Five Resources Help Metro Pet Owners

Paws on Grand

Jaimee Hendrickson, Program Director of the Grand Avenue Business Association, shares, “I bring my yellow lab, Max. He loves Grand Avenue, especially during Paws on Grand, when he gets to fill up on treats, and check out all the other animals. He’s a fan of the doggie pool at Grand and Victoria, where he can splash around and cool off!”

According to Hendrickson, Paws on Grand, which takes place August 1, Noon-4PM, began five years ago in partnership with the Humane Society for Companion Animals (now the Animal Humane Society) as a day to shop, dine, and enjoy Grand Avenue with one’s pets, while creating awareness about pet adoption, rescue, education/outreach, and services. In all, 12 local rescue groups are involved.

The event’s pet food collection partners with The Pet Project, a local nonprofit that assists owners struggling keep their pets by providing pet food, basic supplies, connections to veterinary care, and information on pet-friendly housing. Many businesses are supporting the effort by collecting unopened bags (aiming for 5,000 pounds) of pet food slated for area food shelves. Participants can “shop for a cause” at several businesses, with funds going to The Pet Project for veterinary bills, or they can drop off unopened food July 19-August 1.

Pet adoptions will be available at Frattallone’s Ace Hardware, 1676 Grand Avenue, St. Paul. Rescue groups will offer information about adoption and fostering.

Hendrickson adds, “We also have a new Pet Picks Contest presented by Minneapolis Picks, where owners can enter a photo of their pet to become the Paws on Grand 2011 Poster Pet.”

For more information, visit

Now Boarding Pets

So, you’ve got to be in Atlanta tomorrow–what about Beauregard, your Irish Wolfhound?

Fortunately, Beauregard’s immunization papers are in order, and a call to Now Boarding Pets books him into one of 96 private dog suites. While you toil in the boardroom, he will enjoy pool time, playtime, and Frosty Paws ice cream treats.

Now Boarding also offers 34 cat condos, a cat atrium, and a critter room.

General Manager Lisa Hinickle notes, “The critter room is the area of our facility where we can board 15 small animals: birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. It is temperature-controlled, so that we can provide additional warmth and plenty of natural sunlight.”

Hinickle adds, “We’ll accept any companion pet, as long as our staff have the expertise to care for it—even Phaedron, a Monitor lizard. These animals take some extra and different types of care, but we have a knowledgeable staff, and are able to accept these pets, too.”

Problem: your pup’s hyperactive.

Solution: doggy day care.

Hinickle explains, “We offer this activity seven days a week, or as an added activity to a boarding stay. Dogs have access to a 4,000-square-feet outside area covered in an artificial K9 grass, with pools and water spritzers.”

Sweltering in Atlanta, you’ll envy Beauregard.

Profits from Now Boarding support any and all programs of the Animal Humane Society.

Now Boarding, 6002 28th Avenue South, St. Paul, is adjacent to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

For more information, visit

The Wildcat Sanctuary

Christine Dietsche, Program Coordinator of The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) in Sandstone, Minnesota, relates, “I remember sighting a pair of blue herons flying overhead, and then noticing that Titan the Tiger had spotted them as well, and was calmly watching their flight. This simple moment underlines how interconnected we are with nature and other living things.”

TWS is not a zoo, nor is it open to the public. It is a nonprofit, no-kill refuge where rescued wildcats—native cats that cannot be returned to the wild—live out their lives in peace. TWS does not buy, breed, trade, or sell animals.

“Cats” includes big—lions, tigers, and leopards; medium—bobcats, servals, and Siberian and Canadian lynx; and small—Jungle cats, Geoffreys cats, and hybrid Bengals/Savannahs/Chaussies.

TWS’s mission—“keep the wild in your heart, and not your home”—applies not only to big cats, but also to these wild/domestic crosses. Briefly, hybrids—Bengal, for example is an Asian Leopard Cat /domestic cross—are touted as having the wild look but the personality of a domestic. Unfortunately genetics isn’t this neat. These cats, which have inbred, debilitating physical problems, cannot be litter-box-trained reliably. The TWS website offers heart-breaking testimonials from ex-owners.

TWS Director Tammy Thies points out, “We’re a 100-animal facility, always at capacity. We turn away about 300 cats per year, given budget/facility limitations. That’s why we spend a lot of time on education and advocacy to end the private breeding and exhibiting of these animals. About 60 percent were privately owned by individuals who got in over their head; 30 percent come from seizures due to cruelty and neglect; 10 percent are native, nonreleasable wildlife.”

Asking people to support an organization not open to the public is difficult, but TWS has a strong-rooted belief that animals should not be used for commercial, entertainment, or amusement purposes.

At TWS, all cats have spacious enclosures with room to run and play, as well as perches, pools, and toys for stimulation. They are fed fresh meat on a daily basis. They are vaccinated annually, and have onsite veterinary care.

Building an enclosure runs $7,000 to $25,000; temperature-controlled dens cost $520; and the winter monthly electricity bill exceeds $1,000.

Rachelle Wood, TWS Volunteer and Board Member—who lives with, in her words, “five kitties and one beautiful partner”—remarks, “We come to the sanctuary for one purpose: to help the cats have a better life. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight. Animals don’t care who you are or how you live your life. They see your soul.”

For more information, visit

Pins for Pets

Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet is sponsoring its third annual Pins for Pets on August 15. Lavender spoke with Dana Andresen, Director of Operations, about the event, which funds spaying and neutering of pets.

Your motto is “Bowl for the Fix.” How did Chuck & Don’s become involved?

Through our animal welfare ties, we had sponsored a bowling event facilitated by the Humane Society for Companion Animals [HSCA]. When that was discontinued, we decided to try our hand at an annual event that would help to fund spay and neuter initiatives in Minnesota. Our goal this year is to fill Flaherty’s Arden Bowl with 216 bowlers, and to surpass $50,000 in donations. With the current funds raised this year, Minnesota Spay Neuter Assistance Program [MN SNAP] will be able to sterilize approximately 511 owned pets.

Exactly how do you help folks get their pets neutered?

Due to the laws in Minnesota, it is difficult to find low-cost spay and neuter services. Through these types of fundraisers, people having difficulty affording these surgeries have access to low-cost or completely subsidized spay and neuter surgery.

Are people becoming aware and concerned about the issue of pet sterilization?

You hit on a very important component to reducing pet overpopulation: education. We don’t advocate that every pet owner sterilize their pet. What we advocate is responsible pet ownership. This fundraiser is one of the avenues to fund spay and neuter services to the underserved pet-owner communities in Minnesota.

Bowling sounds convivial!

The atmosphere is excitement! It is an opportunity to meet “The Chuck Anderson” of Chuck & Don’s, to see Katie K-9 broadcast live, and to meet Ian Punnett of MyTalk 107.1FM. The participants have a fabulous time—winning door prizes, having a late lunch, visiting with other pet lovers, and just having fun!

For more information, visit

College of Veterinary Medicine

Clinical veterinary work first began at the University of Minnesota in 1888 with the appointment of the institution’s first veterinarian, Michael Treacy. For the next 60 years, veterinary medicine was taught and practiced as part of the School of Agriculture curriculum, until, in 1947, the School of Veterinary Medicine was established, later reorganized into the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

Especially important today are CVM’s research programs, involving many of its nationally and internationally recognized faculty. Areas of particular research strength include infectious disease, genomics, comparative medicine, public health, and epidemiology—plus dairy, swine, and avian medicine—also carried out in the St. Paul Raptor Center and Leatherdale Equine Center.

CVM Chief Development Officer Bill Venne says that in addition to maintaining working relations with both the Minnesota Zoo and Como Zoo, “We have treated all types of animals, including production animals—pigs, cows, chickens; domestic animals—cats and dogs; and zoo animals, including giraffes and raptors, through our Raptor Center.”

Venne, who adds that animal research is aimed toward improving the health and well-being of both animals and humans, notes, “Research with dogs is an important area of CVM’s cancer studies.”

A case in point was Batman, a Belgian shepherd mix diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor, that was brought to the attention of John Ohlfest, PhD, and Elizabeth Pluhar, CVM surgeon, both members of the University’s Masonic Cancer Center. They merged her surgeon’s skills and his knowledge of molecular biology and immunology necessary to administer gene and immune therapy. Outcome? Batman is back home—tumor-free since last August—and the doctors gained valuable insights on transferring their findings to human patients.

Venne stresses that one of the most rewarding things at CVM “is the tie we have with our animal friends—whether it is helping our own pets to become healthier, or the wildlife such as eagles and owls that are treated at the Raptor Center. We share this planet with them, and we need to keep them healthy. Also, it is very rewarding to see how much joy animals give people.”

Research continually is progressing, according to CVM Communication Director Brian Graves Sr.: “We recently were awarded part of a $185 million USAID grant as part of a multidisciplinary team that will include Tufts University [Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts]. The project, called RESPOND, is one of five that will work together to preempt or combat the first stages of emerging zoonotic pandemics—diseases that can spread between animals and humans.”

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