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Hiren Patel, Chairman of the Board, SPCA of Texas; Dr. Valarie V. Tynes, DVM, DACVB, DACAW; SPCA of Texas Shelter Veterinary Behaviorist; Tony Carimi, Managing Director, Park Place Dealerships - Photos by Brandon Wade

Members from several local Park Place Dealerships recently volunteered to build a Sensory Garden at the SPCA’s Animal Care Center in Dallas to provide shelter dogs an environment to use their natural senses to relieve stress, and in some cases, to aid in rehabilitation.

“Enrichment is what we use to improve our dog’s quality of life by providing them things in their environment that stimulate them mentally and physically,” said Dr. Valarie Tynes, SPCA of Texas Shelter Veterinary Behaviorist. “Ultimately, when you provide environmental enrichment, you are attempting to give an animal the ability to utilize as many of its natural behaviors as you possibly can. Olfactory enrichment is good at doing that, simply because dogs love using their nose to investigate their world.”

The Sensory Garden’s different textures, scents and materials stimulate a dog's brain, activate their natural canine instincts, and build their confidence. 

“We had some dogs coming in who were high-arousal and high energy like Django, a German Shepherd,” said Rebecca Woodward, SPCA of Texas Behavior Program Manager. “He had some kennel stress, so we started agility training using the Sensory Garden. It completely de-compressed him. Django became a different dog and was adopted right away. We developed a program we call the ‘Django Treatment’ in the Sensory Garden. Some dogs just want to do Zoomies (running around at top speed to burn off energy) so we use the Garden in many ways. But it’s already been extremely useful in our Behavior Program.”

In addition to Park Place providing the supplies for the Sensory Garden, the company’s generous VTO (Volunteer Time Off) program allowed Park Place Members paid time off to donate their time and energy to build the Sensory Garden.

“When we look to give back to North Texas communities where we live and serve, there’s no better advocate for our four-legged friends than the SPCA,” said Park Place Managing Director Tony Carimi. “To start with a pile of boards and some tires and see this end result is very exciting! It’s easy to write a check, and that’s very beneficial, too. But our Members also enjoy giving their time and talents to such a worthy cause.”

The SPCA of Texas plans to rotate dogs in and out of the Sensory Garden three times per day.

Park Place Dealerships has supported the SPCA of Texas financially for many years, but when polled about which causes Park Place Members wanted to personally volunteer their time for, SPCA of Texas ranked very high. 

About SPCA of Texas 

SPCA of Texas is the leading animal welfare organization in North Texas. Founded in 1938, the non-profit operates two shelters, two spay/neuter clinics, two mobile spay/neuter and wellness vehicles, one mobile adoptions vehicle and an animal rescue center, all located in Dallas and Ellis Counties, and maintains a team of animal cruelty investigators who respond to thousands of calls in North Texas counties. The organization does not euthanize animals for time or space. Moreover, the SPCA of Texas serves as an active resource center for an array of services that bring people and animals together to enrich each other’s lives.  

The SPCA of Texas is not affiliated with any other entity and does not receive general operating funds from the City of Dallas, State of Texas, federal government or any other national humane organization. SPCA of Texas is dedicated to providing every animal exceptional care and a loving home. To learn more about the SPCA of Texas, visit

About Park Place Dealerships 

Park Place Dealerships was founded in 1987 and employs more than 1,400 members. Park Place Dealership operates three collision centers, an auto auction, and nine full-service dealerships representing luxury brands including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Acura, and Sprinter Vans. Park Place was acquired in 2020 by Asbury Automotive Group, Inc., a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Duluth, GA. Asbury is one of the largest automotive retailers in the U.S. For more information, visit


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