Across the Country and Locally in Austin
History: In early 2007, Bless the Bullys introduced the idea of an annual National Pit Bull Awareness Day, encouraging pit bull advocates everywhere to host celebratory events in an effort to garner positive media attention, promote responsible ownership and combat existing stereotypes. The National Pit Bull Awareness Campaign is a nationwide effort to bring positive awareness and attention to the American Pit Bull Terrier and their responsible owners.
Goal: National Pit Bull Awareness Day was established as a day to educate and foster positive communications and experiences in the communities in which we and our dogs live. It is a special day to focus on these incredible dogs and their devoted, responsible owners; a day to change perceptions and stereotypes.
In 2009: Love-A-Bull celebrated National Pit Bull Awareness Day with events featuring John Garcia of Best Friends Animal Society, the primary rehabilitator/trainer of the dogs seized from Michael Vick. He conducted two standing room only in-services for local rescue and shelter staff, as well as led our Pit Bull Parade and hosted our screening of National Geographic’s “DogTown” episode in Zilker Park. That year’s Fun Fest drew over 500 attendees, vendors, rescue groups and attracted various forms of media coverage.
In 2010: Love-A-Bull hosted animal welfare crusaders, Rescue Ink, and Shorty “Pit Boss” Rossi (from Animal Planet’s “Pit Boss” television show). Rescue Ink and Shorty were the “Grand Marshals” of the Pit Bull Parade up Congress Avenue, which drew upwards of 1,000 four-legged participants (pit bulls the vast majority of them) and 3,000 two-legged participants. Over 60 vendors and rescue groups set up booths at the Fun Fest, which also featured training demos, question and answers with our special guests, games, giveaways, contests and a silent auction. The event generated news coverage on all local, several regional and a handful of out-of-state news outlets (including cnn.com). Love-A-Bull was also featured prominently in the episode of “Pit Boss” filmed at our event, which aired nationally.
In 2011: Love-A-Bull welcomed a wonderful menagerie of special guests from all over: BAD RAP Co-founders Tim Racer & Donna Reynolds, musician John Shipe, actress Holly Marie Combs, YouTube sensation Sharky, and Karma the Flying Pit Bull with brothers Bruzair and Justice. The Pit Crew, Sharky & mom Helen, plus Love-A-Bull’s co-founders in a pedicab led the huge gathering of families and their pit bulls – some in excellent costumes – that paraded up Congress Avenue arriving at Republic Square to over 65 businesses, rescue groups, and food vendors set up in the park. And Deb O’Keefe, local host of the 101X radio morning show and guardian of a pit bull named Blue, was our emcee for the event.
In 2012: Love-A-Bull’s Texas-Sized Pittie Pride events featured Tia Torres of Villalobos Rescue Center well-known from Animal Planet’s “Pit Bulls and Parolees” TV show, and VRC’s Jake Gardner now running his own rescue. Gordon ‘Shotgun’ Shell also attended to help celebrate and spread awareness to end dog fighting. LeRoy Golden’s canine pack: Bruzair, Justice, and Karma wowed us with another stellar Frisbee dog demo. The parade and festival attracted a record-breaking crowd – over 300 pittie families were documented in the World Record quest. An expanded Wellness Clinic included even more resources, information, and services such as discounted heartworm check vouchers, free microchips, free spay/neuter appointments and plenty of leashes, collars, and other supplies. The event also included Love-A-Bull’s ever-popular Pittie Kissing Booth, costume contests, Q & A with special guests and experts, and over 70 vendor booths.
In 2013: Love-A-Bull’s Texas-Sized Pittie Pride 2013 events celebrated FIVE years by continuing the tradition of raising awareness, bringing together dog lovers of all kinds, and honoring our four-legged friends with the theme “All Dogs Are Created Equal.” LeRoy Golden’s canine stars Bruzair, Justice, and Karma amazed and entertained with another fantastic Frisbee demo. The parade and festival drew many hundreds of participants, with the costume contest as a bit hit. Our Wellness Clinic included a full array of resources, information, and services such as access to veterinarians on-site, discounted heartworm check vouchers, free microchips, free spay/neuter appointments, and leashes, collars, ad other supplies. The Pittie Kissing Booth featured Pit Crew dogs giving love to visitors, and our Q&A included Pit Crew trainer, Crystal Dunn, who demonstrated some therapy dog work for the crowd. The festival offered a park full of vendor booths from trainers, retailers, and service providers.
In 2014: Our Sixth Annual TSPP Weekend was a success! With hundreds of pups and their families turning out to show their pride for our weekend of festivities! The Sunday Parade up Congress Avenue made its way to Republic Square Park where a free festival with vendors, games, contests, music, silent auction, training demos, and mini-clinic was held. We hosted an online contest this year; 1,000s of photos were submitted to vote for our official prom king and queen. We enjoyed having the winners, rescue pups King Porky and Queen Nani as our Grand Marshalls in this year’s parade! Canine celebs will included “Flying” Frisbee dogs with LeRoy Golden and Love-A-Bull’s Pit Crew (one of the first all-pittie therapy dog groups in the country). We welcomed back our VIP guest, Gordon “Shotgun” Shell for a fabulous weekend of pittie focused events! Additionally, Love-A-Bull partnered with Frank Restaurant again this year to showcase a new public artwork in downtown that is currently still up in downtown Austin! Check out our amazing video below made by Videographer Chase Martinez! You can also see the event pictures here.
In 2015:Our Seventh Annual celebration of National Pit Bull Awareness Day, in Austin Texas has been changed up this year. This change is due to our favorite location in downtown Austin (Republic Square Park) undergoing Phase II of the City of Austin’s Emerging Projects plan. The construction at the park has given us the opportunity to showcase and partner with an exciting and new Austin based dog-focused business, Yard Bar! The Yard Bar has a restaurant and bar on-site and Love-A-Bull will have our team of volunteers available to answer any questions and introduce you to some of our amazing Adopt-A-Bull’s. We will be featuring several vendors, including our wonderful friends from Emancipet, as well as games, silent auction items and the chance for your pup to receive a free microchip.
In 2016: Love-A-Bull changed up the location to celebrate at the beautiful Rosewood Park in East Austin. Due to an incredibly generous donor, we were able to host our very first Chloe’s Clinic and offered the community FREE vaccinations, microchipping and spay/neuter vouchers, along with FREE dog food and a leash exchange. We had the wonderful and talented Deb with 101X as our emcee and the community enjoyed lively demonstrations from Sit Means Sit, Zoom Room, Flying Disc Dogs of Austin and a special presentation from Officer Mullenax and former Adopt-A-Bull Peaches who is now a narcotics detection dog. In addition to all of this excitement we had our dog walk, Silent Auction, Costume contest, great swag, and Kiddie Corner where our Pit Crew Therapy dog teams were able to interact with families and children and of course our amazing vendors. Check out the video below: