Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Go Big! Supporting Great Dane Rescue!

Several years ago I met an incredible individual named Courtney. At the time, I was working for Premier Animal Hospital, the veterinary clinic that she brought her personal and rescue pups to. I got to know her and her pups and of course a friendship grew. Sadly, just before I left the Premier to pursue my own business, Courtney lost her gorgeous Great Dane, Caesar. That day was not only hard on Courtney, but on everyone that worked at the clinic because of the bond we had formed over the years. I took time that afternoon to create an imprint of Caesar's paw in clay and I took it home to paint it specially for Courtney. It was one of the last paw-prints that I made while at Premier (a tradition I started the week I was hired, and one that they continue today) and it was certainly one that made an impression on me.
Courtney's pups, Jersey, Caesar (Rest in Peace) and Grant.
Original Paintings by The Pet Studio. Each measures 11in x 14in.
I didn't really expect to keep in touch with many of the clients that I had met at the Veterinary Clinic. I had worked at vet clinics previously and kept in touch with only a small handful of co-workers and clients from those, so I didn't expect this clinic to be much different. I was very wrong, as it turns out, I made some wonderful friends at Premier and just a few months later, I joined Courtney at a small event that she was hosting with her organization called Puppy Mill Awareness Day. This was the first annual event and my small business was thrilled to join up with Courtney and her wonderful team from Paws of Austin, Great Dane Rescue. Courtney and I re-connected and shortly after, I joined her on the committee for the following year. This event really spoke to me and despite even being rained on during the event, it was an eye-opening experience. 
The 2011 Puppy Mill Awareness Day committee (Left to Right): Sarah (Volunteer Coordinator)
Prima (Founder of Paws), Courtney (Founder PMAD TX), Carol (Founder PMAD National)
Stephanie (The Pet Studio / PMAD Designer) & Tammy (Assistant Event Director)
Courtney and I have spent lot of time together working on Puppy Mill Awareness Day and while I personally have gotten to know her and her experience working with rescue, I wanted to share it with everyone I know. So, Courtney and I spent a little time chatting about her own personal experiences. 

Courtney started with Paws of Austin shortly after moving to Austin from Houston in 2004. She knew that she wanted to find a place in rescue, but was having a hard time deciding what organization she wanted to work with. It wasn't until Hurricane Katrina hit that she found Paws. At the time, Paws was traveling back and forth between Louisiana and Texas, rescuing animals that had been hurt or abandoned in the storm. Courtney was 'in awe of the commitment of Paws and wanted to be part of something so purposeful." Shortly after, she began a serious commitment herself, becoming the Vice President on the Board of Directors and also offering herself up as the special needs foster and Event Coordinator!

We talked about the stories that have touched her the most, like her own baby Grant, who arrived at a nearby shelter after being shipped to the United States from Russia. Grant was in terrible physical condition, and the people that had purchased and shipped him overseas (a $4000 transaction) did not want to spend any more money on him to figure out what was wrong. They expected that he would be euthanized in the shelter, but left him anyway. Paws of Austin was called and Courtney fell in love with him. Grant was about 11 months old and  weighed 80lbs when he first arrived at Paws, he had an extensive spinal surgery and despite his Veterinarian (who also supports Puppy Mill Awareness Day) worrying that he might not live for more than another year. While he may still have a few health issues, Grant is a happy, well-cared for, 5 year old man. 
Grant when he was rescued and now, years later, extremely loved!
We chatted about Austin, a tiny pup with an esophagus issue. Even upon his first exam, the Veterinarian did not think that he would be able to recover. After being tube-fed, given tons of TLC by the volunteers of Paws of Austin and some amazing Veterinary care, Austin is now a healthy pup, living it up in his new life!
Austin, pictured when he was rescued and now!
We talked (and teared up) about Hope, the dog that inspired 'Hope's Fund' which raises money to care for special needs and injured pets. Hope was found on the side of the road, obviously a victim of a hit and run. Hope's leg had been partially torn off and it was estimated that she had been lying helpless on the side of the road for nearly 4 days before being rescued by a good Samaritan. Hope was taken in for Veterinary care and put into a loving foster home, where she was cared for until her surgery to repair her leg. Unfortunately, there were complications after her first surgery and sadly Hope crashed during another emergency surgery. Hope brought joy to those around her during the short time she was with Paws. While she may be gone, she is continuing to help other dogs with Hope's Fund... offering herself and her story as hope for other pups in need.
Hope (Before photo is edited not to show the terrible wound where
her rear leg was severed) before and after rescue. 
When people ask Courtney "Why Animal Rescue?" she responds with "Why Not? I truly believe that this is where I am supposed to be in life and what I am supposed to do. The feeling I get is absolutely priceless and un-explainable. It is so very worth all of the 'thank you' kisses that they give you!"

Paws of Austin (Protection for Animal Welfare Services) is a non-profit animal rescue organization established in Austin, TX for the purpose of providing refuge to stray companion animals. Paws breed expertise in Great Danes.

To make a donation to Paws of Austin, please visit their website at www.pawsofaustin.org and be sure to 'like' them on Facebook, letting them know how much we appreciate their efforts (and of course that The Pet Studio sent you!). Mention Paws of Austin when ordering your custom painting for an additional 10% donation from your piece to be donated to this organization!

Stephanie Conrad
The Pet Studio | Owner | Artist

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