Monday, April 17, 2017

Mutt Monday: Meet Athena

How gorgeous is this face! Athena is a beautiful fawn Great Dane saved by the amazing, fantastic, super-hero rescue organization, Paws of Austin Great Dane Rescue.

This organization is among my favorite rescues to know. Not only do they take on some extremely hard cases (see Sadie as last week's Mutt Monday pooch), but they run completely on donations and volunteer time. Paws of Austin has a fantastic foster family network and works to pull Great Danes or Great Dane mixes from area shelters and/or special situations to ensure they are placed into loving homes vs sitting in a shelter.

Athena is just one of those lucky Paws of Austin pups. She was rescued nearly a year ago from a neglectful situation and sadly, her owners are unable to care for her so she is searching for a wonderful home. Athena is a sweet lady, great with kids and she gets along well with other dogs. She is house-trained and knows her basic commands. Athena is only 2 years young and looking for the perfect forever family to join.

If you are interested in learning more about Athena or any of the pups with Paws of Austin Great Dane Rescue, visit their website.

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tiny Bar, Big Dogs!

King, adoptable through
Paws of Austin
Last weekend, Paws of Austin Great Dane Rescue hosted their annual 'Party on the Patio' event at the tiniest bar in TX. This is one of my favorite rescue events of the year, it has everything you could possibly need for an amazing day - BIG dogs, drinks, music and friends! 

While I love visiting with friends while loving on pups, this event is a great fundraiser for the rescue as well, hosting a silent auction, live raffle and the chance to meet some of the rescue's adoptable dogs. 

Rescue pups, King, Athena, Sadie and several others spent time mingling with the crowd and showing off their good manners and excellent personalities. This rescue does an amazing job of placing dogs who may otherwise not have an option of finding a loving home into foster homes while they wait for the perfect forever family.

If you would like to make a donation to Paws of Austin or to learn more about adopting a pet from this fabulous organization, visit their website here. 

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Mutt Monday: Adopt Sadie

Sadie is a beautiful Great Dane rescued by Paws of Austin in - you guessed it - Austin, TX. She is a small Dane with puppy looks although she is about 1 year old already. Sadie has a severe case of HOD (Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy), a bone disease that affects young, large breed dogs as they grow rapidly. The disease produces swollen joints, lameness and pain, which Sadie is being treated for and given lots of TLC in her foster home. 

Due to her condition, Sadie can barely open up her mouth. It is obvious that Sadie was not at all cared for before she came into rescue and she was slowly starving to death. Happily, her story did not have a tragic ending it could have. Sadie ended up in the loving hands of Paws of Austin and with her new treatment plan, Sadie has put on weight and is on her way to recovery. While her Veterinarians are not yet sure she will ever fully recover, Sadie's condition is manageable and everyone is hopeful that her perfect family will find her! 

For more information about Sadie or any of the amazing Great Danes available through Paws of Austin, visit their website!

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Aritst 

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Mutt Monday: Ruger

Ruger is one handsome and sweet pup! He is friendly and affectionate with people of all ages, he enjoys being around older children and is already house-trained! This boy was surrendered to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter in early April. He loves to learn and listens well, especially when treats are involved!

This cute boy loves to go n walks and explore the outdoors, but also enjoys a nice cuddle and is very appreciative of belly rubs! Ruger needs to be the only pet in a home, but he will be sure to give you all the love you can handle!

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art

Thursday, March 23, 2017

89 cats enter a shelter...

What happens when 89 cats enter an open-admission shelter in Central Texas?

They receive Veterinary care, love and time to settle in before being placed up for adoption and given the opportunity for a fresh start.

The details on where these cats came from are no longer a focus. Of course, the former owners in this case will be prosecuted for animal cruelty (this was a hoarding case), but as far as the shelter staff and volunteers are concerned, now that the animals are in the care of the shelter, the focus is all on the animals. Who needs medical care, who needs an extra blanket to hide under, who needs a little extra food today to help with their weight? The shelter staff has stepped up to ensure that each and every cat has exactly what they need!

In one week, these beauties will be available for adoption. Until then, they will be resting, getting comfortable in the shelter and receiving all the love they could ever want!

Thank you to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter for stepping up to save their lives! 

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mutt Monday: Bunny

Bunny is an adorable, fun, playful and silly pup available for adoption through the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter in Georgetown, TX. This sweet girl loves cuddles and is super-smart. She lives for treats and when you take her out for walks, she almost prances and skips, she is so happy to be out! 
This sweet girl is one of the shelter's Longtime-Loveables, which means she has been at the shelter over 60 days. Her adoption fee has already been paid for, now all she needs is the perfect family to stop by and scoop her up! 

Bunny is a staff and volunteer favorite, so if you decide that she is the one for you, expect to send in a handful of updates because we will all want to see how she is settling in to her new life! 

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Give me all the tennis balls!

Holly's bucket list continues with her very favorite toy - well, 15 of them! Today, we took a swim (a favorite activity) and enjoyed some fetch with her 15 new tennis balls.

Holly is doing well with her treatments, she is currently on medication to reduce the swelling in her lymph nodes and pain medication to keep her comfortable. As you can see, she is still very active and has a great quality of life. We love seeing our girl have so much fun!


Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Donuts, donuts and more donuts!

The title of this post may be a little misleading, Holly only had one donut, but oh boy, did she love it!

Last month, we received the news that our girl has cancer. Due to the location, surgery isn't an option at this point, so we are committed to making her final days - however many she may have - as comfortable and as fun as possible!


Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Worst News...

Cancer. It felt like a punch when our Veterinarian confirmed the diagnosis we feared. Looking down at Holly's nervous eyes as we sat in the exam room at the clinic, I fought back tears as Dr. B went over our options and shared her knowledge about this terrible disease. Expectations. Signs of pain. A timeline for survival. It all seemed so surreal. 

It was only a few weeks earlier, after playing fetch in the yard, as we do on a daily basis, I noticed a small scrape on Holly's chin. Believing that she had caught herself on the deck or scratched herself on a stick, it wasn't much of a worry until the bump persisted for a week or so. Knowing that she may need some antibiotics to kick an infection if that were the case, we stopped in for a visit with Dr. B. She worried that it could be something more, so we biopsied this annoyance. The biopsy showed nothing, so antibiotics were given and we went about our day. Fast forward to a week into the antibiotic treatment, the small lump began to noticeably grow, so we stopped by for a recheck. Fearing that the previous biopsy had missed something, we ran a second test and had it sent out for a more in depth culture. This culture confirmed the worst. Cancer. 

Holly - 1 month after her diagnosis. The tumor on her chin
has grown to about 1/2 a ping pong ball size.
Mast Cell tumors are not uncommon in dogs, particularly in breeds like Staffordshire Terriers, which Holly is a mix of. After speaking about our options, we decided surgery was the best option to remove this tumor, so we scheduled our surgery for 5 days later. On day 4, Holly woke up with a tennis ball sized lump in her throat and swelling up and down her chest. We immediately contacted Dr. B and Dr. T, who opened up their schedules to get us in immediately. At this point, we realized how aggressive this tumor had become. Her lymph nodes were highly inflamed and it was confirmed that the disease had already spread further than the surgery could cure.  We spoke about our options and treatment plans, and left with more information than we knew how to handle. 

After speaking with several veterinarians, friends who have experienced a similar diagnosis and searching our own souls to decide what was right for Holly, we were left with two options. Chemotherapy, which has a low chance of helping to extend her life by more than a few months or a treatment plan that focuses on her quality of life and ensuring that she is pain-free for whatever time she has left. We chose the latter and are committed to ensuring that or here out, every day is the best day for our Holly-girl. 

So now, as I sit outside, with Holly happily kicking the cushions off of our patio furniture (one of her favorite things to do - she is an odd one), I am reflecting on the amazing 10 years we have had together. The only hard part of owning a dog is saying goodbye. Holly had a rough start to life before we adopted her, so now, as our promise to her, she will have the best last few months any dog could ever dream of.

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Artist

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Women's March inspires artwork!

Love,  not hate. 
I recognize that there are many people out there that don't get the Women's March. It didn't directly impact their lives and they found the interruption in their social media news feeds more of an annoyance than a touching movement. To those that weren't there, you may never understand the true impact this march had on me personally and that's fine. As an American, each one of us is entitled to our own views and opinions. As an artist, I believe that the right to express ourselves peacefully is incredibly important and that right is one of the many reasons that I chose to join the Women's March.

Agree with it or not, this post isn't about opinions. This post is about me, an artist and a person who wants to bring more positive energy into this world. I spent a lot of time unhappy and angry in my past but over the last decade, I have discovered who I am and what I believe in.

On Saturday, I decided to take myself to the Texas State Capital building in Austin, TX because I wanted to be part of this march. I thought I would take a few photos, say hello to a few friends who I knew were attending and take myself out for a solo lunch date. My partner and best friend, Chris was away on business, so I didn't have him by my side, as he would usually be for events such as this. After arriving at the Capital, I was amazing at the growing crowd. Not only was the lawn filled with women, but men and children, every ethnicity and people of all shapes and sizes were mingling together. The energy was electric.
The Pussy Cat tote bag. $15 each.
50% of each sale will be donated to Hope Alliance.
As it happened, the crowd grew and I was never able to actually connect with the friends I expected to see, but happily ran into an unexpected friend who also attended solo. We both decided it was meant to be and went with our fate, spending the day together, walking among strangers to show solidarity.

After the event was over, I felt like I was flying, the energy and confidence that this crowd had created was pulsing through me. I immediately came home and started painting and focusing on what I wanted to do next. Of course, I wrote my representatives (you can do it as well) and took the actions that I feel every citizen who wants their voice heard should, but I was left with a need to do more.

It was then that I realized I needed to create something special. Inspired by the hundreds of 'Pussy Hats' at the march, I created my 'Pussy Cat in a Pussyhat' tote bag and reached out to a local non-profit that I know and love, Hope Alliance Crisis Center. I will be donating 50% from the sale of each Pussy Cat tote bag to Hope Alliance Crisis Center in an effort to raise awareness and donations for their incredible services.

Hope Alliance offers support to family and sexual abuse victims and is one that personally helped me through some of the toughest years in my own life. After my assault, I was able to seek counseling and find compassion in a support group, which in turn changed my life.

The Women's March in Austin, TX.
While I felt the Women's March was empowering and motivating, I have seen some rather negative comments and have even been asked why I felt it was so important to get involved. To me, this March felt natural, I felt a calling to attend and looking back, I would not change a thing. As a person who has been marginalized and is viewed as a statistic to some, I felt the need to show my support for programs like Planned Parenthood that work to provide care to women. I felt the need to show my support to the LGBT community, who may be at risk of losing their rights under our new administration. I felt the need to show my love to our minority community, who fight every day to be viewed as equal. I felt the need to speak up because, due to my first amendment rights, I can. I deserve to be heard as much as every other citizen.  I didn't march to protest the new president, I marched so that he and every leader of our country will hear my voice. I deserve an administration that works to protect my beliefs, so I took action and marched with millions of others who felt the same. I marched peacefully, happily and proudly and I will continue to make sure my voice is heard.

If you didn't like the March, that's okay too. It's your right. Have an opinion, that's cool, but keep the hate to yourself. I am all about Peace and Love and the real focus here is that I am working to raise donations to better the lives of my fellow citizens!

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art |  Owner | Artist

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Learn more about Hope Alliance Crisis Center here.

A few of my favorite photos from the Women's March on Austin.