6 Ways to Give Back During Be Kind to Animals Week

May 4th kicks off Be Kind to Animals Week! In addition to being extra kind to the animals in our lives (maybe an extra treat or two?) – it’s a perfect opportunity to do something kind for animals that don’t have families of their own.

Here are six ideas to get you started:

Donate 

Donating is the easiest way to celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week. If you are passionate about animals but don’t have the time, donate to your favorite animal loving charity that will put your dollars to good use.

Adopt 

Are you an animal lover at heart but never had your own pet? Take Be Kind to Animals Week as an opportunity to adopt a shelter pet. There are always pets in need of a furever home, and the kindest thing you can do is share yours.

Foster 

Can’t commit to a specific animal long-term? How about short-term fostering? There are many shelters that run out of space but still need to give animals temporary homes. Fostering is a great way to be kind to animals without making a long-term commitment.

Volunteer 

Love animals but can’t adopt or foster in your home? Consider volunteering your time at a local shelter. They always need the help, and you could give your love to an animal who desperately needs it.

Knit

Many animals are in need of blankets. A few years ago, there was a big demand for knitted sweaters to keep penguins who’d been the victims of oil spills warm. If you’ve got the skill, consider knitting clothes for animals who can’t stay warm alone.

Be Kind 

Keep in mind that being kind is the only thing you have to do. Whether you have a pet, love animals from afar, or know someone who works with animals, there are many ways to show your kindness to the most vulnerable in our society. Be kind and you’ll get it back tenfold.

Keep the kindness going with a VIP Pet Sitter. We’ll keep your animals happy when you’re away from home. Contact us to learn more.

International Guide Dog Day – April 29th, 2015

International Guide Dog Day takes place every year on the last Wednesday in April. It is a day that celebrates guide dogs and their vital position in assisting people who are visually impaired by keeping them safe while allowing them to have independence. This year, International Guide Dog Day takes place on the 29th of April.

Guide Dogs of Texas is a non-profit organization whose mission is to create freedom, mobility, and independence for blind and visually impaired Texans. Puppies are born at the facility through their in-house breeding program. Volunteers assist the breeding program by being Brood and Stud Holder volunteers, and Puppy Development volunteers.

These volunteers are much-needed in San Antonio and the surrounding area. Once training begins, it takes an average of two years to get a guide dog ready for service. Guide Dogs of Texas follow each guide dog team for as long as they are together.

Without volunteers, Guide Dogs of Texas would not be able to exist. There are many ways to volunteer such as on campus, in the community by being an ambassador, helping clients, and being a puppy raiser just to name a few. If you are unable to volunteer, donations are always accepted. There is a wish list on their website as well.

VIP Pet Services offers many services for your pet care needs from pet sitting to dog walking. We can even help with overnight care.  Contact us today to see how we can help take care of your fur baby.

Bulldogs are Beautiful Day 2015

Tuesday, April 21st marked National Bulldogs are Beautiful Day 2015. Jackie Valent created Bulldogs are Beautiful Day on April 18, 2007. “I hope that ‘National Bulldogs are Beautiful Day’ teaches us to embrace differences in people. If people see beyond the looks and aggressive ancestry of a bulldog, they can certainly look within and challenge themselves to accept their neighbors of a different race, gender, appearance, lifestyle, physical ability, national origin or religion” said Jackie. She is the owner of a bulldog named Stinky, which she also wrote a children’s book about…Stinky the Bulldog.

Bulldogs are very popular among celebrities. Listed below are some celebrities and their past/present bulldog(s):

  • Adam Sandler and “Meatball”
  • Hugh Jackman and “Dali”
  • Brad Pitt and “Jacques”
  • Leonardo Di Caprio and “DJango”
  • Miley Cyrus and “Ziggy”
  • Pink and “Elvis”
  • Joe Jonas and “Winston”
  • Olivia Wilde and “Lola”
  • Lady Gaga and “Asia”
  • John Legend & Christy Teigen and “Puddy & Pippa”

Bulldogs have also graced The White House. President Warren G. Harding was the first president to own a bulldog, named “Old Boy”, in The White House. Calvin Coolidge also owned one named “Boston Beans”.

There are many Universities that have bulldogs as their mascots. A few of them are listed below:

  • University of Georgia
  • Yale University
  • Gonzaga University
  • South Carolina State University
  • Butler University
  • Georgetown University
  • Alabama A & M University

Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. What’s not to love about this sweet and gentle character. Contact us today and let us help take care of your bulldogs, or any other pets you may have!

Beautiful couple cuddling and walking dogs outdoors in park

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month


Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

There are many reasons to celebrate the month of April, but none more important than the great strides made in the prevention of animal cruelty and neglect. April is officially the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. As a perfect compliment, April 11th is National Pet Day, established several years ago to help bring an end to the overpopulation of unwanted pets in the United States.

The ASPCA has been fighting animal cruelty in the United States since 1866. In our great state of Texas, animal cruelty, abuse and neglect are felonies. Dallas Animal Services enforces state statutes as well as city laws prohibiting animal abuse and abandonment.

What You Can Do

If you suspect animal neglect, please report it to 3-1-1 and if you witness animal cruelty, call 9-1-1. Please take part in this month-long celebration of the victories in the fight against animal cruelty and make sure to extend your efforts year-round. How are you going to help spread the word that animals deserve love and respect?

We have five suggestions on ways you can help.

1. Set a good example by adopting your next pet from a shelter, having all of your pets spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and teaching your dogs how to be Canine Good Citizens.

2. Become acquainted with your local animal services organizations before you may need them. In an emergency, you won’t want to waste any time trying to figure out who to contact.

3. Support your local humane society through donations of money, supplies or your time. Your local shelter would probably love to have you as a volunteer! Brighten the lives of shelter animals who haven’t found their forever homes yet by walking, playing, grooming or cuddling them.

4. Teach your children to love and respect animals. A volunteer job working with animals not only helps the animals but will also help your child develop into a better citizen and possibly guide their future career choice! Educate them on what Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month really means and how to detect and prevent abuse.

5. Be a guardian angel for the helpless animals you meet. Besides active abuse such as someone beating or torturing an animal, watch out for animals which are being neglected. These may include animals left chained outside without proper shelter; animals with filthy, matted coats; emaciated animals or animals left in vehicles in hot weather. Shade and adequate water are particularly important during our hot Texas summers.

These are just a few of the ways you can help spread the word to end animal cruelty. Contact us for all of your animal care needs and don’t forget to give extra snuggles on April 11th for National Pet Day!

VIP’s Favorite Pet Charities and the Spirit of Giving

At VIP Pet Services, we love supporting wonderful organizations that have made it their life purpose to help people and pets in need. We proudly contribute throughout the year to pet charities by sponsoring events, donating cash and volunteering our time. A unique way our sitters participate is by tracking their dog walks with Wooftrax’s Walk for a Dog app. This company donates to the shelter of their choice for every mile walked.

During this special “giving season,” we are thrilled to be giving back with the contribution of a cash donation to each of the causes below, in hopes that it makes someone’s holiday season a little brighter.

 

1. Pets of the Homeless

A nonprofit organization that provides pet food and emergency veterinary care to the homeless in local communities across the United States and Canada. Over 11,500 pets of the homeless have been successfully vaccinated and/or treated for illness or injuries, many were spayed or neutered. Over 330 tons of pet food and supplies have been dispersed to the homeless and disadvantaged who own pets. There are several collection sites in Dallas and Austin for people to drop off food.

 

2. Austin Pets Alive!

February 2014 marked three years of Austin’s no kill status. Austin Pets Alive! has played a critical role in achieving this status by developing innovative and comprehensive programs that serve key demographics of animals typically euthanized in a shelter setting. Austin Pets Alive! has saved more than 25,000 cats and dogs from euthanasia and the numbers continue to rise. They are sponsoring a “Home for the Holidays” program asking people to foster a pet during the holiday season.

 

3. Dallas Pets Alive!

The Dallas Pets Alive! no-kill/rescue organization is completely run by volunteers. All pets are housed by dedicated foster families throughout the metroplex. DPA! is currently focused on helping the healthy and treatable pets who are at risk of being killed in the Dallas Animal Services, by rescuing those that are at the greatest risk and helping owners with problems so great that they need to surrender their pet(s) to a shelter. In the DPA! rescue program, they do not duplicate work of other agencies. DPA! focus primarily on the pets who have already been passed over by other groups and the Dallas Animal Services’ adoption programs.

 

4. Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter

Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter (WCRAS) is celebrating three years of being a no-kill, open-admission shelter. Since December 2010, WCRAS has reached a save rate of 90% and above. Last year they achieved a 94% save rate! Because of the shelter’s efforts, almost 19,000 cats and dogs have found their way home. Proud sponsors of the annual Walk, Woof & Wrun 5K which raised over $9,000 to help the sick and injured animals of WCRAS. Special love for this shelter as they are located in Robin’s home town of Georgetown!

 

5. I Once Was Lost Animal Advocacy

Founded by Adette Quintana and David Soliz, Austin-based IOWL is a 501c3 Animal Advocacy dedicated to helping homeless pets and advocating for proper pet nutrition and care. Adette is the former owner of the pet-sitting business Adette’s Ark, whose clients are now a part of the VIP Pets Austin family. She also started the Chuckling Hound Ranch Luxury Pet Resort, where one room is dedicated solely to rescue dogs in need of a foster home and rehabilitation.

 

6. Operation Kindness

Headquartered in Carrollton, Operation Kindness is the original and largest no-kill shelter in North Texas. They have saved more than 75,000 animals over almost 40 years. They care for approximately 300 animals on a day-to-day basis, with another 100 animals in foster homes. More than 3,000 dogs and cats are assisted by Operation Kindness each year. The host of many fundraising events throughout the year including the Holiday Pet Adoption happening now at the Galleria Dallas.

In addition to the organizations VIP champions, VIP Sitters also give back to the community in their own unique ways and we are so proud of them! Four of our rockstar sitters and the organizations they support include:

 

7. Equest- VIP Sitter Lynne K.

“I am a huge supporter of an organization that provides therapeutic riding, carriage riding and hippotherapy to adults and children with emotional, physical, and developmental delays. There are approximately 40 horses and 4 minis that provide therapeutic services. They also have a special veterans program for veterans returning home suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or who have suddenly become disabled after serving overseas. If anyone is interested in contributing gift cards, cash or shampoo (I am sponsoring their shampoo for the whole year of 2015) , I would be happy to meet anytime, anywhere to collect donations and get them to Equest.”

 

8. Dogs On Deployment – VIP Sitter Marhiah M.

“My Marine is coming home for Christmas and New Years, but some are just getting deployed again. For the military members having to leave their pets behind, here’s an option to keep them safe and sound. Please let military members know they can contact DOD for assistance locating a foster home while they are deployed. Thousands of people across the country have already signed up and are ready to offer a hand. They don’t take their dog to a shelter without contacting Dogs On Deployment. Just a cool piece of information.”

9. Open Table – VIP Sitter Ann G.

“I serve as the Director for Open Table through our church. The purpose of Open Table is to help establish a brother or sister back into society. It can be anyone who is recovering from drugs or alcohol, or down on their luck and homeless, or struggling with divorce and abuse. It is a year long commitment and involves weekly meetings. I don’t believe that Open Table is labeled as a charity but it is a wonderful program – the return is more than rewarding. And believe it or not you learn a great deal about yourself!!”

 

10. Habitat 4 Paws – VIP Sitter JoAnn D.

“I volunteer with Habitat 4 Paws, a local dog rescue organization. I served as a board member for two years also, coordinating their volunteers. “ Habitat 4 Paws is an animal rescue group in the DFW area whose mission is to rescue and find permanent homes for dogs and cats while caring for them in a volunteer staffed adoption facility and foster program. H4P’s goal is to acquire and operate an adoption facility in the Frisco or nearby area and to invite community participation in ways that will benefit rescued animals.

homemade pet treat

Homemade Pet Treat Recipes for Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! It is a time of family, friends and giving thanks for the great many blessings in life. One popular way to show our love and appreciation for our furry friends is by baking (or making) homemade pet treats.

Type ‘dog treat recipes’ into any search engine and you will be presented with MILLIONS of results. Plus, there are almost as many links for ‘cat treat recipes’ out there as well! So where to start? Below you’ll find links to 5 of the most popular recipes online today.

First, there are some things to consider regarding pets and preparing for your Thanksgiving feast. In addition to turkey, dogs enjoy pumpkin, sweet potatoes, green beans, gravy and even a little cranberry sauce. So sharing a few leftovers from your table will be gratefully received! However, do not let your dog or cat consume the following:

  • Yeast Dough – it can expand in the stomach to cause gastric upset and other issues
  • Alcohol, Coffee, and Chocolate
  • Macadamia Nuts and Nutmeg
  • Avocado and Onion
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Fatty Foods – too much of a good thing can lead to pancreatitis in some animals
  • Sage – is a common ingredient for thanksgiving dishes but large amounts can cause stomach upset and central nervous system depression

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