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Photo courtesy of The Vets

Austin, one of the largest no-kill shelter cities in the United States, already knows a lot about adopting instead of shopping. A puppy is a wonderful addition to the family, but senior dogs need love (and are loved), too. As many have learned firsthand, taking care of a senior pet can be challenging — with higher medical bills, potentially heavy lifting as joints stiffen, and tough decisions to make about what kind of care is necessary — but also incredibly rewarding.

November is National Senior Pet Health Month, calling for awareness about an older pet’s needs, and providing opportunities to celebrate wins all over local news. In Austin, one of those wins came in scrubs. The Vets, a mobile veterinary service that makes house calls, expanded into Austin in 2022 (after launching the year prior), eventually bringing the national count to 16 locations including Houston and Dallas. Texas and California are tied for the most locations, at three each.

“Among the top reasons that pet owners avoid or postpone their visit to the vet clinic include the stress of transporting their pet, restrictive pet carriers, and crowded waiting rooms,” explained a statement from the company. “Our no-rush visits give your pet the time to bond with our vet and you the opportunity to ask questions. And you always have the option to rebook the same vet to help grow that special relationship over time.”

This team provides care for every stage in a pet’s life, and most of their needs, too; that’s everything from routine wellness exams, microchipping, nutrition consulting, and even emergency services including those with specialized equipment like ultrasound machines. When the time comes to ease a pet’s end-of-life transition, the team also offers at-home euthanasia, dramatically reducing stress for both pets and people who don’t want a sterile environment or a tearful drive home.

The American Veterinary Medical Association lists many needs for senior pets, including increased medical care, vaccinations, and pet parents that are observant about environmental concerns like house structure and stimulation. With a home vet, pet owners might consider asking for opinions on how to streamline some of these interactions, without having to worry about having to write notes, try to remember potential issues in the space, or miss any important details a professional would see right away.

A good vet can make animals comfortable no matter what, but The Vets emphasizes the stronger relationships that its team can build in a comfortable, stress-free environment. In addition to a more convenient and comfortable experience, this can also mean better care for a pet that doesn’t have an entire puppyhood to adjust.

More information about The Vets, including scheduling, is available at thevets.com.

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Renowned neighborhood for unhoused Austinites to expand by 1400 homes

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR

A 24-year-old Austin nonprofit serving the city’s unhoused community has announced an expansion of a master-planned neighborhood designed for individuals coming out of chronic homelessness.

Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) was founded in Austin in 1998 and started the largest prepared feeding program for the homeless in Central Texas. They developed Community First! Village in northeast Travis County in 2015 to provide permanent housing and a supportive environment to the city’s homeless community.

Currently, the Village houses over 350 formerly homeless men and women on 51 acres of land. The first phase of the neighborhood features 100 RV/park homes and 130 micro-homes, while phase two brought the total property to over 500 homes. The expansion plan for the next two phases was first announced in April 2021.

Home designs for phases three and four of the Village are a collaboration between MLF and several Austin architecture firms, including Mark Odom Studio, which has worked alongside MLF to refine the site layout.

The 700 micro-homes for each new phase will range between 144 to 200 square feet with six custom floor plans. Five layouts will be single-floor, and one layout will have two floors. Each micro-home prototype will have a porch and is expected to “reflect and accommodate the different personality types of its inhabitants,” according to a press release.

“Mobile Loaves & Fishes has created something truly special at the Community First! Village. Everyone we worked with, from directors to neighbors, brought so much knowledge and experience to the table,” says Paul Holmes, project manager at Mark Odom Studio in the release. “We’re excited to see the community they built come to completion with phases three and four.”

MLF’s site design concept for the Village is known as the 14 “Neighborhoods of Knowingness,” where each “neighborhood” is a cluster of homes centered around shared common buildings, including outdoor kitchens, laundry areas, restrooms, and shower facilities. This was designed specifically for neighbors to get to know one another and develop a sense of community.

Infrastructure work on the 127-acre neighborhood expansion is expected to begin in early 2023, with move-ins projected for 2025. Once the neighborhood is fully developed, Community First! Village will have 1900 homes on 178 acres.

Here are the top 5 things to do in Austin this weekend

Weekend Event Guide

Live performances in Austin are aplenty in the days to come. From sketch comedy shows to classic fairytales marked by a glass slipper, the stage is set for top tier entertainment with a local twist. Check out the top five things to do in Austin this weekend. For a full listing of events, go to our calendar.

Thursday, January 26

ZACH Theatre presents Cinderella
Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella takes new, dual-language life at ZACH Theatre. This special production of the Tony-nominated musical fairytale will be performed simultaneously in English and American Sign Language for audiences to enjoy. Familiar favorites like “In My Own Little Corner” and “Impossible” are certain to entertain and delight fans old and new. Followed by the opening weekend, shows are scheduled through March 5. For more information, visit the ZACH Theatre website.

The Latino Comedy Project: Gentrif*cked
Equal parts comedy and poignant social commentary come to life on stage at the George Washington Carver Museum. Emmy-nominated sketch troupe The Latino Comedy Project delves into the gentrification pandemic happening in Austin and nationwide with a mix of music, live sketches, and original videos. Tickets are available for purchase here.

Friday, January 27

Ginuwine in concert
R&B superstar Ginuwine brings his signature serenades to Austin for one evening only. Since his rise to fame in the 1990s, he’s released seven albums in his career and is the voice behind hit songs like “Pony” and “In Those Jeans.” For tickets to the ACL Live & 3TEN at ACL Live show, click here.

Saturday, January 28

Austin Opera presents Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The Long Center for the Performing Arts welcomes the darkly comedic story of Sweeney Todd to its stage for a three-night-only run, beginning this weekend. Follow Todd and his murderous quest for revenge as he returns to London after being wrongly exiled and stripped of his family. A select number of tickets for all performances are still available.

The Little Gay Shop and Eastside Pop-Up present Queer Flea
Pick up your new favorite wares and support local LGBTQ+ makers at The Little Gay Shop this weekend only. The shop and Eastside Pop Up join forces to offer the community a market featuring more than 40 vendors, food, coffee, vinyl records shopping, and more. For a list of participating vendors and to get tickets, go to the event website. Admission is free and open to the public.

Courtesy photo

Austin Opera presents Sweeney Todd.

6 Austin restaurants score coveted James Beard Award nominations

2023 James Beard semifinalists

The James Beard Foundation has revealed the semifinalists for its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards. Six Austin restaurants have been included in both national categories and the coveted title of Best Chef: Texas.

Considered the Oscars of the food world, the awards recognize outstanding chefs and other culinary professionals in a wide range of categories ranging from Outstanding Chef to Best New Restaurant. The awards also include media categories that will be announced at a later date.

Austin restaurants and bars are well represented among both the national and regional awards. Overall, the city earned three national nominations and three nominations for Best Chef: Texas. Perhaps one of them will follow Austin chefs Edgar Rico, Iliana de la Vega, and Jesse Griffiths, who took home James Beard Awards in 2022.

They are:

Outstanding Restaurant: La Condesa
Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker: Mariela Camacho, Comadre Panadería
Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program: Suerte

Best Chef: Texas nominees

Photo by Julie M. Neis

Tavel Bristol-Joseph earned a nomination in the Best Chef: Texas category.

  • Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Canje
  • Damien Brockway, Distant Relatives
  • Kareem El-Ghayesh, KG BBQ

Elsewhere, Houston and Dallas both boast 10 nominees, San Antonio has seven, and Fort Worth has two.

As with last year, the nominees include a wide range of barbecue pitmasters. Austin’s KG BBQ and Distant Relatives are joined by the pitmasters at five other restaurants. Building on Austin chef Iliana de la Vega’s Best Chef: Texas win last year, several chefs who serve Mexican cuisine received semifinalist nominations.

Finalists will be announced on Wednesday, March 29. The Foundation will reveal its winners at an awards ceremony on Monday, June 5, 2023, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.