New group provides food and vet services for pets of low income people with HIV


The organizers of Tucker’s Gift. (Courtesy Cody Dustin)


David Taffet  |  Senior Staff Writer

Pamper-your-Pet-logoA DFW Sisters novice wanted to raise some money to help people with HIV take care of their pets, but was unable to find a group doing that. Seeing a need, Cody and Christopher Dustin decided to take up the cause.

“If there’s a need, we have to do something,” Cody Dustin said.

So they started a new organization called Tucker’s Gift, named after their own dog. Within weeks, they had put together a board and had their nonprofit status in place.

By January, they were in business and by May they were serving clients under the banner, “preserving the bond between warm hearts and wet noses.”

Tucker’s Gift helps provide food and veterinary care for pets of people with HIV. Clients may be referred by an agency or apply directly on the group’s website. AIDS Arms, AIDS Interfaith Network, Health Services of North Texas and Resource Center are already working with Tucker’s Gift and it was named a partner agency of LifeWalk this year.

They have also formed a partnership with the North Texas Pet Food Pantry to provide food for pets.

Dustin said people should never have to face the choice of “Do I eat or do I feed my pet?”

Once a person is approved for pet food assistance, Tucker’s Gift delivers a three-month supply.

They’ve made arrangements with several veterinarians to spay and neuter clients’ pets and to provide vaccinations and wellness checks for those animals. A client makes an appointment and then Tucker’s Gift calls in a payment for services provided. If the client needs transportation to the vet, Tucker’s Gift provides that as well.

“A bootblack from Dallas Eagle did a huge fundraiser for us,” Dustin said, and more fundraising efforts are planned.

Tucker’s Gift will have its next fundraiser, Top Dog Couture, on Aug. 14 in The Rose Room. It will be an evening of high canine fashion, with prizes for best in show, best friends — the “most creative six-legged pair” — and Tucker’s Choice, the crowd favorite.

Registration to enter the event is limited to the first 25 applicants. Go to the group’s website to enter.

Top Dog. 6-9 p.m. at The Rose Room, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. $5 admission or $15 VIP. Enter at