Posts Tagged ‘free’

PBAD | Artist to offer pet portraits during flagship event

Stephanie Conrad is a self-taught artist who has combined her love of animals and artistic talent to help Austin-area animal rescue organizations. Love-A-Bull leaders have named Conrad’s The Pet Studio as the exclusive provider of pet portraits for the organization’s third annual National Pit Bull Awareness Day.

a pit bull mix licks a woman's chinConrad donates 10 percent of every commission to the anmial rescue of her client’s choice. In November,  when a client mentions Love-A-Bull, Conrad promises to donate 25 percent of commissions to the group that founded the nation’s first all-pit bull therapy dog group, The Pit Crew.

Love-A-Bull is inviting all pit bull lovers to join the effort to set a new record for the world’s largest gathering of pit bull type dogs during PBAD on Sunday Nov. 6 in downtown Austin.

A pit bull parade will start at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Austin American Statesman building at Barton Springs and Congress. The parade will lead to a festival 1 – 5 p.m. at Republic Square Park, 422 Guadalupe St. Both events are free and open to the public.

For the latest details, including special guests, vendor booth information and ways to volunteer, visit the Love-A-Bull homepage.


a pit bull mix snuggles with a cat

Pit bull mix Holly shares a spot on a cushion with feline friend Izze Belle

Q&A with Stephanie Conrad:

Tell me about the animals in your life.
I currently share my home with 4 pets. Holly Madison, my pit mix , who absolutely adores my cats, Jazz and Izze Belle. Cody O is a Shih Tzu, Dachshund, Scotty mix.

How did you get involved with animal rescue?
Rescue has been a huge part of my life for so long, it just seems natural to have different rescue organizations on my radar, like Love-A-Bull. I started as a rescue volunteer in Houston 10 years ago when I was 16. I have since been really involved in rescue, both with fostering, as well as education, and I am a huge no-kill advocate.

A dog sits next to a painting of itself
Stephanie Conrad offers pet portraits to clients through her business The Pet Studio.

Describe what it means to be able to paint pet portraits.
It’s incredible! Not many people get to live their dream, especially at 26 years old. I started this business with a painting I did for a friend after his lab passed away. So many people loved it, that I was asked to do more and more. Now only a year and a half later, I have over 10,000 fans on facebook and am able to do something that I truly love for a living. It’s been such a fast-paced year but I am so honored when someon orders a painting from me. I have done more than 200 individual paintings, and I am still so overjoyed when someone orders a piece. It feels unreal sometimes.

three paintings depict abused dogs: a dog appears starved, another is locked behind bars and another is chained
Stephanie Conrad’s series depicts three mistreated dogs to raise awareness for ending dog abuse.

What was the best part about PBAD last year?
My favorite memory from the actual day was seeing the parade approaching the park. It was so calm and quiet, and then suddenly this wall of people and pit bulls flooded Republic Square Park.

In general, it was such a lighthearted and happy day. It was wonderful to see so many other pit bull lovers socializing and showing support for these amazing dogs.

What will you be doing different for PBAD this year?
Since last year, we have started a second business doing T-shirt design. We are bringing that business with us to this year’s PBAD, as well as The Pet Studio’s portraits. I will be donating a couple of custom portraits for the silent auction.

For more information about Stephanie Conrad’s work, visit her website The Pet Studio or e-mail You can also follow her latest projects on The Pet Studio blog.

Come out this Saturday to Practice for the CGC

Love-A-Bull is sponsoring a free practice session for the Canine Good Citizen test 9 a.m. Saturday at Shoal Creek Greenbelt and Dog Park.

The meeting will include coaching and advice from Love-A-Bull trainers. Read AKC’s detailed description of the CGC test. Teams will work on as many drills as time permits.

What to bring:

  • 6-foot leash
  • 20-foot lead
  • collar (buckle or slip collar made of fabric, leather or chain) or a harness that does not restrict the dog’s movement
  • brush or comb
  • treats
  • water



9 a.m. Meet and greet
Gather at the three benches to the west of the Shoal Creek Greenbelt & Dog Park parking lot. See map below.

9:15 a.m. Practice starts
Participants will go over as many exercises as time allows with special attention paid to those skills individual teams need help with the most.

10:30 a.m. Practice ends
Feel free to stay in the area for a walk.   Please keep in mind that neighborhing Pease Park requires dogs to be leashed.

To RSVP for CGC practice, visit Love-A-Bull’s page.

Advanced class teaches pit bulls restraint

When a group of four pit bulls first gathered in the lobby of the self-service dog wash and day care that would be their training classroom for four weeks,  their excitement made it difficult for handlers to control their behavior. Some dogs barked while others would not stop pulling toward their neighbors.

mud puppies logoBy the final class on July 24, they could lie still while handlers placed treats, squeaky toys and balls within reach. When entering or exiting the classroom, the pit bulls could sit at the open door and wait for the signal to go through.

The pit bulls had learned obedience.

The group met once per week at Mud Puppies, 12233 N. FM 620, a self-serve dog wash and day care that partners with Love-A-Bull to provide a space for free training classes for members.

Trish Jones, a Certified Canine Behavior and Training Specialist, showed the group how to use positive reinforcement to achieve training success.

“The most rewarding part for me is having these wonderful dogs in my classes and seeing the difference between the first class and the last class, she said. “It is an amazing feeling to me to see these people really working hard and taking the time to make their dogs well behaved.”

Trainer offers skills

Jones, owner of The Confident Canine, has been training dogs professionally for more than 12 years and shares her home with 9 dogs rescued from shelters. She started offering her skills to Love-A-Bull in May.

a woman sits on  a bench surrounded by four dogs
Trish Jones knew she wanted to be a dog trainer after she met pit bull Rocky. While in school to be a veterinary tech, a classmate brought the sick puppy into class. After nursing him back to health, Jones became his guardian. Training the stubborn pit bull convinced her to help others overcome the difficulty of caring for challenging dogs. Photo courtesy The Confident Canine

“Love-A-Bull is such a great organization.  The amount of work this organization does to educate the public about pit bulls is remarkable,” she said. “I am proud to be a small part of that.”

In class, students learned a variety of commands, such as “watch me,” “stay,” “leave it” and “heel.”

Jones encourages her students to take the dogs as many places as possible on a regular basis to practice the commands.

She hopes the people who have attended her classes will continue to do more with their dogs, such as getting a Canine Good Citizen certificate, doing therapy work, learning search and rescue skills or participating dog sports, such as agility.

“The more visible  these well-trained dogs are, the  more their reputation will improve,” she said. “I hope they take my advice to heart so that everyone can see that these dogs are special.”

Kimbo learns

When the free class started July 3, a white pit bull mix with black spots called Kimbo was so excited by the new surroundings and other dogs, he slid across the polished cement floor as he entered Mud Puppies. When Jones gave instructions, he often got up to sniff nearby classmates.

A pit bull sits in front of Mud Puppies, a self-serve dog wash and day care.
Kimbo spent countless hours in and out of class to learn the skills needed to pass the Canine Good Citizenship test. Photo by Joseph M. de Leon

As the weeks progressed, he learned to pay attention to his handler. Kimbo usually stayed when told and when his mind wandered, he responded more quickly to corrections.

He was beginning to master obedience.

“Kimbo is such an adorable boy — he draws you in with his doe eyes and he reminds me of a marshmallow! I can’t help but smile when I see him in class,” Jones said. “Kimbo has a wonderful temperament. He’s fun and loves to play, but he is also capable of being calm.”

On July 31, Kimbo is scheduled to take the Canine Good Citizen test at South Paws Playschool, 2324B South Lamar Blvd. It will be his second attempt. Two months ago, he passed seven of 10 sections of the test.

If he passes, Kimbo will be one step closer to joining the Pit Crew as a therapy dog.

Those interested in taking the next Canine Good Citizen test, noon July 31 at South Paws Playschool, can visit Love-A-Bull’s page for details.

Local Pit Bull Nonprofit Awarded National Achievement Grants


DATE: November 17, 2009

MEDIA CONTACT: Lydia Zaidman (718) 791-5493

AUSTIN, Texas — Love-A-Bull, a local nonprofit education and advocacy organization, is proud to announce that it has recently been awarded two grants from the Animal Farm Foundation. Love-A-Bull has received the Project Support Grant to fund a program recognizing pit bulls attaining the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) distinction, and the Achievement Award Grant for outstanding achievement by one group member dog.

The Animal Farm Foundation was founded in the 1980s to improve the lives of dogs labeled as “pit bulls” and to protect all dogs from discrimination and cruelty. The Foundation awarded Love-A-Bull the Achievement Award in recognition of Mocha, a Staffordshire Terrier, and her achievement as a Canine Good Citizen and Certified Therapy Dog, and her appearances at public events and in the media. The grant specifically notes that Mocha “is opening hearts and changing minds about all dogs who appear to be pit bulls through her achievements, especially in the community of Austin, Texas.” Mocha’s guardian, Lydia Zaidman, is a co-founder of Love-A-Bull.

The Foundation also recognized Love-A-Bull’s training program, awarding funding for each canine member of the group who achieves the Canine Good Citizen status, a rigorous ten-step temperament and behavioral test administered by trained professionals through the American Kennel Club. The grant is intended to promote responsible pit bull stewardship, the primary focus of Love-A-Bull’s mission.

To underscore the importance of training, which is central to responsible dog ownership of any breed, Love-A-Bull offers its members a free, four-week training program, with sessions filling continually throughout the year. The training sessions are held at Southpaws Playschool and are led by experienced, professional trainer, Jessica Wilson. To date, more than 90 dogs have participated in the training, with more than 10 Love-A-Bull members’ dogs attaining the CGC distinction, and 4 working as Certified Therapy Dogs in hospitals and schools. More information on the free training program can be found on Love-A-Bull’s website at


Mocha, Canine Good Citizen and Certified Therapy Dog, Animal Farm Foundation Grant Award Recipient

About Love-A-Bull: Love-A-Bull is a 501(c)(3) organization, composed of over 450 local owners committed to responsible ownership of pit bulls and working to share information with the public on issues such as spay/neuter, rescue and training, active advocacy against breed-specific legislation, and promoting a more positive public image of these dogs.


The National Pit Bull Awareness Day Celebration (Oct. 24 and 25) was a HUGE success. Thank you to special guest John Garcia and all the sponsors, vendors, and volunteers that helped us pull it off!

Hundreds of people and their dogs were in attendance throughout the weekend events. We gathered tons of signatures for our anti-BSL petition, talked about our free training program, spread awareness about pit bulls and owner issues, and raised funds for our programs and initiatives.

Congratulations to our raffle winners! Please contact to claim your prize.

  • Southwest Airline Tickets: John Pope
  • $500 Tattoo Gift Certificate: Dwain Williams
  • $250 Lee Mannix Training Certificate: Deb Whitaker
  • $235 Blanton Museum Package: Joe Soto
  • Custom Jewelry by Eleven17Finery: Amy Herzog
  • $100 Gift Certificate from Midtown Grooming: Melissa Alvarado
  • OnGuard Bike Package: Patricia Hutt
  • $50 Gift Certificate to Cafe Josie: Susan Peters

Check out some of the photos of the events (below) and lots more here: and

Family Fun Day (Oct. 24)


Joe Seabrooke wearing a Michael Vick jersey--in the dunk tank!


A bumblebee puppy


The crowd at Family Fun Day

John Garcia and Samantha Foss from Best Friends

John Garcia and Samantha Foss from Best Friends

Pet Parade and Costume Contest (Oct. 25)

Getting ready for the pet parade

Getting ready for the pet parade

A lion

A lion

Arr, matey! Pirate dog

Arr, matey! Pirate dog

Best Friends' John Garcia and Love-A-Bull co-founders Lydia Zaidman and Meghan Turner

Best Friends' John Garcia and Love-A-Bull co-founders Lydia Zaidman and Meghan Turner



One of the contest winners--The Bat Bridge, and a bunch of bats!

One of the contest winners: the Bat Bridge, and a bunch of bats!

National Pit Bull Awareness Celebration on Oct. 24 and 25


Please join Love-A-Bull in welcoming Best Friends Animal Sanctuary’s famous dog handler John Garcia to Austin on the weekend of October 24-25, 2009, to participate in a weekend of family-friendly events in Austin.

John is nationally known for working extensively to rehabilitate 22 of the 49 dogs (now affectionately referred to as the “Vicktory Dogs”) seized from the bust of the Michael Vick/Bad Newz Kennels dog fighting ring. He is best known for his work and public appearances with Georgia, a sweet, 7-year old toothless female pit bull who, despite being a victim of cruelty and abuse, responds with love to all she meets.

The weekend will feature these FREE events:

tinyheartA Family Fun Day with John Garcia
October 24, 5 PM – 9 PM at Zilker Hillside Theater
Free to the public! Dogs on leash are welcome. Chairs are not permitted, but blankets or towels are encouraged.

This fun-filled evening of activities will include:

  • A public screening of National Geographic Channel’s “Dog Town,” including footage of John working with the Vicktory Dogs at Best Friends (begins at 7:30 PM). Courtesy of The Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow.
  • Autographs with John Garcia
  • Games and crafts, including: henna tattoos, face painting, balloon animals, bandanna painting
  • Under Pressure t-shirt silk screening
  • Pumpkin patch photo booth
  • Dunk tank (dunk “Michael Vick” for charity!)
  • Raffle
  • Refreshments: Amy’s Ice Cream, Aloha Sno-Cones and Waffles, Zuzu’s tacos, Solar Natural Foods, Sweet Leaf tea
  • Pick the Pit Bull game, trivia, and prize giveaways
  • Information and adoptable pets from Emancipet, Happy Endings, Town Lake Animal Center, Best Friends, and Reunion Rescue
  • Booths featuring our trainer, Jessica Wilson and Haute Dog Magazine

tinyheartA Downtown Pet Parade and Costume Contest, led by John Garcia
October 25, 2 PM at Austin City Hall
Free to the public! Bring your leashed loved ones and the whole family for this walk through downtown. Austin Java and Lofty Dog will provide rest stops, and there will be prizes for the best dog costumes!  DJ Yoshi will be spinning tunes for your enjoyment. Free Parking in the City Hall Garage (entrance on Lavaca).





You can be a sponsor and see your company logo featured prominently here!

Rolling Roadshow Presents “Dogtown” for Family Fun Day

Thanks to the Rolling Roadshow at Alamo Drafthouse for spreading the word about our event!

On October 24 at Zillker Hillside Theater, Love-A-Bull will celebrate National Pit Bull Awareness Day with a Family Fun Weekend, including a free public screening of the National Geographic Channel show Dogtown. This episode features John Garcia working with the dogs rescued from Michael Vick. The screening is put on by Rolling Roadshow and will begin at dark.

More information on the Rolling Roadshow webpage at:

Please come join us for this fun event!

John Garcia and Love-A-Bull on 101X

As our National Pit Bull Awareness Weekend celebration approaches, we’re going to be featured on the Morning Show with Deb and Jason on 101X (101.5 FM)!

Tune in to 101.5 FM on Wednesday, 10/21, at 9:15 AM to hear Deb interview our special guest of honor, John Garcia, Best Friends’ rehabilitator of Michael Vick’s dogs. He’ll also talk about our weekend full of events.