ST. GEORGE — Feel like showing some love to shelter dogs this holiday season?

Stock image | Photo by Ilona Shorokhova/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Alisha Benson has an idea.

She and her husband volunteer at the Washington City Animal Shelter.

“I knew when Thanksgiving came, I wanted to just give all their dogs a little Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and whatever else,” she said.

Inspired by a friend who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is working on a similar concept, Benson said she decided to raise money for the shelter and began taking orders via social media.

“I thought I was just going to have my friends purchase (them), but it turned out to be bigger than I thought,” she said.

“Pupsgiving” will consist of turkey, sweet potato mash, mini pumpkin pie and bone broth, among other treats.

Over 40 people have placed about 127 orders — 52 for their pups and 75 to donate to various shelters in Southern Utah.

Meals will be delivered to the Washington City Animal Shelter, St. George Animal Shelter, LaVerkin City Animal Control, Hurricane Animal Shelter, New Start K9 and Because Animals Matter, known as BAM. She has also contacted the Santa Clara-Ivins Animal Shelter.

This flier shows what a “Pupsgiving” dinner contains | Image courtesy of Alisha Benson, St. George News | Click to enlarge

Benson plans to call other animal welfare groups if she has any leftovers.

With just Benson and her husband cooking, she will likely stop taking orders this Friday, Nov. 17, and begin cooking on Saturday. The first orders will be available for pick up on Sunday, and they plan to deliver to shelters on Monday and Tuesday.

Pupsgiving proceeds will be donated to the Washington City Animal Shelter to help them buy equipment, food or medical care. Benson said she hopes to purchase a shade structure to allow the dogs to stay outside longer in the summer when it gets “drastically hot.”

“I’m thankful for the community,” she said via Facebook Messenger. “It’s been so cool to see how many people are willing to participate to help give back. I had someone donate a Turkey and Dr. Harvey’s (food company) is donating Dr. Harvey’s as part of the meal. I definitely couldn’t do this without everyone’s help!”

Benson recommends volunteering at a local shelter for those who can’t support them financially or who miss the cutoff to make an order.

“I think people always just think they can only donate money, but you can help, whether it be like walking a dog or helping clean the shelter — things like that,” she said.

Stock image | Photo by rojoimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

“I know money is tight for everyone and time is tight for everyone, but if they have even an hour or a week to either to (reach out to) either their local city shelter or nonprofit, just to see if they can be of help in any way,” she added.

For those hoping to adopt a dog or cat over the holidays, Benson advises researching first to ensure they have the time and money to care for them.

“A lot of dogs end up in the shelter because then they realize they can’t really take care of the dogs,” she said. “So I hope one day that will slow down. … Maybe if you’re not ready financially for a dog or you don’t have enough time in your day to have a dog of your own, a good way to get your dog fix is volunteering at the animal shelter.”

Cooking up Pupsgiving at home

Southern Utahns can also give their pups a taste of Thanksgiving with this pumpkin dog treat recipe from Zoetis.


2 cups of flour
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
A 1/2 cup of peanut butter.

Zoetis reminded readers not to use pumpkin pie filling as it may contain ingredients harmful to dogs. Additionally, pet owners should check peanut butter ingredients to ensure it doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Mix pumpkin purée abd peanut butter in a large bowl.
Stir in flour until a dough is created.
Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick on a counter lightly coated with flour.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
Place the treats on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving approximately 1/2 inch between them and bake for 12 minutes.

Additionally, pet owners can treat their dogs to a mini pumpkin pie with a recipe from Bechewy.


1 egg
1 cup of oats
1 can pumpkin purée


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Grind oats. Mix in an egg and a tablespoon of water.
Press the mixture into muffin tins.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Let the crusts cool.
Fill them with pumpkin purée.

For more information about Benson’s Pupsgiving, click here. To find a shelter nearby, visit Pet Finder.

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