Alamo Heights stray animals find refuge at Pup Pup And Away in northwest San Antonio

A competent and caring hand can go a long way for stray or abandoned dogs.

When such puppies are found in Alamo Heights, Police Chief Rick Pruitt said they are often scared or unaccustomed to being around humans.

The town housed stray or abandoned canids in a kennel that is now closed. For the past two years he has used Pup Pup And Away, a dog boarding, daycare and training facility on the Northwest Side.

Although the original kennel service provided training to prepare the dogs for new homes, Pruitt said the dogs have more time to socialize with other dogs at Pup Pup And Away, which has made all the difference.

“They come out well-behaved, they adapt to homes, and they’re adoptable,” he said. “We are able to turn dogs around much faster and get them into homes.”

But before a dog can make new friends at Pup Pup And Away, it must be quarantined for five days at Acres North Animal Hospital. There they get all the hits they need.

Every year, about 20 Alamo Heights dogs paw at Pup Pup And Away, 5722 Kenwick St., said Stephanie Garza, owner, certified dog trainer and canine behaviorist. On average, they spend about three or four months in training while waiting for adoption. And if a dog is too scared or aggressive to play with other animals in the facility, Garza said his staff work to help him overcome those issues so he can learn to socialize with others.

Balto spent time training and playing Pup Pup And Away before he was adopted. The dog was found in Alamo Heights and taken to Pup Pup And Away as part of the city’s dog shelter program.

Provided by Pup Pup And Away /

A dog that was recently abandoned or ran away from an owner’s home who doesn’t want it back tends to be very easy to get into the program, Garza said. She said strays for a while have tended to require “a little more love and patience”.

Having the opportunity to train puppies and learn what type of home is best for them helps reduce the number of dogs being sent back after adoption, Garza said.

On Friday, Pup Pup And Away was home to an Alamo Heights dog — a year-old husky mix named Roxy. The adoption of furry friends as it is coordinated by the police department, Pruitt said.

The City of Alamo Heights recently renewed its contract with Pup Pup And Away. The city pays a lodging fee of $20 per night per dog and covers the costs of all vaccinations, food, training items, blankets and other materials. All of those costs are being paid for through the police department’s budget, grants, donations and fundraising, according to a presentation given at a January city council meeting.

Garza, who frequently refers to the dogs she helps as “kiddos,” said the money Pup Pup And Away gets paid just covers the costs of the services — it doesn’t mean a profit. His company also partners with other nearby rescue services, but Pup Pup And Away’s main customers are clients and their personal dogs who come for boarding, daycare and training.

“It’s been really, really rewarding,” Garza said of working with the city of Alamo Heights. “As a business owner, it was my way of giving back to the kids who need that help finding a new home.”

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