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An interview by RVMS Marketing Co-chair Jocelyn Hutt

'Tis the Season…for families to bring new pets into their lives, so we stopped in at Unleashed by Petco the other day to ask the manager, Ashley Kelly, and the Supervisor, Antonio Fernandez to give us some tips on what the holidays are like for new pets.

“Puppies can get overwhelmed very easily in all the chaos of the holidays,” says Ashley,” so acclimate them very slowly if possible. And resist feeding them table scraps – no onion dip!” If you want your pet to have a Turkey dinner, they actually offer something called “HOWL-iday Dinners” from a company called Frenchie’s Kitchen, which makes gently cooked and healthy meals for dogs.

They recommend letting the new pets get used to people in small groups – and remember that puppies and kittens tire easily. And speaking of tiring easily, pet beds are still one of the most popular ‘gift’ items for pets, along with special pet treats. Unleashed has a huge selection of beds (a memory foam bed made me wish I was a puppy!)

If you are bringing a new pet into your home, along with all the ‘fun’ items to be purchased, Ashley and Antonio don’t want you to forget about vaccines, and Unleashed has a vaccine clinic every month, where you can bring your pet in for his/her vaccines and you needn’t worry about the ‘visit cost’, just pay the cost for the vaccines.

Unleashed also offers free 15 minute seminars twice a month on training your pets – everything from a Canine Good Citizen Test to a Meet Your Dog Trainer – they even have a Positive Dog Training (do they have one for cats I wonder?) If you are in the Village, swing by and grab their calendar of events.

Giving back during the holidays is something that is on everyone’s minds and at Unleashed, the staff is allowed to choose specific charities for donation. Ashley works with Tree of Hope in Chelmsford and Antonio works with Operation Delta Dog; a charity that really tugs at our heartstrings in the most wonderful way. Delta Dog’s mission statement: Founded in 2013, Operation Delta Dog works with experienced trainers and positive-reinforcement methods, we rescue homeless dogs from Massachusetts shelters and breed-rescue groups and train them to work as service dogs with local veterans who are suffering with TBI and PTSD.

Saving lives; human and canine – what could be better? If you’d like to learn more:

And before we left, we asked Ashley what she wanted for Christmas….not surprisingly…she wants another puppy!