When Tito started the distillery his dog Jo was right by his side. Jo’s food attracted a revolving door of pups, fondly called “distillery dogs” and as Tito’s grew, the dogs stayed. Tito’s loved pets so much that they started Vodka for Dog People, a program that helps pet nonprofits through events like Yappy hours, matching donations, and an online shop. Each year they help about 1,000 animal welfare nonprofits in over 7 countries, hosting over 700 events.
We hope you enjoy our first segment in this series and learning more about Taki and the life of a distillery dog.
How did you come to be the resident distillery dog and spokespup and how long have you fulfilled it?
I didn’t have a forever home and spent my time wandering around Austin looking for companionship until one day when I stumbled across the Tito’s Handmade Vodka distillery. They took me in with open arms, fed me and gave me shelter. At first I came and went as I pleased, but eventually I decided to call the distillery my forever home.
How many pups are in your crew?
It always varies. We get a lot of pups stopping by, some neighborhood pets and some strays looking for a snack or belly rub! In fact in the early days, so many would stop by that Tito started to rehome them and take them to get fixed. Once our program manager Beth Bellanti came on board about 15 years ago, we began to take the pets to Emancipet to be fixed. They turned into a great partner and we’ve been working with them ever since!
The constant visitors also led to the creation of our Vodka for Dog People program, and we’ve been helping pets like me out ever since. What can I say, I’m lucky to have walked into a community of dog lovers!
What are your daily duties in this position?
My day normally starts with a nice big breakfast. After that, I am tasked with the important duty of rolling around in mud puddles. When I’m finished, I’ll head into the office, where I’ll find some of my human friends to pet me. Sometimes they’ll take me on their rounds across the distillery in the golf cart, which I love! In the afternoon I’ll lounge around near the food trucks, soaking up the warm Texas sun and keeping an eye out for any food that may fall on the ground. I’ll usually end my day with some more food and belly-rubs!
What's your favorite pup item in the online shop and which is the most ordered?
My favorite VFDP item would definitely have to be the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Dog Toy. It's squeaky and the best part is that proceeds go towards helping Emancipet make spay/neuter services affordable!
What events are coming up in the Austin area through the end of the year where people can find out more about Vodka For Dog People?
Humans can always visit the Vodka for Dog People website and check us out on Instagram to see some of my friends. We’re also partnering with a few different organizations in the coming months, including Fetch Park Atlanta, Miranda Lambert’s Mutt Nation charity and more! The event I’m most excited about though would definitely have to be the first Austin Dog Yearbook project by Ruff Adventures. I’m going to be featured in the yearbook this year!
I'm a Tito's Taster. Do you ever secretly wish some would spill so you could lick it up?
Never! My humans are very strict about making sure I don’t get into any vodka. They do make sure I get lots of treats!
And finally, what message would you like to get out to dog & vodka lovers?
If there’s one message I’d like to share, it’s to make sure to get involved with your local shelters and animal non-profits. I am very lucky to have found the distillery, but so many of my friends aren’t as fortunate. Everyone can make a difference by volunteering and donating in their local communities.
To learn more about any of these programs, please click on the links or attend the events mentioned.
PLEASE NOTE: No dogs are ever allowed to partake of any spirits as only humans can.