It's the final day of BlogPaws and the day started off with a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11, as today marks the ninth year since the tragedy. The theme of the morning keynote was appropriate: Patricia Callahan, the Director of Development and Marketing for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), spoke about the amazing service dogs that CCI trains and then places with individuals who have become disabled. Some of them are veterans, wounded while serving our country, some are former Olympic-level athletes who have been injured, and others are simply extraordinarily strong individuals who are looking for assistance with some of life's daily tasks: turning on light switches, opening doors, picking up dropped items.
It was a very moving talk, during which a woman by the name of Randi Price came on stage with her Yellow Lab named Lucky. Price has a muscular condition and is in a wheelchair, and decided to get a service animal to help her. She received Lucky from CCI and, as she says, got the greatest gift of her life in being placed with her companion for independence.
Later in the afternoon, I spied another type of animal here: A parrot named Amazon. Amazon is one of the rescues that a Denver-based animal sanctuary called Creative Acres has saved. Creative Acres was founded in 1990 by Maxine Mager as a no-kill, free roam animal sanctuary. They have saved hundreds of different species, from emus to ferrets to dogs, horses and goats. Amazon is a nine year old blue and gold Macaw who for the first part of his life was kept confined to a cage. Maxine told me that Amazon didn't even know he had wings since the cage he was in wasn't even large enough for him to spread his wings out.
He sure can spread them out now - he likes you to say “Beautiful!” when he puts his wings up, and for you to say “Where's Amazon?” when he hides behind his wing. It was very evident that Amazon has a special bond with Maxine. She encouraged me to write about Amazon and Creative Acres to help spread the word and raise money for her cause. You can help save parrots like Amazon by making a donation to Creative Acres.
I also got to catch up a bit with Jessica Bush from Dogingham, who we profiled in our Panelist Spotlight recently in our lead-up to BlogPaws. She even had her adorable dog Judy here with her, so I snapped a pic of them.
Panelist Jessica Bush and her dog Judy
Something super exciting that actually happened last night was that I won one of the raffle prizes - a Bissell SpotBot vacuum! I can't wait to try it out. It's going to be shipped to me, so I'll be sure to post an update on how it works once I get it! Thanks Bissell!
Now it's back to Austin for me, and back to two very special somebodies: my Golden Retriever Charlie and my white fluffy Persian mix, Chubby Charles!