“Snaps for Shelters” & “Mutt Love” 030
Snaps for Shelters & Mutt Love Dog Rescue
Can you resist these cute faces? If you’re wanting to adopt a new family member, stay tuned to find out how!
Preview to this week’s podcast episode #030
Good morning from El Paso, Texas! This is Episode 030, Number 30, of “Two Vegans on a Mission” Podcast. Thanks for being here with us!
Today we’re going to talk about our travels from San Antonio all the way over to El Paso, our vegan eats at Boss Bagel in San Antonio, as well as Viva Vegeria, or Viva Vegeria in San Antonio…vegan eats there.
And finally, I got to interview Ebonie from Mutt Love Dog Rescues, as well as Kendra from Snaps for Shelters.
So thanks for joining us and stay tuned!
Welcome to the Two Vegans on a Mission Podcast. I’m Louisa, and together with my husband, Michael, and our dog, Sugar, we’re traveling and living full-time in a Winnebago Class C motorhome, visiting animal sanctuaries and animal rescues all across the country. Each week we’ll share what new camping spots we found, what great vegan meals we’ve eaten, and our latest vegan outreach activities.
So please join us as we strive to inspire, educate, and support you in your efforts to be vegan!
It’s Vegan Chocolate!
Well, we’re going to start off by talking about the chocolate that I’m eating! It’s a vegan chocolate, of course. It’s from Endangered Species Chocolate. It’s in the green package. And it’s called “Forest Mint” plus Dark Chocolate with Natural Flavor. They’re 72% cocoa. 10% of the net profits go to Save Our Wildlife. So I really like this chocolate, and I’m waiting for Michael so I’m just going to chatter here about the chocolate and how yummy it is!
Also, I’d like to thank all the people who are listening. We have, according to Libsyn, which is the place that hosts our Podcast, we have had almost 2,500 downloads of our Podcast. Woohoo! Thank you for listening! We have 24 listeners in Canada, 4 in Portugal, 16 in New Zealand, 3 in Norway, and just recently we have picked up a listener from the UK. So, this is wonderful! Of course we have 11,000… Oh no, not 11,000… 1,100 from the US. And so we just want to thank you all for joining us each week, and stay tuned for a great episode!
Boss Bagels Restaurant Review
Yes, today finds us in El Paso. However, we’re not going to talk only about El Paso because as we were leaving the day in San Antonio, we stopped first for breakfast at a place called Boss Bagels, which was very yummy! They had homemade bagels right there on the premises, and they were not all vegan but they had vegan choices. And then they had some tofu spread that was totally vegan.
We had this breakfast out on the town because we had just picked up Sugar from the overnight stay, where she got to spend the night because we went to Hamilton. And we were out late so we didn’t want to have to worry about her staying alone in our RV.
So, she spent the night in the kennel which was a very nice place, and we appreciate that. But in the morning we stopped at Boss Bagel and had wonderful blueberry and also some cinnamon raisin bagels, that were vegan, with the tofu spread. Very good! On Broadway. Get some when you’re in town!!
Viva Vegeria Restaurant Review
Then that evening we went to a restaurant that was a totally Mexican vegan restaurant! It was great! It’s called Viva Vegeria, or Viva Vegeria, not sure where the accent mark goes because they don’t have one on there. So you’ll have to figure that out when you get there. But, you bring your own bottle of wine, if you want some. And Michael’s going to tell you what we had to eat.
So this 100% vegan restaurant was a quaint little place. Very small, but we always love going to restaurants where we don’t have to worry about any kind of animal products!
We started out with the appetizer of scrumptious, delicious nachos…vegan cheese, lots of jalapenos, Pico de Gallo.I think it’s called. So we all shared that, and that was delicious! And then I had specifically their daily special. Which was Spinach and Kale Enchiladas with a side of rice, beans, and a side salad. And again, these were all made from scratch. The waitress was just wonderful! We sat outside on a patio. It was nice, quiet, and relaxing. It’s always fun to have a vegan meal with family members. If you’re in San Antonio, check out this restaurant!
Overnight stays in Ft. Stockton & Van Horn, Texas
So it was with heavy heart that we left San Antonio. But we were heading to El Paso. First day we stayed at Fort Stockton, which is only about a four hour drive from San Antonio. And it’s one of our favorite RV parks because it’s right off the beaten path, and they always have a spot for us. And so we spent the night there.
The next day we drove up to Van Horn, which is another one of our favorite RV parks. We’ve already reviewed these in prior episodes of our Podcast. So we’re not going to go over them again. However, I wanted to give a shout-out to the people at Van Horn, because they have finished their renovations and the bathroom, the women’s bathroom, is very pretty. It’s beautiful and I really enjoy going to that RV park. So shout-out to them, thanks for having us! We enjoyed it!
Ft. Bliss Rv Park & Vegan Restaurants in El Paso, Texas
Then we drove into El Paso, and we stay at Fort Bliss. That is the RV park for the military folks, and they had space for us. And so we ended up staying there for five days, and with a Senior Pass it’s only $17 a night for military people. So, we love Fort Bliss and we have reviewed that in a prior episode, as well. So we’re not going to talk much about that today.
This time around we’re not going to give much of a review of different restaurants in El Paso. Since we stayed with family we didn’t go out to many restaurants. None, in fact. But we did get some take-out from our favorite, Queen’s Table, which is over there on the east side of El Paso. And we had some Nachos that we brought home, and also a sampler plate of different fried foods such as mushrooms and chickens wings, and of course these are all vegan. So it was a great sampler for the whole family to enjoy. But that’s about all we did, as far as trying new vegan options in El Paso this time around.
So when we get back from this break in the Podcast episode, you get to hear the interview I had with Ebonie from Mutt Love Dog Rescue in El Paso, and I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Mutt Love Dog Rescue Interview with Ebonie
Mutt Love was found in May of 2016 by Pamela Limba. She wanted to create the organization in memory of Echo. He was a German Shepherd that was tossed around through a particular owner that adopted him through Animal Services and wasn’t taken care of, ended up being euthanized. It was really touching to her so that’s how she came to creating Mutt Love Dog Rescue.
Could you tell me a little bit more about the story of Echo?
With Echo, he was through Animal Services, which is an organization that’s funded by the government and works strictly with the city. She saw he wasn’t being cared for, and wasn’t really anything being done. She supported this animal, and he needed care and he was a great dog. And it was really unfortunate that this one person really was the reason why he ended up being euthanized. And he could have been saved, and Animal Services did do their part, but it was this one particular person that really was mistreating him and not taking care of him and he ended up turning for the worst. And it was a situation that couldn’t be helped.
So how did the unfortunate incident with Echo result in her founding the Mutt Love?
With Echo and his situation, Pam really felt that there needed to be a voice for the voiceless. And that’s where she created Mutt Love Dog Rescue. And from there we were able to help dogs that weren’t protected, and dogs that were being tortured and thrown away. We help the ones that other organizations typically don’t like to help. We have dogs that other organizations would just euthanize due to aggression. And we’ll take the time and the money to get them trained, and the health, and if they’re really, really ill, that others won’t take on.
So how did you get involved with Mutt Love Dog Rescue?
I met Pam when I decided to foster through another organization, and from there she branched out on her own and I followed through with her. And from there I was with Mutt Love since the very beginning. I have a full-time job, and if anything more than that, because there’s a lot of overtime. And on my days off, I’m actually a Vet Tech at the clinic that we take the rescue to, and the rescue is 24/7. It does not stop.
So is there a physical building or a shelter somewhere?
We don’t have a particular location. All our dogs are foster-based. So they all live with a family that takes care of them, gives them some TLC, their medication, and if anything happens they’re the first ones to tell us. So these dogs feel like they’re at a home and they’re not just in a shelter declining, where they’re kind of just… It’s easy to forget about them, or be ignored.
So how many animals are being fostered at this time?
We have a total of 93 dogs and 7 cats. They’re all dispersed into different homes. Some fosters have more dogs than others. And some fosters have their own personal dogs in addition to multiple of our fosters.
How do you get funding for all of these rescues?
Mutt Love Dog Rescue is 501(c)(3). So this is all donation funded. All of our fosters, they have the ability to provide the food if they’d want to, but we also provide everything that the dogs needs. Every single penny that we get is through donations. None of us get paid. This is completely volunteer-based.
It’s amazing how much time and energy you all put into rescuing these dogs, but if you don’t have a shelter or a building for people to come and see the dogs. How are you able to adopt them out?
We post our animals through social media. A lot of times we’ve [gotten 00:11:02] families from up North that have an interest on a particular dog and follow through with adoptions. We have big events, as well, in different locations, different times of the year, where we have our dogs that are adoptable come out and people can come and meet them. And if they feel the connection with that particular animal, they’re able to adopt.
So I’m just curious. Where do you get these dogs from? And are they all rescued off the street, or out in the desert, or do you go to the animal shelter, and how do you find them?
A lot of our dogs come from Animal Services, and the community. From Animal Services, it’s government funds, so they’re very limited on the sources that they have. And if they have a dog that is really, really needing some medical attention they’ll reach out to us to go and grab them and get them the care that they need. We also have the ability of going in and pulling out dogs that we think need particular assistance in getting adopted. There’s also a few situations where we’ve had dogs that are dumped in the desert that we’ll pull and get them taken care of, and they ended up finding great homes. Or strays, or dogs that are hit by cars that people just leave to die.
You were telling me earlier that you have eight dogs, and one of them has a very remarkable story. Can you tell us about that?
Butters is actually one of my own personal dogs that I adopted through the organization. He was hit by a car out on Alameda Ave. that’s one of the busier streets. And nobody bothered to get off and help him, or anything of that sort. And this is a 90 pound blue Pit Bull that was absolutely gorgeous!
One of our volunteers saw him and pulled over, and right away asked for assistance from us and contacted Animal Services. He went through Animal Services. He was processed through them, and we were able to pull him out. They deemed him aggressive, and they didn’t know if he would even survive because he didn’t have any movement on his neck or on his leg. And he would, I mean, growl anytime somebody would try to touch him. Which, why wouldn’t you? You’re in a lot of pain. And we didn’t let that be an excuse as to why we wouldn’t help him. We figured, I mean, he’s in a lot of pain, why wouldn’t we have? I would be too, if someone tried touching me and I was hurting.
So we took him. We pulled him out of Animal Services, we took him to the clinic where they also said he was aggressive, and we got him taken care of. And he ended up getting an amputation from one of his front legs because that nerve was completely shot when he was run over. And he has some neurological effects that were affected by the hit. And now he’s still a solid 90 pound blue Pit Bull with three legs, and he’s absolutely amazing and the sweetest dog anybody can ever meet. That boy will throw himself on you, and just want cuddles 24/7. Not mean at all. He loves dogs, he loves cats, adults, old people, kittens, children, all of them!
I can really tell that you love what you’re doing. And what do you want to tell our listeners?
We really recommend that people adopt instead of going to breeders. When you buy a dog from a breeder that just entices them, and there’s a lot of problems that we have and I mean there’s already an overpopulation. There’s sometimes that people come to us, and tell us that they can’t keep their dog for whatever reason, and that they don’t want to surrender to the shelter. That’s actually the best thing to do is surrender it to the shelter. There’s a lot of rescues that usually work with the shelters that can pull the dog, and get it adopted. And it’s easier for the rescues, for numerous reasons, to pull the dog from Animal Services rather than just somebody surrendering it.
There is a lot of different ways, as well, to make the dog work. If it’s behavioral issues, there are trainers. I mean, if it’s medical reasons, there’s different ways to get the dog taken care of. They’re family, so it’s to keep them forever!
And that’s our goal with this Podcast, and with telling everybody about the different rescues that we find along our travels. Is that we want people to realize and to remember that pets are part of the family, and we want to make sure that everybody takes care of them and gives them the best medical care they need… and a wonderful home.
And I want to thank Ebonie, once again, for joining me today. She’s got a wonderful organization that she’s working with, and if you are at all inclined to go volunteer at Mutt Love Dog Rescue then you can find them on Facebook at facebook.com/Muttlovin. That’s m, u, t, t, l, o, v, i, n. It’s like Mutt Loving, but without the g.
And also you can find them on Instagram @muttlovin, as well.
We will also have some links in our show notes on our website, so please look there if you’d like to see some pictures of some of the dogs. Ebonie is going to be sending me some so that I can post the adoptions that happen, and that we can all celebrate when these dogs get into loving homes!
So thanks again to Ebonie and Mutt Love Dog Rescue here in El Paso, Texas.
Snaps for Shelters Interview with Kendra
Next up we’re going to talk with Kendra about how she took her hobby of taking pictures and turned it into saving some animals.
All right, so I’m [Kendra Porta and I started an organization called Snaps for Shelters. I sort of always wanted to be involved with animals and animal rescue, specifically with dogs. I was living in Tacoma, Washington at the time and I had just finished my schooling and I wanted to get back into a hobby that was really true to my passions. So I started volunteering at the shelter-
And this is when you started taking pictures of the dogs at the shelters?
At that point, at the beginning, it was just for the Humane Society of Tacoma’s website. For their own use. And then from there it kind of grew and we started doing photos with Santa at Christmas, and Easter Bunny, and those kind of things. Just to kind of draw in the community, and have the photography be more of an event rather than just photos for the shelter.
After two years there, I passed off all my equipment and everything to someone else who was going to take over there, and then the Army brought me to El Paso, Texas. And when I got here I started doing the same sort of thing at the El Paso Animal Services here in El Paso.
I started for the first six months or so doing just the photos, like I had done before. Here there was a much bigger need, there were a lot more animals, it was a completely different environment and community. And the shelter was in a different place in their progression, and so it was very good timing to be part of their change. They had just passed legislation to make a lot of steps forward and I came in just at the same time that all that was starting.
So it was a really exciting time, and got to make a lot of big changes early at the beginning. Took photos, portraits of dogs for their website as well, for the Animal Services website. And we also did some of the same events; photos with Santa, and with Easter Bunny, and I went to all their off-site adoption events and took pictures with kids who had just adopted their dog, and those kind of things.
So we kind of expanded it more. And then around Christmas time that first year I took pictures of a puppy that stood way too still for me. He just was too well-behaved for a tiny puppy. So I brought him to the Vet’s office and I said,
“Something’s wrong with him, I think.” And they told me he was positive for “Parvo”. And that had really not been a very prevalent thing in Tacoma, that I had really dealt with very much. But here it’s very, very rampant everywhere. And so at that time they weren’t able to support the “Parvo” animals, and they were being put down.
So is this when you started becoming a foster Mom?
So this puppy I had just spent 30 minutes with taking pictures in this Christmas hat, there was no way that I was going to leave it there, of course. So, Nemo was his name, and he was a little brindle Boxer puppy. Cute as could be. And I took him home. The Veterinarian at the shelter was very supportive, and she told me that there was a risk that he wouldn’t make it, but that if I treated him at least he’d have a chance.
So I learned all about how to treat “Parvo”, which there isn’t really a treatment directly for it, but there’s supportive care that you give because it’s a virus. And so you can’t directly treat it. So I learned and he lived. And it was very, very inspiring and it made me feel like, okay, here’s another need. Another thing I can do. It was really fun to have puppies around, you know puppies are a lot of work but they’re really fun to have for a short period of time.
So Nemo was the first. I had him for about two weeks and then I brought him back to the shelter just before Christmas, and he got adopted by a wonderful couple who still update me about his progress. Which is very wonderful when I can still be connected to them. That makes me super happy!
And I didn’t even leave the shelter that day without coming home with my second puppy. And now I’ve had 83. In fact, my 83rd puppy is with me here today, Simon. And I’ve had a lot of different kinds of fosters, but they’ve all had “Parvo”.
So can you tell me a little bit about your latest foster?
So my latest foster that has been with me for about a month, his name is Simon. After 83 you kind of run out of names, so I’ve had some very creative names along the way. At certain points I’ve had whole litters and I do the whole naming them all together, and all that. But anyway, so Simon is… I’m not sure what he is. He’s a Poodle Terrier, maybe Schnauzer mix. He’s about a year old, and he’s kind of a scruffy-looking boy. But he’s very cute and very loyal, and already potty-trained. He got over his “Parvo” really fast, and I’ve been just trying to find him the right home since then.
He needs somebody who’s a little bit patient because he has formed a very strong bond with me. And that happens a lot with the sick ones, when I’m bringing them back. They get very attached, but the younger ones are easy to redirect to new owners and they forget and they do fine. He’s already a year, maybe a little bit more than a year, so it’s a little bit harder for him. He’s so attached to me that he has a hard time interacting with other people, and he does completely fine so long as I’m there. But when I leave he gets very nervous.
So he’s a great, great dog. He’s only 20 pounds, he’s not going to get any bigger, but he just needs to find the right person who’s willing to have a little bit of patience with him.
Could you do me a favor and explain what “Parvo” is? I’m not sure I’m very familiar with that myself.
So “Parvo” virus is transmitted through the excrement, and it can stay in the soil for actually up to two years. It can live there. So it’s a very difficult problem because you can’t really ever clean it away. You can’t just bleach it away. It doesn’t just go away after time. So my house has Parvo and will have it for two years in the yard.
Yeah. My dogs, my personal dogs, are not affected because they’re vaccinated. It’s part of the Distemper/Parvo vaccine that’s part of the early required shots, and if they’re appropriately vaccinated the chances of them getting it is exceedingly low.
But when there’s an area of the country where vaccinations are just not as prevalent, the disease… And also the environment and weather here allows for it to proliferate. So it’s just really common. A combination of it living for a long time in the soil, and then not vaccinating and then yeah, having it be warm. Temperate climate.
So what is your plan, or what are your hopes, for the future of your organization, Snaps for Shelters?
So, I’m hoping that I can recruit a whole bunch of volunteers to help with the photography part, at least. I would love to be able to go daily, or weekly, or at least twice weekly and just take more… There’s such a huge need there. Such a large population of animals. And for just one person it’s difficult to keep up, so I would love to have a team of photographers, amateur photographers are fine, I’m not a professional. And no one needs to be.
You just really have to have the heart for it, and over the years I’ve had a lot of people come work with me, but I would like to have just a consistent team to keep it going.
And then in the future, someday, I would like to have a rescue of my own that I can expand on this even more with the sick dogs, but also with dogs that have other reasons to be fostered. And grow that part of it, as well.
Well, that sounds really wonderful. And what message would you like to leave with us today?
One of the biggest messages that I just want to get out to everybody is about just the process of adoption. I think there’s kind of a stigma on shelters. People don’t really understand, and of course shelters are different all over the country and there’s a lot of variability.
But what I’ve found in my experience in shelters is that you can really find almost any kind of dog that you’re looking for, if you’re just willing to be a little bit patient. Because we get all kinds of purebred dogs and young ones, old ones, calm ones, excited ones. Like there’s a huge variety, and if you’re willing to be a little bit patient you can pretty much find anything you want.
And there’s a really big need. People still feel the need to go to breeders or to pet shops, and there’s so many animals that need to be adopted. And that problem is getting a little bit better as people learn about spaying and neutering their animals, and vaccinating and taking good care of them.
But it’s still a problem. It’s still a very large national pet overpopulation, and there’s no better feeling than taking that animal out of the shelter and knowing that you saved its life. It knows it, too. And you’ll see the difference in your relationship with that dog in rescuing them versus purchasing them. It’s a really, really great feeling.
We agree. There is no better feeling than helping to save an animal’s life.
Once again, I want to thank Ebonie from Mutt Love Dog Rescue, and Kendra from Snaps for Shelters for taking time out of their busy lives and sharing their stories with us on the Podcast today!
For pictures and information on how to contact either of them just jump on over to our website at www.vegansonamission.com. Or you can go to our Instagram page @heaveninaclassc.
And then be sure to join us next week as we travel to Tucson and visit a donkey sanctuary, and then a cat sanctuary.
So thanks for being here today and continue to be vegan!
We are a retired teacher, Louisa, and a retired physician assistant, Michael, married for 39 years, who want to help busy travelers begin and maintain a healthy life-style while on the road.