Today I went to the Phoenix Pet Expo. I was really excited because I love large pet events, and I was looking forward to doing some networking. This was the third year I have gone and honestly, it will be my last.
This was Khloee’s first LARGE pet event. She was definitely overwhelmed at first, clinging to her dad. Eventually Matt decided just to sit off to the side with her because she was so anxious. Since I had the stroller, Wynston and I walked around a bit by ourselves. By the end of the expo, Khloee was definitely feeling better. It’s a lot of dogs, people, barking and crowds for some dogs to handle!
It didn’t take long for me to see the first prong collar on a dog. It broke my heart. I even saw rescue volunteers with dogs wearing prong collars! They were all over. I couldn’t believe it. Do these people not realize the emotional AND physical damage that prong collars inflict?! Good gracious. It was sickening. The use of prong collars “can result in both short-term and long-term psychological damage to animals.” For more information on the negative effects of prong collars, here is a great article.
This year the expo seemed to have a ton of boarding and daycare facility booths. I was completely uninterested because I am the marketing director for a luxury dog boarding facility in Mesa, AZ. Something else that changed was the large brands who were giving out pet food. This time they were asking for donations in exchange for the small bags of dog and cat food, when in the past they were free. All of the companies doing this said that they were raising money for “canine cancer research” or “this, that and the other thing,” but I had to wonder how legit they were being. These big brands included Natural Balance and Blue Buffalo, neither of which I endorse. I made a small donation so I could take the bags and donate them to my local animal shelter. However, I did see many people decline.
Toward the end of our time at the expo, I saw a man with a German Shepherd that was wearing a prong collar. As soon as I looked over at him, the man forcibly yanked the dog by it’s neck. I’m sure those spikes from the collar went straight into that poor dog’s neck. I was so disgusted. It took everything I had not to say something. Then I kept thinking about how that dog is treated at home and it is just heartbreaking.
I won’t go the the Phoenix Pet Expo next year. I did not like all the changes, and I don’t want to be around people who think adverse training methods are okay. I’m not going to drive 45 minutes to be around a bunch of animal abusers.
Overall, it was a somewhat disheartening experience. I tried to stay positive and have fun but it was hard. At least I came home with some food for the shelter.