Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Puppy Mill Awareness Day Austin

Last weekend, we had a blast at Puppy Mill Awareness Day here in Austin. Not only were we able to share our love of pets and our support of ending Puppy Mills in Texas (and everywhere else for that matter), we were also able to catch up with some old friends and make lots of new friends. 

PMAD started with the VIP Party held on Saturday night, which included a silent auction where I donated the portrait of Anya, which was originally painted for a fundraiser in April. Unfortunately, it didn't sell in April, but we were able to raise some funds with the portrait in the silent auction. I have not confirmed what the final bid was, but there was a bidding war going on before we left the party! 

In addition to the silent auction, the VIP Party hosted a live auction of paintings made by puppy mill survivors themselves. The pups, who were once locked in cages 24/7 and bred until they lost count of their babies, were able to share their artistic skills and help raise funds for dogs who may not be as lucky as they have been. 

Then, on Sunday, the big festival at Fiesta Gardens in beautiful downtown Austin was held from 10am - 3pm. The festival hosted several rescue organizations, vendors and lots of family friendly activities! 

My friend, Tara with Training by Tara hosted a very special agility demonstration with T.D.A.W.G (Texas Differently Abled Working Group, where these awesome 'disabled' dogs shared their skills. TDAWG focuses on dogs with disabilities such as deafness and blindness. These dogs use scent training to learn how to navigate the obstacles and I will be honest, many of them do a better job at the obstacles than my own seeing/hearing pup, Holly when she does agility! 

Later in the day, the Puppy Mill survivors all got together and paraded around the festival in a celebration of how far they have come. During the parade, live music played in the background and our special guest speakers waited patiently to share their thoughts and stories on puppy mills, as well as share information on how to end these terrible facilities. After the parade, Karma the Flying Pit Bull and her buddies Bruizer and Justice put on an amazing Frisbee show! 
While the VIP party and the festival are both fun and exciting events to attend as a Vendor, the more important issue is that Puppy Mills still exist in every state, even where they are outlawed. This festival focuses on ways to avoid supporting Puppy Mills and showcases many animal rescues and shares things that you can do.

  • Adopt form your local rescue or shelter. Purebred dogs make up an estimated 20 - 25% of all shelter pets. If your shelter does not have the breed you are looking for, use resources such as Petfinder.com to search your area for that perfect pooch!
  • Never buy a puppy from a pet store. True reputable breeders will always want to know where their puppies are going. A breeder that sells dogs to a pet store has no idea what kind of owner is adopting their puppies and truly cares more about the money than the welfare of those animals being sold. In addition, when you buy from a pet store, you have no idea where that puppy came from. Always look into your breeder and visit the facility or home that your puppy was raised in. 
  • Don't buy a puppy because you 'feel bad for it'. I understand the heartbreak that you feel when seeing those sad puppies in the pet store, but when you purchase a puppy, you are supporting the breeding facility where they came from. If you think a pet store puppy is sick, report it to your local agency so that the store can be looked into.
  • Support organizations like PMAD, who work hard to end puppy mills.
Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

Enjoy more photos from PMAD 2013: