Welcome to Pawsington Post, a new and exciting feature to Discover Muscatine! What started out as a way to help animals from the Muscatine Humane Society find their furever home, has turned in a monthly half page of information to help keep your pet happy and healthy. We hope you will enjoy this feature and help grow the bond between you and your companion animal.
You can expect some expert advice from local veterinarians, trainers, animal business owners, and maybe your neighbor who has a passion for a certain type of critter. As the months go by, the page may evolve as you, the readers, provide feedback.
My name is Beth Van Zandt. I have had dogs all my life, along with a couple parrots. I know that doesn’t qualify me as an expert, but, after nearly 30 years as a photojournalist, you could say my life went to the dogs (and cats). In 2017, I began fostering companion animals for our local domestic violence and homeless shelters, which are overseen by the Muscatine Center for Social Action. In March 2018, I became the co-owner of Happy Tails Pet Resort and Kennel with my friend Peggy Gordon. We offer boarding and dog daycare. In September 2018, with the help of my church, High Prairie Methodist Church, Kent Corporation, and donations from the community, I started a monthly pet food pantry. I am happy to say all three are still up and running. Through a private donor, we recently purchased a small, used shuttle bus to make our pet food pantry mobile and able to help more people.
The comment I get the most is why should people have pets if they can’t take care of them? Well, there are a couple reasons. A pet gives unconditional love, every day, all the time. Why did I start a pet food pantry? For that elderly person who might have to choose between food for themselves or for their pet. That pet is the family who never comes to visit. It is their friend. Why did I start a fostering program for our shelters? For that victim of domestic violence who is too scared leave because the abuser threatens harm to their pet if they leave. Again, they give unconditional love. Now they can leave knowing their companion animal will be taken care of. For a child who had to give up their toys, room, and is now living in the shelter with their family, they don’t have to give up their pet. Once the family is back on stable ground, the pet goes back to them. The joy to see that child get their pet back makes it all worth it.