PATAS Y PAJES: pet care and boarding | Open

With school almost out of session and the summer heat setting in, many Imperial Valley residents have begun planning an escape from our brutal summer.

Unfortunately, many people at this point have included giving up their pets as part of their summer vacation. Over the last three weeks there has been a disturbing and overwhelming number of pet owners calling the Imperial County Humane Society wanting to relinquish their pets. When asked why they should give up their pets, many openly admit that they are going out of town for vacation. Humane Society staff have done their best to accommodate these animals, but have had little or no success keeping up. Once again, the shelter is over capacity and the number of unwanted animals in the shelter is alarming. Adoptions are the lowest they have ever been, and herds of animals continue to enter the shelter every day. Historically, the Humane Society sends animals to out-of-town rescue groups when the shelter is full, but shelters across Southern California are experiencing the same problem: We’re in a regional crisis.

The Humane Society team believes that travel should never be a reason to separate a pet from its family and place it in a shelter, as there are other options.

While we do our best to make the animals in our care as happy and comfortable as possible, the shelter environment can be scary for some pets. Shelters are noisy, have many unfamiliar smells, and are often overcrowded. All of these factors make it very difficult for some pets to adjust to change, and this makes finding a home that much more difficult.

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It boils down to the fact that many Imperial Valley residents don’t know what resources are available to them, so they don’t take advantage of them. The Humane Society frequently refers pet owners to members of the local community and businesses that provide boarding or pet care. Desert Veterinary Group is a local veterinary office that provides lodging services to the community. Buddy Sweets has years of experience providing exceptional pet day care and boarding services to our community. Cathy Dobson and Mike Burk (both local animal lovers, advocates, and supporters of the Imperial County Humane Society) provide exceptional in-home pet care services for our community.

Each of these local professionals has years of experience in the field of companion animal care. Regardless of who you decide to board or have your pets cared for, you can find peace of mind knowing that your pets will be treated kindly and well cared for while you and your family are away. Remember that having a trusted family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker to care for or drop by every few hours to check on your pet is also a great alternative! If you can’t program something with the resources listed, visit This website will help you find other reputable and affordable pet care services that are perfect for your pet.

Although these services are not free, we cannot put a price on the happiness, health and well-being of our furry friends. In any situation, being with the family in the end is the best for your pets. Remember that all family members deserve to be with their families all year long, especially our four-legged family members.

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If you and your family are planning to go out of town this summer and can’t bring your pets with you and need to make an appointment for pet boarding/sitting. Be sure to make the phone call today to make sure your pet is happy, comfortable, and safe while you’re gone.

  • Sweet Friends, (760) 353-7833
  • Cathy Dobson, (760) 550-5718
  • Desert Veterinary Group, (760) 355-0141
  • mike burk, (760) 554-6569

Devon Apodaca is executive director of the Imperial County Humane Society.