I had the BEST long weekend. Last Thursday, I flew to Atlanta, Georgia, for BarkWorld Expo 2015. The annual event explores social media, technology, and business as it relates to pets — think SXSW but for dog and cat lovers instead of music and film fans.
The fun kicked off that afternoon with speed-dating rounds between various attendees. Among others, I got to chat with the couple behind Dogs of Instagram, Ashley Paguyo and Ahmed El Shourbagy, and with Jackie Fuller, social media manager for Angels Among Us Pet Rescue.
After that, it was off to the premiere party for Lucky Puppy, our new sister magazine. Dogster and Catster Executive Editor Vicky Walker and I greeted guests and snapped pics on the red carpet, while community manager Lori Malm did live interviews via Periscope. Everyone had so much fun.
The next two days were filled with helpful presentations and inspiring speeches, including keynotes by Gus Kenworthy, the U.S. skier who rescued street dogs during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and Shorty Rossi, aka the Pit Boss.
Several Dogster writers also made the trip to Atlanta: Lisa Plummer Savas, Meghan Lodge, Susan C. Willett, and Toni Perling. Look for their BarkWorld-inspired stories in the weeks to come.
But enough about the humans, let’s get to the dogs who attended BarkWorld. Here are five of the awesome pups I met.
I met a few famous dogs at BarkWorld, including Tuna of Tuna Melts My Heart Instagram fame. Marimar Masso took the above photo when Tuna and his human, Courtney Dasher, stopped by her 10-year-old daughter Isabella’s booth. You’ll hear more about Isabella’s Pet Shop in an upcoming Dogster feature, but know now that she made the adorable bow-tie the famous Chiweenie is sporting here.
My Boston Terriers, Spot and Dolly, stayed with friends while I attended BarkWorld. Thankfully, sweet Louie was there to give me a smushy-faced fix. His human, Karen Dibert, let me love on her Frenchie more than a few times during the event, and for that I am grateful. Like Isabella above, Karen makes the most wonderful bow-ties and collars for dogs. Check out her Etsy shop.
3. Surfin’ Jack
The spokesdog for Lucy Pet Foundation and chief product coordinator for Lucy Pet Products charmed attendees while spreading her adopt-a-shelter-pet message. The 2-year-old Golden Retriever-Saluki mix came from Los Angeles East Valley Animal Shelter. She’s also a service dog, which showed in her ability to stay calm and collected during the blur that was BarkWorld.
4. Sophia Loren
Every time I saw Sophia Loren, I couldn’t help but feel underdressed. Her outfits were stylish and perfectly accessorized. She was also as sweet as can be. To see more of Sophia Loren’s fashions, check out her blog, ghostwritten by her human, the equally lovely Anne Maria Tafoya.
Shorty Rossi’s keynote speech was one of the highlights of BarkWorld 2015 for me. He was inspiring and funny, all the while educating attendees about breed-specific legislation and the need to fight it. Hercules also entertained, gleefully destroying a toy on command in about 10 seconds flat. Good boy!
We were all on the same delayed flight to Houston, Texas, which left Shorty and I plenty of time to chat about this and that over lunch — Hercules curled up on my feet, which made me feel a little less homesick for my own pups. I don’t take many selfies, but I made sure to snap the above pic as a memento of the only time in my life I didn’t mind waiting on a plane.
These are just five of the awesome dogs I met at BarkWorld 2015. There were many, many more, and if you accompanied one of them, please share your pics and experiences in the comments.
See you next year!
About the author: Longtime journalist Pamela Mitchell loves dogs, so much so that she made them her day job in 2014 by joining Dogster.com as Senior Editor. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her sweet and stinky Boston Terriers, Dolly and Spot. Read more of her writing on Dogster.