Core Value Accountability Blog: Caring For Our Animal Companions

Core Value Accountability Blog: Caring For Our Animal Companions


Several years ago, Vista created a set of nine Core Values that describe what is important to us as we work to impact the lives of individuals with disabilities and the broader community. For 2022, we have chosen to focus our blog series on these Core Values - telling the story of our students and members and our organization through this important and powerful lens.

September Core Value Highlight: ACCOUNTABILITY 


For the month of September, Vista will be focusing on the Core Value of Accountability. Vista students and members learn that they are responsible to each other and for the results of their actions. They also realize that this applies not just to other people—it includes their animal companions, whether covered in fur, feathers, or scales. 

Owning a pet is a big responsibility, however. A pet owner is accountable for making sure their animal friend gets a good diet, fresh water, grooming, and exercise, as well as routine veterinary care. Vista members understand the importance of their commitment to their pet’s well-being. Keep reading to become acquainted with some of the pets that are part of the Vista community!

Nicole & Bandit

Meet Vista member Nichole and her beloved Bandit! Nichole’s LSI Aimee shared, “During Life Skills Instruction, I support Nichole with cleaning the litter box, feeding and giving Bandit fresh water.” Nicole takes her to veterinary appointments and loves spoiling Bandit with new toys and scratch pads. Living alone, Nichole says that Bandit brings her so much joy and comfort, especially during thunderstorms!


Dana & Lyly and Brandon & Fran

Say hello to Dana and her snorkie Lyly. What’s a snorkie, you ask? It’s a mix of a miniature schnauzer and a yorkie! Dana likes having a friendly face greet her when she comes home from work. She takes her obligation to care for Lyly seriously. This pup likes to wander, so Dana makes sure she’s on a leash whenever they go outside. She also watches that everyone treats Lyly properly, including her young niece who likes to pull Lyly’s tail.

Dogs are a popular companion among Vista members. Visitors to Brandon’s condo are greeted enthusiastically by his 1-year-old poodle pup, Fran. Brandon relishes the unconditional love that Fran shows him. He makes sure that she gets her meals on time and has fresh water available.

Rachel & Cuddles

Dogs and cats aren’t the only furry friends our members care for. Rachel and Cuddles are a popular pair at Settlers Place—when Rachel brings her pet guinea pig out to the lounge, everyone gathers around to take a turn holding and petting Cuddles! Rachel’s aware that Cuddles relies on her; “You have to be responsible,” she explained. That’s why she makes sure that Cuddle's cage is kept clean.


Andrew walking his furry clients; Harry making sure
the feeders at the Discover bird sanctuary are full 

You don’t have to own a pet to be accountable for the well-being of an animal. Vista member Andrew is a popular dog walker in the shoreline area. He knows his canine pals rely on him to get the exercise they need to stay happy and healthy!

And let’s not forget our feathered friends! Harry is the Discover Program’s resident “bird expert.” He’s crafted several beautiful birdhouses and helped start a sanctuary behind the dorms. He makes sure that the feeders stay full so his winged buddies don’t go hungry.

The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship that helps teach our students and members about accountability. It's just one more way that Vista uses experiential learning to guide them on their journey to successful independence.

More to come!