Dear Santa Letter
The Lady Foot - Wordless Wednesday

Influence Positively Interview - Bev VanZant

Bev and Tyler 

Bev’s obsession is no more homeless pets. Bev VanZant (aka PetCareBev) started with The Iams Company in Consumer Relations in 1995. Her “office” is Twitter, her blog, Facebook, and any other pet-oriented online community where pet people gather. From October into the New Year, Bev devotes her “office hours” to Iams Home 4 the Holidays.

There’s always been at least one dog in Bev’s life—family dogs as she was growing up (mostly Poodles), and then Bailey-the-Bichon, who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in January of 2010. Recently, a new little fluffy soul came trotting into Bev’s life: Tyler Small Paws. Bev has a sewing machine she never has time to use and a garden that always needs weeding. She’d rather stay home then travel, and “Tosca” is her favorite opera. Anything else is subject to change without notice.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

On a personal level, I take my happiness wherever I can find it. A nice cup of tea. A good Sookie Stackhouse novel. A sweet pooch to cuddle. And lots of free time to enjoy the day. On a more expanded level, perfect happiness would come with no more homeless pets, a cure for all cancers, world peace, and an end to world hunger. Well, I can dream can't I?

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be & why? I would want to be a feline living in the home of Karen Nichols, who is Skeezix's Food Lady because those kitties are the best dressed cats on the interwebz. And Karen is totally dotty about her kitties.


What is your pet’s most treasured possession? I think that Tyler's most treasured possession are the tags on his collar. They consist of his rabies tag, his dog license, his ID tag from Small Paws Rescue, his little ID capsule that has my contact information in it, and his microchip ID tag. So many tags for such a little guy! And yet, each one is essential. Tyler uses his tags like a pacifier. When he's overtired or uncertain, the tags go into his mouth. He looks very silly but also very endearing when he's "sucking" on his tags.

Tyler and his tags I think the tags are important to him because of the way his life started. He was let loose when he was only 8 weeks old. He and another puppy were found on the side of the road, starving, nearly comatose. When the shelter veterinarian examined the two puppies, they were diagnosed with parvo virus--which put them on death row. Someone at the shelter notified Small Paws Rescue who picked up both puppies, invested the money to get them well, and found them forever homes.

I think that on some level Tyler senses that his tags are evidence that he has a home and a family. They're proof that Tyler belongs. If he were missing, people would be desperately searching for him until he was found. He's no longer a lonely and alone stray little dog that nobody cares about or misses. He's loved.

Your proudest achievement so far? I think bringing Tyler Small Paws home with me would count as my proudest achievement so far. Tyler was an orphan. Since he joined our family he has blossomed into an incredibly sweet and loving little fellow. He seems to have forgotten his bad start in life—he’s such a happy, outgoing little guy and loves to meet new friends. Most important though is that he has really bonded with my mom. Watching the two of them together brings me great joy. I know it sounds corny, but it really does warm my heart to see the two of them interacting.

Who are your heroes in real life? It is a matter of public record (you may have seen the BlogPaws West 2010 keynote where I introduced Mike and gushed myself into embarrassment!) that Mike Arms is my hero. He is an amazing animal advocate full of passion for orphaned animals and full of ideas for finding them homes. Mike is a tremendous asset to the shelter/rescue community. My goal in life is to be more like Mike.

Robin Presnell is another one of my heroes. Robin heads up Small Paws Rescue—the group that saved my Tyler. Small Paws is a Bichon rescue based in Tulsa, OK (actually, they will find a way to help any dog or cat in need that ends up on their “doorstep”). Small Paws has over 800 volunteers and over 6000 members in 20 countries. In the past 11 years, Small Paws has saved over 7500 Bichons. Robin is the driving force behind the group. Her weekly—sometimes daily—newsletters keeps all the Small Paws “Warriors” up-to-date on Small Paws dogs in need, where our contribution money is going to, and any other news about Small Paws dogs.

My other heroes are all of the shelter and rescue workers and volunteers taking care of orphaned pets. What a tremendously difficult job these folks have taken on! I cannot conceive of the emotional toll it takes on them every single day. This group of loving people are always in my prayers. If you are one of this special community of people, please know that I think you are incredible! And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you do!

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