Serving El Paso County · Texas

El Paso Animals’ Largest Benefactor

Dean Travis’ Generosity Rules Operations at PETsBARN

This Q&A article with Dean Travis from our "Food Partnerships” page appears here in
its entirety. This article was originally published November 2008.

Q. PETsBARN has such an extensive history in the El Paso community.
mmHow long have you been in business?
A. The company has been operating for more than 55 years, and we've been the primary community supporter of animal health and welfare organizations in the region for 25 years.

Q. How many locations does PETsBARN have?
A. We have eight in El Paso/Las Cruces, two in San Antonio and another opening in San Antonio in March [2009].*
*PETsBARN currently has 17 locations in Texas and New Mexico.

Q. What do your stores offer to pet owners?
A. PETsBARN is a one-stop shop. We have an extensive selection of food and supplies for dogs and cats of all breeds. Plus we have everything needed to feed, house and properly care for pet birds, tropical aquarium fish (both fresh and salt water), plus small mammals, like gerbils and hamsters, as well as reptiles, rabbits and horses.

Q. Don't you also have wild bird supplies?
A. Yes, every store carries wild bird food for all types of birds, plus feeders and specialty items to attract and feed hummingbirds, which are very popular.

Q. What about big fish, pond fish, like koi, the Japanese gold fish?
A. PETsBARN has the largest selection of koi fish and supplies in the region during spring and summer months.

Q. PETsBARN is known for its service to pet owners. What sets you apart
mmfrom other pet stores, other than the fact you don't sell dogs and cats?
A. All PETsBARNs have great ease of access in every location. Every one has convenient curb front parking and customer representatives who will load purchases, plus we listen to what pet owners want and carry an excellent variety in pet food and supplies to keep their pets healthy and happy. Our staff is kept educated and up-to-speed on everything we carry and are always available to answer pet owners' questions.

Q. Health is the number-one concern of pet owners. What do you think
mmis the key to good pet health?
A. Sound nutrition. Pets must have nutritious, well-balanced food in their diets to ensure a long, active life. That's why we developed our own line of pet foods, formulated specifically for dogs and cats of every size and life stage. We make it at our El Paso plant. We use only the highest quality ingredients, like meat and bone meal, poultry meals, flax meal and poultry fat to maximize digestibility and ensure energy, shiny coats, bright eyes and healthy skin. Operating our own plant, we can control every aspect of our pet food production right to the packaging and delivery to our stores. We are able to cut out several middlemen and offer a great product for the best price possible. They're 100% guaranteed and AFCO approved.

Q. What about pet snacks? You carry a large variety in your stores.
A. Yes, we have many different kinds of pet snacks and treats. That aspect of our business expanded so much, we also built our own treat and biscuit plant. It's amazing how nutritious they are, how appealing they are to owners and how pets go crazy for them! And they're at every location. Our fresh baked treats are made from human ingredients with no added preservatives. We offer unique formulas such as Cherry and Flax biscuits, Sweet Potato and Oatmeal, Blueberry and Oatmeal to name a few. And we make the treats fresh each week here in El Paso.

Q. You sell so much food and supplies, but do you ever sell dogs and cats?
A. NO, we never sell dogs and cats. PETsBARN doesn't sell companion animals because the ones in pet stores come from puppy/kitten mills. Also, we believe that encourages spur-of-the-moment purchases and pets should not be spur-of-the-moment additions to families. There are too many animals and too few to love them as it is. That's why we offer our locations and "Pet-to-go" Adoption Trailer as satellite adoption centers for animal groups, including the Humane Society, Animal Rescue League, Greyhound Pets of America and From the Heart Rescue, among others.

Q. Many people see the PETsBARN's "Pet-to-go" Adoption Trailer at pet adoption fairs and parked at shopping centers. Tell us about the van...
A. The PETsBARN's "Pet-to-go" Adoption Trailer is a fully outfitted mobile pet adoption unit that works with participating local animal rescue groups to travel and showcase adoptable pets to potential new families across the community. It usually operates on weekends but we're working to get it out there and take advantage of its availability even more often. And with every pet adoption, we give certificates for a year's worth of free pet food.

Q. Wow! Now that's an incentive! What are some of the other ways
mmyou support animal health and welfare groups, besides as a satellite
mmadoption center?
A. We provide deeply discounted food and supplies to these rescue organizations, often times for free, plus we offer pet food partnerships to groups like Therapet Eldercare, which provides food and veterinary care for the dogs and cats of El Paso's qualified low-income senior citizens. People can contribute to the Therapet pet food fund at any PETsBARN and PETsBARN matches each contribution. Plus we monetarily support programs of these groups, sponsoring the El Paso Veterinary Medical Association's Annual Community Awards Banquet and El Paso Animal Hall of Fame and many other animal programs.

Q. That sounds like a lot of money!
A. Over the years, we have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to animal health and welfare groups across the region.

Q. What should pet owners and potentials know about sharing their
mmlife with a pet?
A. Pet ownership is not a right, it's a privilege. With privilege comes responsibility. People should (1) think it through before getting a pet-don't do it if you can't commit for the life of the pet; (2) if you do decide to get a pet, adopt from a shelter, rescue group or breed rescue group; (3) invest time in training your pet-don't let behavioral problems become an excuse for parting with him or her; (4) tag and microchip your pet-it's the law and it's your pet's ticket home should he or she become lost (El Paso Animal Services now "wands" all pets to check for chips); and above all, (5) spay or neuter your pet. Irresponsible pet owners are why El Paso euthanizes more than 25,000 pets each year.

Q. What else can caring pet households do?
A. Pet health is in your hands. Make regular visits to your vet and again, spay or neuter your pets. Keep them up to date on ALL their vaccinations, especially rabies, and keep them on heartworm prevention medication. And if you're thinking about adding a new dog or cat to your family, make adoption the option. There are hundreds of wonderful animals available to forever homes at any given time at a myriad of area rescue organizations. Finally, because it's the holidays, send a contribution to your favorite animal health and welfare organization. Our challenging economy makes it very difficult for many non-profits to continue with their programs and services. Your gift helps the animals and 501(c)3 donations are tax deductible.