Sparkle, a 3-month-old black and white puppy, lives up to her name. Sparkle has lots of energy. She’s feisty, loves to play, and will light up your life. She does great with other dogs, and quickly learns commands like “sit.” To adopt visit la-spca.org
These are trying times. Finding joy in life’s simple pleasures has made a full resurgence. Families are adopting pets in record numbers, but many hold back because they simply don’t have enough information or are intimidated by the cost and process. In good times and bad, animal companions serve as wonderful sources of comfort, fun and support.
Studies have shown that pets, particularly dogs and cats, can reduce anxiety, depression and encourage a more active lifestyle. According to a HABRI (Human Animal Bond Research Institute) survey of family physicians, 87 percent said their patients’ mood or outlook had improved as a result of pet ownership. Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax the parasympathetic nervous system.
Training a dog or cat to perform a new trick can teach kids the importance of perseverance. Caring for an animal also provides numerous other benefits for children including companionship, responsibility, and routine.
If you don’t have the money or time to own your own pet, there are still ways you can experience the multitude of benefits animals offer. Most animal shelters or rescue groups welcome volunteers to help care for homeless pets or assist at adoption events. You’ll not only be helping yourself, but also helping to socialize and exercise the animals, making them more adoptable.
While buying a pet from a breeder or shop is certainly an option, local shelters currently board many deserving animals that need homes. When you adopt a pet, the cost of spay/neuter, first vaccinations and microchipping is included in the price, which can save you some of the up-front costs when adding a new member to your family. Overburdened shelters take in millions of animals every year, and by adopting an animal, you’re making room for others. Not only are you giving more animals a second chance, but the cost of your adoption goes directly towards helping those shelters better care for the animals they take in.
“Saving just one animal won’t change the world, but surely it will change the world for that one animal,” says Rebecca Melanson, Communications Engagement Specialist with the LASPCA. “Animal shelters and rescue groups are brimming with happy, healthy pets just waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelter pets wound up there because of a human problem like a move, not because the animals did anything wrong. Many are already house-trained and used to living with families.”
Shelters will conduct vet checks, landlord checks and may ask extensive questions or visit your home to make sure the yard is safe from escape. Be patient. Adopting a rescue pet can be a slower process than buying but is well worth the reward.
Fostering provides a homeless animal a temporary home until they are ready to make their adoption debut. There are a variety of situations in which an animal can benefit from the personalized care that a foster home can offer. Shelter teams will work with foster parents every step of the way to pave the path for success.
“Fostering is crucial right now. The adoption process is moving slower due to staffing issues and social distancing guidelines. As a result, pets may be spending more time in a kennel before finding their new home. When a pet is fostered, it does two important things, reduces the stress of overpopulation in the shelters and it makes the pet more adoptable,” said Michelle Ingram, Director Zeus’ Rescues. “The insight that foster families give us about how a pet is outside a shelter environment is invaluable in helping us understand a pet and place it in the perfect home.”
Tips on bringing an animal into the home
At any reputable shelter, an adoption team will talk you through different ways to make sure your furry new family member feels comfortable and safe in their new home. Depending on your situation, they will cover specific instructions on how to do this safely for all.
The first couple of days after bringing a new pet home can be stressful for the pet and family. Being fully prepared will make the transition easier. If you are bringing a puppy into your home, make sure that all things you don’t want to be chewed are picked up and that any dangerous items (like rodent poison or low-hanging wires) are put out of reach.
Dogs: Be patient and keep an eye out for stress indicators like panting, pacing, hiding, potty accidents, chewing and upset stomach. If you’re having behavior struggles with your new pet, shelters including the LASPCA have a large library of online resources that were created by certified trainers.
Don’t be afraid of kennel training. There are a ton of great articles online about how to crate train your dog. He/she will learn that it is their safe space and can keep them out of trouble when you aren’t home.
Cats: Just like children, kittens typically adjust to change a little better than adult cats. Confinement periods tend to be extra helpful when helping adult cats adjust and keeping kittens out of trouble. Keep your cat in a small room with a litter box, food, and water, scratching post, toys and a bed for a few days. Your cat needs plenty of socialization and exercise during this period. Set aside time each day to visit with him/her or bring them to a larger room to play and stretch.
Have toys and treats at the ready. Make the new environment exciting and welcoming from the moment they enter the door.
Celebrate your pet with the latest and greatest accessories, treats and gear.
4421 Jefferson Hwy.
Jefferson Feed is a family-owned business with five locations throughout Southeast Louisiana. At this one-stop-shop for both cats and dogs, you can find a diverse selection of high-quality, organic food, toys and care products.
3308 Magazine St.
Pop into Nola Couture for a variety of whimsical, Crescent City-themed patterned pet accessories including collars, leashes and bowties.
3205 Magazine St.
This full-service pet boutique offers a wide selection of options for both cats and dogs, from grooming to pet photography. Sourcing a vast array of toys, accessories, bowls and beds from around the globe, Petcetera also partners with local artists on an exclusive line of collars, leads, clothing and costumes. Custom birthday cakes and other locally inspired fresh treats from the in-house bakery are a big hit.
633 Toulouse St.
Nestled in the heart of the French Quarter, Southern Paws is well stocked with New Orleans-inspired pet supplies and treats. The knowledgeable and friendly staff can assist you in finding anything and everything your cat or dog might need, from humorous bowls and toys to freshly baked gourmet treats and costumes.
Helping the cause
While monetary donations are always welcome, you can help shelters in many other ways. Most shelters take donated towels, blankets and old pet beds. Your time is just as valuable to shelters as money.
Shelters offer a variety of different volunteer opportunities including pet photography, dog walking, cat socialization, transport driving, and cat trapping. If interested, the first step is signing up for an orientation to learn more about the program and the opportunities available. You will also learn about the additional training requirements involved in becoming an active volunteer.
Share with your community
If you can’t physically volunteer, you can help rescue shelters by sharing social media posts, news and adoptable animals online. Cross-posting to help spread the word may help an animal find its forever home.
If you do decide to bring a pet into your home, it’s incredibly important to be sure you can properly love and care for the animal. Both cats and dogs will need lots of play and one-on-one time.
Nola’s walkability make the city an ideal location for outings with four-legged friends. We’ve sniffed out great local spots that welcome pets. Just remember to keep your pooch on a leash and by your side at all times.
PLEASE ADOPT ME!
Princess, a 10-year-old retriever mix, gets along great with other dogs, and is obsessed with kittens. She came into the shelter after her owner passed away, and was understandably pretty sad at first. After a month or so in foster care, she was back to her old self and is a total sweetheart. To adopt visit la-spca.org
Eateries, Cafés and Watering Holes
3236 Magazine St.,
5135 Canal Blvd.
Beer and dog lovers rejoice. The Bulldog encourages four-legged friends in its extensive outdoor courtyard. Both locations regularly host rescue nights where local shelters bring in adoptable pets and a portion of the sales from the night are donated back to the rescue.
912 Royal St.
Café Amelie’s wait staff will treat your pup like royalty and bring you a bowl of ice water and bacon or chicken as a treat when you’re seated. Enjoy a delicious meal in the heart of the French Quarter in a lush and quiet courtyard.
3607 Magazine St.
Cavan’s delightful porch and patio are the perfect spot for a pup companion who enjoys lounging with a crowd during a boozy brunch. Water bowls are available as well as the occasional treat from servers.
Flamingo A Go-Go
869 Magazine St.
Flamingo A-Go-Go’s colorful patio is one of the largest in the Warehouse District making it a perfect respite for area canine friends. Offering a special dog menu, treat your pup to the “dog plate” and other specialties. The restaurant also partners with local organizations to host online contests and other events, bringing awareness and funds to local shelters.
701 Mazant St.
Bring Fido and enjoy some of New Orleans’ tastiest barbecue brisket, pork, chicken and sausage with an array of sides. The Joint’s outdoor patio welcomes pups and sets up water bowls. Be sure to ask about the new house-made smoked pork dog treats.
Lucy’s New Orleans
701 Tchoupitoulas Street
Lucy’s is known for its’ dog-friendly atmosphere serving human patrons everything from burgers to tacos and a variety of seafood as well as cocktails. Enjoy a dog-friendly menu and charity events where dogs have been known to saddle up to the bar. Pups are welcome inside and out, provided with water and ice, and humans will be handed a menu for themselves and their pup. Highlights include the Surf Dog Delight burger patty and Canine Kahuna chicken. Lucy’s has also partnered with Canine Creamery to offer three new flavors – strawberry blueberry and pumpkin.
5432 Magazine St.,
7624 Maple St.
Both the PJ’s uptown on Magazine and Maple Streets have water bowls outside for pups and welcome furry friends while customers work or grab their coffee and pastries. Look for treat jars on the counter filled with milk bones. At Christmas, the Magazine Street location has even been known to give out stockings from Santa for pup regulars.
7901 Maple St.,
1320 Magazine St.
In addition to Satsuma’s delicious and health-conscious human menu, the café’s friendly staff keeps treats and water bowls on hand for dogs. The Maple Street location also boasts special hooks near tables for leashes. Pup regulars have been known to nose their way past the counter looking for treats. Check out #dogsofsatsuma for adorable shots of frequent furry visitors lounging on the patio.
The Tchoup Yard
405 Third St.
The Irish Channel’s Tchoup Yard has an extensive outdoor patio with plenty of room for pups to lounge. Stop in for a drink and bite from the Karibu Kitchen’s food truck serving fan favorites including fried chicken sandwiches and loaded tater tots. Tchoup Yard also partners with local organizations to host adoption parties and showcase pets who need a home.
Chance in Hell Snoballs
Corner of France and Burgundy
This Bywater pop-up stand offers “frosty treats for a world on fire.” Cool off with all-natural, mouth-watering flavors like Cucumber, Lemongrass, Mint and “Adults Only” Sunday Funday specials, including Dark n’ Stormy and Chocolate Mint Juleps. Doggie snoballs come in organic, low-sodium chicken broth over ice.
Picnic Provisions & Whiskey
741 State St.
Picnic Provisions offers a pup-friendly happy hour on the patio from 3–7 p.m. Wednesday –Sunday. Call ahead to reserve your table outside so you’re sure to secure a spot. The popular fried chicken will have your pooch on his best behavior waiting for a scrap sent from heaven above.
Note: Many other spots around town are known for offering your pups a treat while picking up take out including Stein’s Deli, Good Bird and Company Burger.
PLEASE ADOPT ME!
Francis, a two-month-old fluffy orange kitten, is the definition of a curious cat, and definitely wants to explore the world around her. To adopt visit la-spca.org
Places to Play
Nola’s best spots for pups to run and socialize
During Covid-19 restrictions are in place at certain parks to keep guests and staff safe. Guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs and take them when they leave. Remember to practice safe social distancing and maintain at least 6-feet from other visitors. Owners are also encouraged to bring extra waste bags in case parks are in short supply. Before you visit a public dog park make sure all of your pup’s vaccinations are up to date and that they are wearing the proper tags.
NOLA City Bark
30 Zachary Taylor Dr.
Located in the heart of City Park, behind Popp Fountain, NOLA City Bark offers 4.6 landscaped acres with separate play areas for small and big dogs where off-leash time is encouraged. Amenities include agility equipment, a splash pad and pools, doggy water fountains, shade pavilions, Mutt Mitts for clean-up, on-site restrooms, and a 0.25-mile walking trail. Children under eight are not allowed in the dog park at any time. Annual permits are required and cost $55 for one dog and an additional $5 per additional dog. Friends of City Park Members receive a $5 discount.
Crescent Park Dog Run
3800-3898 Chartres St.
Located between the Piety Street wharf and Mazant Street ramp, Crescent Park Dog Run offers a recreation space and picnic area. The closest entrance to the fenced dog area is the parking lot near the Mazant Street ramp. But, in-the-know visitors with large dogs suggest using the Piety Street Arch stairs as a workout along the way.
Wisner Dog Park
4876 Laurel St.
It can be difficult to find a fenced-in area for your pup to run and play in the heart of the city, so Wisner’s off-leash park is a welcome retreat. Stay alert however, this co-mingled park does not include separate enclosures for large and small dogs. Large trees provide much needed shade on hot days and there are benches for relaxing while your pup gets the lead out.
Bayou Sauvage Ridge Trail
20876 Chef Menteur Hwy.
Bayou Sauvage Ridge Trail is a lightly trafficked 6.8-mile trail. Good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding, dogs are welcome to join but must be kept on a leash.
The Levee Dog Park
Leake Avenue (adjacent to The Fly)
This hidden gem uptown is an “unofficial” off-the-leash spot for your pup to exercise and socialize. The levee hill is perfect for lots of good sprinting. The area is kept clean and offers great Mississippi River views.
Lafreniere Bark Park
3000 Downs Blvd.
This five-acre park has two sectioned areas for large and small dogs. Agility equipment, a load of room to run in lush grass and benches with lots of shade make it an ideal spot for dogs and owners. A dog washing station outside located outside of the parks gates is handy for muddy days. Children under 10 are prohibited and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Note: City Park, Audubon Park, Crescent Park and Armstrong Park all welcome dogs as long as they are kept on a leash.
PLEASE ADOPT ME!
Nelly, a 5-year old shorthair tabby cat, is a total purr machine, and loves to be held. She’s as sweet can be and adores attention and affection. Nelly would be great in a home with other cats. To adopt visit la-spca.org
If you’re away from home for much of the day or work long hours, don’t fret. There are several local spots that will ensure your pup is getting enough exercise, is properly socialized and in good hands. See below for a list of top spots recommended by locals.
Camp Bow Wow
2731 Tchoupitoulas St.
Designed to improve your pup’s quality of life in a safe, fun and nurturing environment, Camp Bow Wow offers enrichment-based care with sensory stimulation and group play. Campers are able to run, jump and play in climate-controlled yards with counselors certified in pet first aid and CPR. All campers are screened, ensuring they are sociable, spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Parents are given live access to web cams to check in from anywhere throughout the day.
Pricing starts at $29 for a full day, with discounts offered for multiple day packages and other add-ons.
4920 Tchoupitoulas St.
Canine Connection’s five climate-controlled playrooms and nine outdoor play areas are divided according a pup’s size and temperament. On your first visit your pup will need to be interviewed and pass a vet check to make sure you’re up to date. Webcam access and an above ground outdoor dog pool delight parents and pups alike.
Half and full day rates are offered with full-day costing $28. Multiple packages and member bundles are
9501 Airline Hwy.
Dogtopia’s mission is to make sure pets feel happy, safe and comfortable. A highly trained staff provide dogs with a structured environment to play, socialize and have fun. Separated by size, temperament and play style, pups are able to hang in state-of-the-art facilities that include climate-controlled playrooms with an air exchange drawing outdoor air in for additional fresh air. Outdoor play areas are equipped with splash pads, agility equipment and doggie pools. Enjoy watching your pup make new best friends through remote access webcams. Pups must pass a meet and greet evaluation.
Half-day care starts at $19, full days cost $29. Discounts are offered for additional packages and bundles.
3501 River Road
The epitome of total pet care, Pawlins focuses on purposeful play and an “at home” environment. The impressive 18,000-square-foot facility boasts four separate, climate-controlled indoor play yards with hospital-grade, bacteria-resistant rubber floors to reduce noise and protect joints. Additional perks include an outdoor water park and easy to sanitize K-9 grass so pups stay clean. At Pawlins, safety is paramount and webcam access is offered to all owners. Each dog is interviewed by staff and an evaluation dog to ensure they are placed in the right environment and group. River Road Veterinary hospital is also available on site to handle any emergencies or routine check-ups.
Pawlins offers a variety of packages with a standard full day priced at $32.