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Shelter dogs to chow down on ‘PUPsgiving’ meals

Updated November 25, 2020 - 3:01 pm

Some shelter dogs are wagging their tails a little harder this Thanksgiving.

Thanks to a donation drive by Barx Parx, an indoor dog park in Las Vegas, several dogs will feast on a meal filled with all of the holiday’s staples.

In early November, Barx Parx started a donation drive so shelter dogs could be treated to “PUPsgiving” meals, which include shredded chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes topped with dehydrated turkey and a mini “PUPkin” pie for dessert.

Barx Parx received over 100 donations to give $10 PUPsgiving meals to Henderson Animal Shelter and Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“The response was overwhelming,” said Jen Freet, owner of Barx Parx.

Around 40 dogs at Nevada SPCA and over 20 dogs at the Henderson Animal Shelter will receive PUPsgiving meals.

“For the dogs who don’t have a family or home, we feel like we’re giving them an extension of our families by providing them with a Thanksgiving meal,” said Amy Lee, communications manager at Nevada SPCA.

Most dogs that end up in Nevada SPCA are surrendered by owners — people unable to take care of their pets because they’re moving, facing financial challenges or have allergies. The Henderson Animal Shelter mainly carries stray holds, dogs on legal holds, and owner surrenders.

“Receiving donations like this rejuvenates our shelter staff and animal control officers,” said Danielle Harney, animal control administrator at Henderson Animal Shelter. “It feels good knowing members of our community care about the animals and the work we’re doing matters to them.”

Freet’s idea to create meals for dogs flourished two years ago when she began cooking meals at home for Barx Parx’s boarding dogs. She said 2019 was the first year she offered her home-cooked meals to people and their dogs to enjoy at home.

“It exploded,” Freet said. “The members at Barx Parx and their dogs wanted more.”

After the positive response, Freet decided to take it up a notch by creating PUPsgiving meals for Thanksgiving this year.

Freet said deep freezers and slow cookers have become her best friends since she started making the dog meals.

Before opening Barx Parx, Freet volunteered at the Henderson Animal Shelter.

“Shelter dogs hold a special place in my heart. I fully believe, just like humans, dogs are the same way. We all have our own quirks, and we’re all kind of waiting to find our own tribe,” Freet said. “It means a lot to me that these dogs are being cared for.”

Over 100 PUPsgiving meals were dropped off on Wednesday at Henderson Animal Shelter and Nevada SPCA and will be fed to the shelter dogs on Thanksgiving morning.

Freet said extra meals will be fed to cats at the shelters and given away throughout Thanksgiving weekend. Some meals will go into the freezer and be saved for Christmas. A portion of the proceeds are going back to local rescues.

Contact Mya Constantino at mconstantino@reviewjournal.com. Follow @searchingformya on Twitter.