.


Cate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.

Massage Therapy for Your Pets

By Cate Burnette


A Holistic Treatment You Can Share With Your Pets

Just as it has in human medicine, the practice of less invasive and more holistic approaches to the care and treatment of animals is gaining in popularity. Consultations for nutritional help, physical therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy are becoming more routine in both equine and companion animal veterinary medicine.

Pet massage therapy is in the forefront of treatments that pet parents can easily continue at home while maintaining ongoing contact with the veterinarian on regular health issues of our furry companions.


What IS animal massage therapy and how can it help my pet?

Massage therapy is the therapeutic application of hands-on deep tissue techniques to the voluntary muscle system – those muscles that all animals, including humans, use for movement.


Massage has been shown to:

…increase muscular circulation and help eliminate toxins and waste from the body.

…improve joint flexibility and muscle tone, which can be very beneficial to older animals and those with active lives
    such as performance animals. Massage is very popular with agility dogs and sport horses.

…promote healing and increase the range of motion in all dogs, horses and some cats.

…reduce muscle spasms and soreness and relieve tension.

…correct the condition of the skin, coat, gums and teeth because of increased blood circulation.

…enable atrophying muscles to work the way they are supposed to.

…reduce recovery time from soft tissue injuries.

…relieve the pain and discomfort associated with such joint conditions as hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Additionally, pet massage helps calm nervous and anxious animals through the act of being kindly and consistently touched, allows these pets to trust their human counterparts, helps a shy or submissive animal feel more confident and secure and, on the other side, can relax an aggressive or dominant animal.


Can I do this at home?

Because of the health-promoting qualities of massage, as well as its restorative properties, knowledgeable owners and trainers are incorporating this therapy as an integral part of their dogs’ and horses’ total and continuous health care program.

The therapy is certainly transferable – by virtue of its generally universal effectiveness and similarity of technique – to other companion animals, such as cats and ferrets, but we urge that you contact a veterinarian or professional animal massage therapist before trying these techniques on your own.

There are a number of animal massage demonstrations on YouTube that you can watch for guidance, including one by noted British dog trainer Victoria Stilwell.


What are some precautions with massage therapy for animals?

As noted above, if your animal is acting injured or ill, you should consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis to make sure massage therapy is appropriate and beneficial, not detrimental to veterinary treatment, and/or contraindicative with any prescribed medications.

Furthermore, never massage an animal that has low blood pressure, a fever, any type of poisoning, severe tissue trauma, severe debilitation, is in shock, has heat stroke, indicates symptoms of a limb or hindquarters having a circulatory problem due to thrombosis (blood clots), or an injury or illness not diagnosed by a vet.


Certification of Professional Pet Massage Therapists

When seeking massage therapy for your dog, cat or horse, first ask your veterinarian for a recommendation. Many equine and small animal vets now have qualified massage therapists either on staff or on call that can work with you and your animal to provide whatever treatment is needed.

A professional, qualified therapist will have taken classes and studied the appropriate techniques in both the lecture and hands-on format. Many therapists will have interned under holistic vets or other therapists while learning.

Look for a massage therapist certified by the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage. This national organization, founded in 2008, develops standardized national certification examinations in order to establish and uphold professional standards for acupressure and massage practitioners. The NBCAAM examinations for Equine Massage, Equine Acupressure, Canine Massage and Canine Acupressure are entirely based on the Scope of Practice for each discipline.

The minimum standard for sitting for the NCEAAM is documented proof of attendance at a school or schools of either animal massage or animal acupressure resulting in an accumulated course of study equaling a minimum of 200 hours.


PLEASE NOTE: Natural remedies and alternative therapies can complement traditional veterinary or medical care. If your pet is sick, injured, on medication, or you have any other concerns, we recommend that you can check with your veterinarian prior to offering any remedy or massage therapy. Be aware that your vet or medical professional may advise you to not use the natural/holistic/alternative remedy or therapy. Do your homework and explore your options. If your pet is seriously ill or has a life-threatening condition, please always seek proper veterinary care.



Cate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.


Celebrate International Cat Day on August 8th



In a world filled with furry pups, our feline friends often go unnoticed. However, on August 8th cats get their day in the spotlight as International Cat Day is celebrated across the nation!


Back in 2002, a group of animal lovers known as the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) created International Cat Day as a way to bring awareness to and provide information about the wonderfully wacky (and lazy) world of cats.  


This celebration confirms that dogs aren’t the only best friends of humans; a kitty can make an equally fun, entertaining and loyal (albeit lazy) pet. Felines provide their owners with unconditional love, companionship and oodles of entertainment (think funny cat videos).  


Cat lovers everywhere can celebrate this fantastic feline frenzy in a variety of ways.  Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:

  1. Give your kitty a brushing to remove excess hair (this may help with hairballs later).
  2. Take funny pictures of your cat in costume and share them!
  3. Treat your feline pal to a special meal, a new bed, or some distracting toys that they can chase around the house.  Maybe fill a favorite toy with a bit of naughty catnip and watch the elegant slinky fun ensue.
  4. Get your kitty a shiny new collar with a fancy name tag – even if you can’t take them for a walk, they will appreciate the thought.


At VIP pets, we would love to see how you and your pet celebrate International Cat Day – share your favorite furry cat photos with us by tagging us at @vippetslove.  


Shelters and Fosters

What is the Difference between Shelters and Fosters?


For many unwanted and displaced animals, an animal shelter can mean the difference between life and death. Animal shelters are typically funded by local government and offer a safe reprieve for rescued strays. However, a shelter isn’t the only viable option for an unwanted pet. Shelters often have limited space and rely on the kindness of animal lovers who wish to provide a foster environment for homeless creatures.


Like shelters, fosters provide a haven for animals, offering food and time to heal before being placed up for adoption. Unlike shelters, fosters are self-funded and partner with the local shelters to provide care for an animal. This partnership frees up space at the shelter for additional animals in need.


A foster environment typically involves a person or family who volunteers to care for an animal in their home for a short or definite period, whereas a shelter will often keep the animal as long as possible, or until it can be re-established with a family.  


Since many shelters operate predominately on donations, they rely heavily on the time and resources provided by volunteers; it’s crucial to give what you can to keep shelters in operation. Here are a few ways you can help:


  1. Donate – You don’t have to donate money (although cash donations are appreciated). One may donate pet supplies to include food, as well as equipment such as bowls, leashes, beds, and toys. Also, volunteers can donate their time to assist with cleaning, animal care and administrative duties.


  1. Fundraise. Consider holding a fundraiser at the local dog park or school to honor our furry friends and the shelters who help them.     


The key is to take action sooner rather than later, as thousands of homeless animals are in dire need of homes. With a bit of creativity, you can do your part to ease the homeless animal crisis.


Dehydration & Pets

By Cate Burnette


When Texas summers get as hot as they normally do, all pet parents need to watch out for our dogs and cats becoming dehydrated from a lack of body water. Dehydration occurs when the total body water is less than normal and involves loss of both water and electrolytes (minerals such as sodium, chloride and potassium).

When there is not enough body water, fluid shifts out of the body cells to compensate, leaving the cells deficient in necessary water. This leads to dehydration. The severity of the dehydration is based on the magnitude of these body water shifts. Pets normally lose fluid through breathing, panting, urinating and defecating and those fluids must be restored regularly to maintain optimum health.


Causes and Symptoms of Dehydration

There are a number of ways your dog or cat can become dehydrated. Your pet may not be eating or drinking enough to take in appropriate amounts of water. Dehydration can cause the loss of appetite and, in a frustrating cycle, your animal loses even more body water when she won’t eat or drink. Illnesses that cause bouts of frequent vomiting or diarrhea and/or high fevers can result in your pet becoming dehydrated. Any dog or cat that is overheated may also be suffering from dehydration.

So what are some of the symptoms that you need to watch for?

There are basically 3 levels of clinical dehydration, with the final levels being the most serious.

Beginning Signs

  • Excessive panting and warm skin
  • Dry mouth, nose and gums
  • Visibly tired, less animated
  • Sunken eyes, lack of moisture

Intermediate Signs

  • Loss of skin elasticity – If a gentle pinch of shoulder or neck skin doesn’t immediately pop back into place, your pet is probably dehydrated. As the tissue under the skin loses moisture, the skin moves back more slowly. In extreme cases, the skin doesn’t pop back at all.
  • Delayed Capillary Refill Time (CRT) – Place your thumb or index finger firmly against your pet’s gums so that they whiten. Remove your finger and count how many seconds it takes for the gums to become pink. Any time longer than 2 seconds is a sign of dehydration and/or other illness.
  • Rectal temperature greater than 105º F

Final Signs

  • Your pet is wobbly and unsteady on her feet
  • You notice hind end weakness


How to Prevent Dehydration

Maintaining a constant body fluid level is as important in animals as it is in humans. The Humane Society of the United States issues these tips for keeping your pet hydrated in even the warmest weather.

  • Leave several bowls of water around the house so that your cats and dogs get enough to drink.
  • If you notice your pet hasn’t had a drink in a while, start by allowing her to have a few sips of water every few minutes. Overdrinking can easily lead to nausea and vomiting and losing even more fluids that she needs.
  • After strenuous exercise, monitor the amount of water your dog drinks and don’t allow overdrinking.
  • Take a collapsible bowl and plenty of cool water with you when you’re exercising or playing outside with your pet. Allow plenty of down time (especially on hot days) and find a place for shade so your pet can cool down.
  • If your dog or cat is outside for any length of time, ensure there are bowls of clean, cool water available for drinking.


What can I do if I suspect my pet is dehydrated?

  • Give an electrolyte (such as Gatorade®) mixed with water if your pet is showing the early signs of dehydration. While water helps in replenishing a lot of nutrients, electrolytes can do the job more quickly.
  • Animals who have gone a long time without drinking water may have a hard time holding it down. Allow your dog or cat to lick ice. She’ll rehydrate herself as the ice melts.


  • If your pet refuses to drink for any extended period of time, see your veterinarian immediately!


Veterinary Treatment of Dehydration

The veterinary care for moderately and severely dehydrated pets revolves around the administration of supplemental fluids. Typically, fluids are given either subcutaneously (SQ) under the first layer of skin or intravenously (IV) through a vein. The latter requires hospitalization and the insertion of an intravenous catheter. Your vet can determine the amount of fluids to be given and the route of administration in the best interests of your pet.



Cate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.