Friday, February 27, 2015

Paws for Networking

Moby and Pearl being sweet!
Last year, my lovely friend Georganne came up with the idea to create Paws for Networking, an organization that hosts monthly events and invites individuals that are already involved or interested in animal welfare. Over the past several months, she has hosted a collection of these events, all of which have proved successful in both raising funds for the 'rescue of the month' as well as providing very interesting information with her monthly speaker and of course, providing a situation where rescue minded individuals can share stories and network their organizations with each other.

Last night Paws for Networking hosted their February meeting at the adorable Doghouse Dog Park and Drinkery in Cedar Park, TX (just north of Austin, TX). Somehow, I have never experienced this adorable dog park - despite it being only 10 minutes from my house and about 5 minutes from my studio! The owner, Melissa could not be sweeter or more accommodating to her customers. She introduced herself immediately and shared her business off with pride!

Not only does the Doghouse Drinkery offer an adorable off-leash, fenced in dog park, they also have a full time staff that works out in the park to ensure that the pups keep out of trouble. There is a fee to enter the dogpark, $5 daily, or you can purchase a yearly membership for only $50 (what a bargain if you are a dog park regular!). If you don't have a pup, you are still welcome to attend as a visitor and enjoy the picnic tables and chairs situated under several large, shady trees! With the winter weather, we mostly stayed inside the warm bar area to listen to the speaker of the night, Julie Locke and her beautiful pit bulls, Moby and Pearl.

Moby and Pearl were both adopted by Julie and although she didn't even realize what a pit bull was at the time that she adopted Moby, Julie instantly fell in love with the breed (or the family of breeds depending on what you classify as a pit bull). As a trainer, Julie naturally wanted to do something special with these adorable pups, but at the time that she brought them into her life, she had no idea that they would eventually become multi-certified therapy dogs.

Pokey showing off his nose work skills.
Pearl snoozing quietly in the background.
Julie is known for her hands-off training style, meaning she loves to see dogs just be dogs. Julie offers a variety of amazing training programs, but her true passion has become nose-work with dogs. (I will have some videos of Holly doing nose-work soon!). This is not to say Julie doesn't work one on one with dogs to help curb any issues such as aggression, but Julie believes that dogs need to have the outlet to be dogs. So often, we see dogs being treated like little humans, in which case we start to see unwanted behaviors pop up. Julie helps the dogs get back to their natural instincts by working their minds and giving them a job to do.

Watching her demonstration with Moby and Pearl, it was so sweet to see the focus that her pups give her. It is obvious that Julie has developed a relationship based on love and trust with her pups and because of that, they trust her completely. Moby first showed off his tricks, which included a 360 degree 'watch' (basically, Julie asks Moby to keep eye contact with her while she walks in a complete circle around him), speak, wave to the crowd, bow, roll over and just simple recall training, which is possibly the most valuable tool you can give your pup! Pearl (or Pearly as she is so lovingly called) showed off her nose-work skills by finding a 'hide' (hidden scent) on the other side of the room. This was particularly impressive to watch since Pearl was in a crowded room with 5 other dogs and 30 strangers. Pearl found the scent within a minute and proudly stayed with the scent until Julie gave her the cue to leave.

After Moby and Pearl dazzled the crowd, little Pokey, a disabled Dachshund, showed off his nose-work skills! Pokey had the pleasure of training with Julie a few months ago and even though he hasn't been to a class in awhile, he still remembered exactly what to do! 

In addition to Julie's demonstrations, we heard from the always wonderful Love-A-Bull Rescue and met Sully, who is currently available for adoption.

To learn more about Paws for Networking be sure to give them a 'like' on Facebook!

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

Follow Pet Studio Art on Instagram and Facebook

Pearl sitting quietly waiting for her turn to demonstrate her nose work skills!
Georganne, founder of Paws for Networking introducing the speakers.
Sully, available for adoption through Love-A-Bull, inc!
Moby naps after his demonstration!
Julie, owner of Rancho Mondo Canine Center speaking.

Pearl watches her mom, Julie as she speaks to the crowd. 
Lindsey, a Love-A-Bull volunteer shares the Rescue's mission.
Moby may be the sweetest dog in the world!
Cheryl, director of the Williamson County Regional Shelter speaking.
Cheryl answers questions about No Kill and our county shelter.
Pokey has a snuggle with his mom before he does his nose work.
Georganne and Pokey snuggle together as she introduces him to the crowd!
Sweet Moby hanging out on his bed as he waits for his turn to 'wow' the crowd!