Working for Animals Drew This Couple Together

Shawn with black cat

Photo Credit: Katherine Zenzano

We all know it’s not unusual to find love at an animal shelter. Usually it’s with an adoptable animal looking for a home. That’s part of why Halo donates more than 1.5 million bowls of nutritious food to shelter animals every year to help those dogs and cats look and feel great, so they can put their best paw forward to help them find love. However, some people find more than animals who capture their hearts at an animal shelter. For Katherine Zenzano, her heart was captured at an animal shelter by a very special Animal Control Officer!

Katherine Zenzano knew she loved animals. It was why she was excited to start as the Assistant to the President and CEO of a large urban animal shelter. She was even prepared to fall in love with lots of fuzzy creatures. She didn’t expect that the job would lead her to the love of her life and future spouse.

Katherine and Shawn

Photo Credit: Katherine Zenzano

Shawn Covington was an Animal Control Officer for that same urban shelter. “I could tell that he was a hard worker and that it was on behalf of animals was very attractive,” Katherine admitted about what first drew her to Shawn. Shawn also appreciated Katherine’s care for animals. It made him want to know her better, plus, as he put it, “it also meant that we had something in common.”

Katherine grew to love animal welfare. She eventually became a Behavior and Training Counselor as well as the Cat Behavior Manager for the always busy shelter. She also grew closer to Shawn. “When Shawn brought his two dogs, Tank and Beretta, two Boston Terriers, over to my house so I could meet them, “ was a big day, according to Katherine. “I had already heard about Tank who certainly lived up to the name,” she continued, “But Beretta was so tiny and cute and in a way it just…surprised me. Here was this big tough guy with this happy, prancing little dog. I do believe that sold me.”

Dogs continued to be a big factor in their relationship. Not only did they integrate their pack, as it were, but the couple also fostered many animals together. Eventually Shawn proposed, while their dogs milled about, and Katherine said yes. She joked at the time that there was no better way to celebrate National Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week! While preparing for their wedding, they thought about their dogs. They didn’t plan to have any of them at the ceremony to avoid stressing out the dogs or humans too much. However, Tank had other ideas.

Photo Credit: Katherine Zenzano

Photo Credit: Katherine Zenzano

According to Katherine, “On the day of our wedding, Tank escaped through an open door and Shawn had to chase him to catch him. Shawn slipped and fell, and ripped his jeans, but eventually caught Tank.” The couple discussed what was best and decided to change their plans slightly. “Our dog Tank was there for the wedding weekend, but only because we didn’t want to risk that he get away from my dad who would be taking care of our dogs,” she explained.

Now the couple has three dogs. “Little Bit is Katherine’s other soul mate,” shared Shawn. Little Bit “is a senior Terrier mix who loves to be near Katherine at all times. Tank is a troublemaker; he is the older male, Boston Terrier. He’s always getting into something. Beretta is the sweetest and always needs to find the coziest spot to nestle in,” Shawn continued. In addition to the dogs, the happy couple also has an adorable toddler daughter they say “definitely” shares her parents’ love of animals. “Beretta is her favorite dog if we’re naming favorites. And she loves having the foster kittens around and is very gentle and patient with them,” said Katherine.

Katherine feels that dogs are a big part of why she and Shawn fell in love, telling us “I definitely credit our love for animals with bringing us together.” Not everyone will meet their human soulmate at an animal shelter, but everyone can find an animal who needs their love. Who knows what else you’ll find?

Halo Pets

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What Can We Learn from the Puppy Who Died on United Airlines?

United Airlines

There are a lot of people who – when they learned about a puppy who died in an overhead luggage bin on a United Airlines flight last week – were filled with moral outrage against the airline. They went ballistic, telling everyone on social media that they were going to boycott United Airlines and so should everyone else to “send a message.”

What message would that be?

What could possibly be achieved by boycotting United Airlines?
An airline company did not cause the death of a puppy.

United Airlines is a huge company that (safely) puts thousands of flights in the air every week, with tens of thousands of employees helping to make that happen. United Airlines policy allowed that dog in the passenger cabin in a TSA-approved carry bag, intended to be placed under the seat in front of the woman traveling with her 11-year-old daughter and infant, flying back to New York’s LaGuardia Airport from Houston.

I think this indignation against the airline is entirely misdirected.

Why are people so quick to jump to the conclusion that an airline company would knowingly do anything to harm a pet – and should be punished? [Why would United Airlines ever want to be dealing with another public relations nightmare – not so long after Marshalls forcibly dragged a human passenger down the aisle of another United flight?]

This traveling puppy was allowed into the passenger cabin according to United’s own rules. He was traveling legitimately – in a TSA-approved bag with a paid fee. He was traveling with the same owner who had already flown the first leg of a round trip journey – with that same dog, in the same bag, on the same airline. So what went wrong this time that caused the death of that puppy? And what can we all learn as a take-away moral to the story so this kind of debacle doesn’t happen again?

The story that circulated in the New York Times and all over the country – in print and on television – was that a flight attendant told the owner of a carry bag – that wasn’t fitting fully under the seat in front of her – that she had to put the bag up in an overhead bin before takeoff. The owner later said she explained there was a dog in the bag, but regardless, the flight attendant still said it had to go in the overhead bin. The flight attendant later claimed not to have understood there was a dog in the bag.

Obviously, an overhead bin was never intended for anything but inanimate carry-on bags, It would be unimaginable that a crew member – even if rushed, distracted, overworked or thoughtless – would send a puppy to its certain death by locking it into what would become an airless tomb. Who doesn’t love puppies, after all? Would anybody knowingly suffocate a little dog for convenience?

But we have to wonder why the owner didn’t repeat herself – refuse to have the dog put up there? She’d already flown successfully with the dog in that bag underneath a seat with the dog to Houston – so she knew how it worked when it went right.

Let’s say she was frazzled traveling with two children. Let’s say she didn’t’ make herself clear enough to the flight attendant

Let’s even say she was a timid person, afraid of making a scene.

What about everybody else sitting around her? Several passengers later reported that the crew member insisted on putting the dog in the bin despite the fact a dog was in it. But why didn’t any one of them say something? Why didn’t someone stand up on behalf of the dog and the traveling family? Why did everyone wait until after the tragedy to acknowledge they saw it unfolding and did nothing?

Shouldn’t the moral outrage in this story be directed at bystanders who stood by and said and did nothing while obvious harm was being done to a puppy?

All it takes is for one good person to remain silent for something terrible to take place. And each person who remained silent on that flight – expressing their horror and outrage later – surely has some responsibility in the foreseeable tragedy.

After the flight, several fellow passengers said the dog barked for two hours of the three and a half hour flight. And then it fell silent. Without air circulation, a frightened, barking dog would have consumed whatever small amount of oxygen was in there. How many people had to sit listening to the plaintive barking of a trapped dog for two hours and do nothing?

Why didn’t one person stand up and say “Take that dog out of there?”  Why didn’t other people join that one voice of reason and say, “Take the dog out of a luggage bin. ”Why didn’t they react when the dog barked itself to death during the flight – only to express outrage on social media once they got home?

It’s a terrible tragedy that a number of otherwise presumably intelligent people allowed a young puppy to be locked inside an airless overhead bin. But why direct moral indignation at a faceless airline company as though it were the villain?

Maybe after this traumatic death we can think about how we might someday find ourselves in a position to do the “right thing” – and that’s an opportunity we should never avoid. It only takes one righteous person to speak up in order to galvanize a whole crowd of people to resist the “wrong thing.”
Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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Win an #IsleofDogs Prize Pack! #Giveaway

We’ve got a special giveaway of interest to movie-loving dog lovers! Enter to win a special ISLE OF DOGS movie prize pack to celebrate the release of this new stop-motion-animated film from…



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DogTipper

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Remembering Irie, 2008-2018

Today I need to write the post that no pet lover wants to face. We lost Irie to cancer on Friday. Her illness was sudden and unexpected; a vet visit on Tuesday diagnosed a tumor on her spleen….



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DogTipper

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Buddy’s DNA Results are In!

Recently I told you about Buddy, our neighbors’ dog and, ever since he arrived, best friends with Irie and Tiki. He’s already quickly become best buddies with our new puppy Barli (and…



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DogTipper

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Halo Makes FeedSpot’s Top 15 Cat Food Blog List

Halo Cat Food - The Proof is in the Poop

Feedspot is a content reader for blogs and news websites all in one place. Recently, it created a list of the best cat food blogs from thousands of blogs in their index using search and social metrics.

Best Cat Food BlogThese blogs are ranked based on following criteria:

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

Thank you FeedSpot for including us in your Top 15 Cat Food Blog List. We are honored and thrilled to be recognized for changing the way companion animals are fed and farm animals are raised for the better.

Halo Pets

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We Have a New Puppy!!

I am SO excited to announce that we have adopted a four-month-old puppy! Named Baby Bear at the shelter, we’re now calling him Bärli (little bear). He was adopted from the Hill Country SPCA in…



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DogTipper

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6 Ways to Cheer Up Your Dog | #Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Wellness. All statements and opinions are entirely our own. As always, we only share products that our own pets enjoy! When Longfellow wrote “Into each life some rain…



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DogTipper

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I am ethically opposed to BSL for all of the reaso…

I am ethically opposed to BSL for all of the reasons outlined above, specially that it encourages discrimination of pit bulls by other powers.
However, this article is written in such a way that it’s not outright lies, but it is certainly designed to mislead. SFACC does not put people in a position as to force them to surrender their pet bc they can’t afford to spay or neuter. The way this is written is incredibly misleading and irresponsible. SFACC will not keep someone’s pet because they cannot afford to redeem them. They work out payment plans. They have the power to refuse to give someone a pet that they can’t pay for, this is true. But it simply isn’t done (unless there are extenuating circumstances that lead them to believe this is in the dog’s best interest).
Additionally, the legislation was put into place because the mayor at that time wanted to ban pit bulls outright. While this version of BSl certainly is not great, it’s vastly better than banning these precious babies altogether.

While I too am against BSL, and understand where Bad Rap is coming from, it’s pretty hard to be against spay neuter for a dog breed that is disproportionally homeless. Personally I wish that it was mandatory spay and neuter for all dogs.

Bad Rap, you’re better than this. You have the moral high ground-don’t squander it by being misleading and misinformed. Additionally, SFACC didn’t write the law. Maybe you should be more critical of the legistlators at city hall and less critical of the men and woman working hard every day to keep the animals of San Francisco safe and who support the pet guardians of San Francisco in countless ways.
BAD RAP Blog

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DIY Dog Food Puzzle Dispenser

Many of our breed guides specify that you must keep your dog mentally active to prevent boredom behaviors such as digging and chewing. If you are having difficulty keeping your dog occupied, you might try making a food or treat dispenser like the one shown here to make the dog figure out how to get […]


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