Resident Pets.

My dog Grizzly is a GIANT black lab mix that weighs about 90 pounds. She is 3 years old and very playful. Her favorite things to do are chase birds and squirrels in the backyard and take trips to the dog park. She always makes new friends.

What’s the funniest or most embarrassing thing you’ve experienced with an animal?

I have the hardest time getting people to call my dog a girl. Everyone who meets her, even multiple times, calls her a boy. I even bought her the brightest pink collar and a big pink bow to go along with it. It didn’t help. Now, I just let people think that she’s a boy. Sorry, Grizzly. 🙂

What is your ultimate goal in life?

It is my passion to help animals in any way that I can. In the future, I hope to be involved in an animal rescue organization and own as many animals that I can. I am working towards becoming a teacher and I hope to spread awareness about animals, and how we can help them to future generations to come.


Resident Pets.

I have a 7 year old male grey tabby, domestic shorthair cat named Ozzaru. Ozzaru loves people, but can feel competitive around other animals. He loves to have the place all to himself and his human. He can be very bossy with his pet sitters. I’ve heard that he will greet the sitter at the door, then brush against his sitter’s leg and lead his sitter to his food bowl.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing you’ve experienced with an animal.

One day in high school I had a horse on cross ties with his halter’s throat latch undone.  He wiggled his head one way, realized his halter was about to slip over his ears, then kept wiggling until the halter was off his head.  He gave me a surprised look “Yay I’m free!” then scampered off, through the human door of the barn, and trotted around the property for a good half hour while I attempted to catch him.  The funniest part was the look on his face when he realized he was loose.

What is your ultimate goal in life?

I  hope to continue working with animals and provide the best care for my own cat through his geriatric years.


Resident Pets.

My largest and most cuddly pet is my Staffordshire Terrier, Tank. He has taught me so much about not judging people or pets by their size or looks, and how to unconditionally love. He’s the biggest baby ever despite his size and loves being around smaller dogs. I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today without my dog. I also own and love 5 Leopard Geckos, a King Snake, and a pretty ridiculous amount of fish, with more to come. I love animals of all types and sizes.

What’s the funniest or most embarrassing thing you’ve experienced with an animal?

I would have to say one of the funniest/most embarrassing moments I’ve had as an animal owner would have to be while attempting to fill my aquarium with water I did not notice the end of the hose was capped. Needless to say, when I turned the hose on it popped and flew around spraying water all over my living room while Tank danced around thinking it was raining indoors. Thankfully no damage was done and my floors got a free cleaning that day!

What is your ultimate goal in life?

My ultimate goal in life is to be able to work closely with the animals I love the most and be able to teach others about animals and their behaviors/care. Being a curator at a well-known aquarium has been a dream of mine since I was a kid.


Resident Pets

My animals are Shadow (7 yr old black lab mix), Squeeze (20 yr old hospice kitty), Hinkley (17 yr old kitty), Parker (15 yr old kitty). My animals are my best friends. It is my job to make them the happiest babies for as long as I possibly can!

What’s the funniest or most embarrassing thing you’ve experience with an animal?

My funniest experience was while I was working as a veterinary technician. I was assisting in restraint for a great Dane that needed his nails trimmed. Unfortunately, he didn’t care to have his nails trimmed, so he picked me right up and started to run out with me on his back, me hollering the whole way!

What is your ultimate goal in life?

My goal in life is to be happy and healthy.

Megan C.

Resident pets.

I currently don’t have any, though I look forward to getting a cat in the future. I did leave two cats with my parents: Misty and Smut. Misty is the oldest one; she’s timid and soft-hearted, preferring to stay out of trouble. She’ll often enter a room slowly and cautiously and tends to jump at the littlest noises. I’ve had her for her whole life, so I know this is just a nervous trait rather than anything traumatic happening. Smut’s definitely a leader, very much in charge and letting everyone, both Misty and her humans, know it. She hogs the food, so even though I’ve given my parents advice on how to fix it, she’s still become very fat and is quite happy with this. Misty was adopted from a factory cat who had kittens, while Smut was rescued from the side of a country road.

What can we learn from our animal friends?

Compassion, empathy, patience, how to take care of a life that isn’t our own.

What is the best part about being a pet sitter?

Getting to know the people who have these pets as their friends, and the animals as well! Plus, I love to take care of animals.

What is your ultimate goal in life?

To travel to at least one place outside of the USA.

April 11th Is National Pet Day!


National Pet Day is just around the corner. Our pets provide us with love, companionship, entertainment, and more. National Pet Day is the perfect opportunity to return the favor.

We’d love to hear how you pamper your pets and show them how much you appreciate them on their special day. Do you have a romp in the park planned – maybe even a picnic? Planning to whip up a batch of homemade dog treats or buy your puppy his own vanilla ice cream cone? Maybe you’ll buy a new scratching post for your cat or a fancy new collar for your pup! There are so many ways to give back to our pets, and we want to hear your picks.  

National Pet Day is the perfect time to remember all those pets in shelters across the country who desperately need new forever homes. Adopting a new pet is the perfect way to celebrate our special relationship with animals. When you adopt a pet from a no-kill shelter, you support humane practices and help save lives!

Of course, however you decide to celebrate with your pal, don’t forget to take lots of pictures to commemorate the fun. Whether you’re a client or a sitter with VIP Pet Services, you’re invited to post your photos here showing us the special ways you spoil your pet on National Pet Day. Be sure to tag VIP! We can’t wait to see the creative, sweet, funny, and awesome ways you honor your favorite furry (or feathered) friends.

April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month

By: Cate Burnett

Ticks and Canine Lyme Disease – What To Watch For With Our Pets

According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, 5686 dogs out of 34,545 tested positive for tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis, in the state of Texas in 2015. As of this publication date in 2016, 754 dogs have already shown as positive. With warmer weather now upon us, the tick population in the southern US is expanding. This increases the chances of our canine companions contracting these deadly diseases.

Because April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month, we want to place the focus on this chronic and painful disease and discuss what we as pet parents can do to keep our dogs healthy and happy year round.

History of Lyme Disease and Geographical Regions

Veterinarians first diagnosed canine Lyme disease in Connecticut in 1975, although scientific evidence indicates that the ailment has existed in wildlife for a number of years. Recent DNA testing to preserved tissue from a mouse that died in 1894 shows that the mouse was infected with the disease.

Dogs throughout the US can by affected by Lyme disease; however, it is only prevalent in wooded and rural areas where there is a high concentration of ticks. Eighty-five percent of all cases occur in the eastern coastal states from Maine to Virginia. The Northern Plains states and the Mid-West (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan) account for the second highest incidence level of reported disease. The West Coast and the Southeastern states from Texas to Georgia and the Floridian peninsula rank next.

The reported increase of Lyme disease in the 20th Century is thought to be due to certain environmental factors. Prior to 1900, areas of this country were heavily settled and deforested, reducing native deer populations and the deer ticks that carry Lyme disease. Now that many of those same areas are being re-planted and restored, the numbers of deer are increasing. This coupled with increased awareness and testing capabilities has led to the greatly increased reporting of the disease.

Transmission of Lyme Disease and Life Cycle of the Tick

Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a type of bacteria call a ‘spirochete’ for its spiral shape. The primary carriers of this bacterium are the Eastern black-legged tick (also called the deer tick) and the Western black-legged tick. Extremely small, ranging in size from a grain of sand to a sesame seed, black-legged ticks live in shady, moist ground and can be found clinging to tall grasses, brush, shrubs, and low-hanging tree branches. They can also be found in gardens and lawns at the edges of wooded areas where deer and mice, the ticks’ preferred hosts, flourish.

Just about this time of year in the spring, tick larvae begin to emerge from eggs that were laid in the fall. The larvae feeds on small woodland mammals like mice and, if the mouse is infected, the larva enters the tick’s body through its saliva. This infected larva grows until the following spring where it molts into an adult tick. The infected adult tick then feeds on a larger mammal – namely your dog or you – and passes the B. burgdorferi into the bloodstream.

For the tick to transmit the bacteria, it must be attached to its victim for about 48 hours. If the tick dies or is removed before that time, transmission of the bacteria does not occur. Even if the tick is attached for more than 48 hours, your dog may not contract the disease.

Infected dogs pose no risk of transmitting the Lyme disease to other canine or human members of the household. After a full meal (the allotted 48 hours), ticks detach and don’t feed again for several days. There is a risk from ticks that have not eaten fully and become detached in that they might seek out another mammal to feed and pass on the infection.

Symptoms of Canine Lyme Disease

The clinical signs of Lyme disease typically occur 2 to 5 months after a bite from an infected tick. Unlike humans, dogs do not develop the rash or circular red area commonly seen around the tick bite.

Your infected dog may present with…


•A high, persistent fever of between 103 and 105ºF

•Swollen lymph nodes

•Joint swelling and inflammation


•Loss of appetite

•Stiff walk with an arched back

•Touch sensitivity

•Breathing difficulties

Additionally, some dogs develop chronic, progressive kidney disease as a result of the Lyme disease. Because this consequence is extremely difficult to treat, most veterinarians will recommend running additional blood work on your affected dog to check for continuing renal function. Chronic cardiac problems and nervous disorders have also been seen in some pets diagnosed with Lyme disease.

The clinical signs of Lyme disease may be ongoing and chronic. Some dogs can be perfectly fine one day and showing symptoms the next. A proper diagnosis and long-term veterinary treatment are typically necessary to clear your dog of the organism and prevent a relapse.

All breeds of dogs are equally susceptible to Lyme disease, though dogs used for hunting or other outdoor sporting activities are at higher risk for exposure to ticks.


Lyme disease is usually diagnosed based on a medical history that includes the possibility of tick exposure, suspicious clinical signs, and results of diagnostic testing.

Several laboratory tests can identify the B. burgdorferi organism in blood or tissues. Additionally, a quantitative antibody test (QC6) can measure the level of antibodies in the bloodstream of your affected dog to determine whether treatment is recommended.

More commonly, veterinarians use an in-clinic SNAP test to check for all tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. Similar to the common heartworm test, this SNAP test is very accurate, uses only a tiny amount of blood and only takes a few minutes to show results.

Your veterinarian may recommend additional diagnostic tests if your dog shows signs that other organs may be affected by the bacteria causing the Lyme disease.

Treatment and Prognosis

Treatment of Lyme disease generally consists of administration of antibiotics and (if necessary) other medications to temporarily help control joint pain and other clinical signs. Doxycycline is the most common antibiotic that is prescribed for Lyme disease, but others are also available and effective.

Your dog will probably be treated as an outpatient unless other ailments relative to the Lyme disease (severe kidney and/or cardiac involvement) are detected.

Some dogs show dramatic improvement after only a few days of receiving antibiotics, but most veterinarians now recommend a 28- to 30-day course of treatment. Unfortunately, the antibiotic treatment does not always completely eliminate infection with B. burgdorferi bacteria. Relapses are not uncommon, so pet parents are advised to monitor their dogs carefully for signs of illness.

Protection from Lyme Disease

The best protection against Lyme disease is prevention. Prevention means:

•Give your pet a flea and tick preventative that can help ensure an infected tick that attaches itself dies before reaching the 48-hour mark, that time period necessary to transmit the disease. Be sure to discuss preventatives with your vet so they can recommend one that is suitable according to your dog’s risk.

•Keep your pets away from tall grass and wooded areas to decrease their exposure to ticks, thus decreasing the odds of getting bit.

•Vaccinations have been developed that help protect against Lyme disease. This is something you should discuss with your veterinarian to decide whether this method of prevention is right for you.

Please Note: If you suspect the tick found on your dog is a black-legged tick, save the tick in a sealed container of alcohol and take it, and your pet, directly to your veterinarian for diagnostic testing.

A quick diagnosis and early treatment can save your pet from a painful, and sometimes deadly, disease.



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.

5 Great Places to Buy Wedding Outfits for Dogs

Pup fashionistas unite! Now that you’ve made the decision to include your dog in your wedding, the next question is what is he or she going to wear?? Regardless of your pet’s role in your wedding, you will likely go beyond just the groomer donned bows and choose the perfect wedding outfit or bejeweled collar for your pet’s special appearance on your big day. At her Texas wedding to Blake Shelton, three of Miranda Lambert’s dogs, Cher, Delta and Delilah, walked down the aisle with one the bridesmaids. The dogs sported bandanas, flowers, rhinestone collars and leashes. From bowties to pearls, take a peek at these 5 great places to buy wedding outfits for dogs.

1. Always a fun place to shop for unique, creative items, you’ll find some handmade gems (pun intended) at Wedding Party Pets on Etsy.

2. Shopping for that adorable wedding outfit could not be easier and more fun these days. T-shirts with cute sayings abound at Zazzle Dog Wedding Gear …great selection!

3.  Doggie Clothesline Formal Wear is the place to go for the perfect wedding bowtie or hair bow for your pup. They even have dresses and tuxedos available for the true fashionista.

4. Poochie Heaven Dog Tuxedos and Dresses take wedding outfits for pets to a completely new level. True formal wear is available including traditional ties, shirt collar ties (yep, secures to their collar) and outfits to suit holiday-themed weddings – if you’re getting married over July 4th and need stars and stripes ideas, this is the place for you.

5. If bling is your thing then you can’t go wrong with Big Wag Wedding Dog CollarsFrom diamonds to pearls, you’ll find it at Big Wag.

But should it be a destination wedding you are preparing for, your best option may be to leave your pet at home. Oftentimes destination weddings involve crossing borders and that, in and of itself, can present a barrage of issues for you and your pup. If you are finding yourself torn between leaving your pet at home or taking him with you, let us help you make that decision the easiest one you will make throughout the entire wedding planning process! VIP Pet Services offers pet sitting that is second to none. Our vetted sitters will care for your pet as if their own and your mind can be set at ease.

And speaking of being at ease, you can also calendar us in to be there for your pet when you are away on your honeymoon. Your pet’s comfort and well-being is our number one priority while you are away. After all, the last thing you need to worry about while frolicking in the waves and basking in the sun on your honeymoon is whether or not your furry family member is being taken care of.

Pets in weddings. It’s the new norm. As Carrie Underwood put it: “[My dog] will be one of the ring bearers – he’s like my kid…[he] is such a big part of my life.” Involving your 4 legged family member in your wedding these days is nothing short of apropos…a modern day “furry tail” dream come true.

How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

Wedding. Friends. Family. And…pets? That’s right. It’s not just for the rich and famous any more. But thanks to some of today’s film and music celebrities, incorporating our 4-legged family into weddings has become the thing to do! In fact, it is not unusual to see newlyweds’ loving pups mingling amongst guests during cocktail hour and posing for pics before, during and after the big “I do’s”. Adam Sandler’s dog Meatball stayed throughout the entire reception and was just considered one of the guests! Let us show you exactly how to include your dog in your wedding.

From ring bearer to escorting the bride down the aisle, the furry family members (we are talking the 4 legged ones here) can be counted on to play any number of roles. Here are some ideas to get you started on ways your pet can take part in your big day. It is important to take a few things into consideration when planning the perfect dog-involved wedding. While having your pup walk down the aisle does sound adorable and is sure to get its fair share of “oohs” and “ahhs,” you need to be mindful of a few things when deciding what role your pet will play. Here are 10 tips to consider and keep in mind while planning your big day.

Once you have decided on the exact role(s) your pet will play in the wedding, it is time to think about who you will put in charge of caring for him/her on the day you say “I do.” Choosing someone to get your pup fed, walked, watered, transported and yes, dressed, is no small decision. That’s where we come in. Let VIP Pet Services take the reins (aka leash) so you don’t have to worry about your 4-legged baby between hair, makeup and champagne toasts. We offer Pet Taxi services to transport your pet to and from the wedding venue. We also offer Pet Sitting services to take special care of your pet leading up to the ceremony. This would include walking, watering, feeding and dressing your animal in any special outfit you may have chosen. We will even collect your pet after the ceremony if necessary so you can enjoy your reception without the worry of your little buddy running around and getting danced upon!

Tis’ the season for weddings and VIP Pet Services is ready to celebrate with you. Contact us today for all of your wedding needs!

Having a Dog-Friendly Memorial Day Weekend in Dallas and Austin


Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner! Have you made your plans yet? Whether you are looking for a family friendly event or something you can enjoy with your four-legged buddy, the options are many, so read on and start marking your calendar!

It is a beautiful time of year to be outside. So why not make a weekend of it and go camping with your dog? There are oodles of pet friendly campgrounds to choose from all over the beautiful state of Texas. Click here to see a map and comprehensive list of campgrounds and amenities offered.

Now, if your desire is to stick closer to home this Memorial Day weekend, have no fear! You will find there is hardly a lack of activities to choose from. Consider a BBQ from the comfort of your own backyard and invite your family, friends, neighbors and of course – your dog! Or, if you are looking to get out and about, check out our list of links that, with the click of your mouse, will lead you directly to information about events and festivals in the Dallas and Austin areas.


  • Roll up a blanket, pack a lunch, grab a frisbee and head on down to one of the many dog friendly Downtown Parks and Plazas.
  • Sure to be a hit this Memorial Day weekend are the dog friendly hiking trails. Just remember to take a lot of water for yourself, and your pup!
  • And as for getting around…why not take the family on a trolley ride?! It is FREE and completely pet friendly!
  • For a general list of pet friendly activities and events in Dallas, CLICK HERE.


  • A peninsula surrounded by water on three sides, Red Bud Isle provides a great place for pooches to socialize, swim, frolic and wear themselves down. Parking is at a premium, so bring your smaller vehicle.
  • Lady Bird Lake (a.k.a. Town Lake) is very pet friendly and people friendly too. The downtown area is so beautiful and hike & bike trails go for miles. Fido will love to run along Town Lake and chase the small paddle boats that float by.
  • If you want to beat the heat choose any one of these Austin watering holes. There are a few that may be a tiny bit of a drive, so it may be nice to take the fixins for a BBQ and even consider camping out for the night.
  • For a general list of pet friendly activities and events in Austin, CLICK HERE.


  • Be mindful that some Memorial Day events may end with a fireworks display. While we humans enjoy the crackling pops and bright and vibrant colors, our four legged friends may not share the sentiment.
  • Also, the weather will likely be quite warm this Memorial Day weekend so remember to take along plenty of water for you and your pet. Stay hydrated!
  • And last, but certainly of significant importance, whatever activity you do decide upon, be sure to double check the event website to confirm that activity is, indeed, pet-friendly.

For more tips and information on caring for your pet this Memorial Day weekend, click here to contact us.

However you decide to honor those who have lost their lives for our great freedoms on this Memorial Day, 2016, be safe and enjoy!