We are still recovering from all the fun we had a couple weeks ago at the Super Pet Expo at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va.
We joined more than 150 exhibitors the weekend of March 16-18 in offering education, entertainment and unique, pet-centered products to area animal lovers.
And while we know we were technically there to raise awareness about the availability of orthotic and prosthetic devices for animals (that’s our business, after all), really we just wanted a chance to cuddle all the puppies. And there were soooo many puppies. From packs of frisky Pit Bull puppies to fluffy Golden Retrievers and German Shepherd puppies, to puppies so tuckered out their owners had to carry them from booth to booth- we’ve never been on the receiving end of so many excited licks or smooshed our faces into so much soft fur in one weekend. It really was a dog lovers dream.
Of course, doggy snuggling wasn’t the only perk of hanging out at booth No. 705 for the weekend. We were thrilled to be able to reconnect with some of our Animal Ortho Care clients, many of who sought out our booth just to tell us (sometimes tearfully) “thank you” for helping their dogs.
We snapped a picture with one of our first clients, Tony “Toe Toes,” a sweet Welsh Corgi born with paws that were shaped like lobster claws. Tony, who’s a senior dog now, stopped by in his St. Paddy’s day finery ready to accept a few scratches while his owner asked about tweaks to his orthotics.
We heard story after story from owners who said that the braces we made for their pet helped them avoid surgery and regain their mobility or helped them heal more easily after surgery.
The field of animal orthotics is relatively new, so we are no less grateful to our clients who were willing to trust their pet’s care to us. Every success story warms our hearts and reaffirms that we’re in the right business.
When we weren’t catching up with old clients, we were answering questions about our devices, how they work, what type of injuries they can help with, and how the process of ordering and fitting a brace works.
One woman came to us in tears saying she’d hoped she’d find us at the expo. Her dog had just been diagnosed with a torn ACL that week. Her vet was recommending surgery, but she was uncertain she’d be able to keep her super-active dog immobile for the months of recovery required after surgery. She’d been researching alternatives online and found information about braces, but had plenty of questions (for good reason). By the time she left our booth, she had a little peace of mind and a phone number to call when she was ready to decide on the right treatment for her dog.
We heard from several other pet owners who wished they’d known about the availability of braces for their dog years ago. Other passersby just stopped by to say that they didn’t have a pet, but thought it was cool a company like ours existed.
Like we said, an awesome weekend.
Awesome and entertaining.
We happened to be located near the front entrance of the Expo, so were able to enjoy an endless parade of animals. Many, like Tony, were dressed in green and sporting shamrocks to celebrate their Irish heritage (or was it their owner’s Irish heritage?). There was a trio of pups that walked by outfitted as the Justice League. There were dogs in tutus, dogs in bow ties, dogs in feather boas and dogs in fancy coats.
At one point we were delighted to find ourselves in the middle of an impromptu corgi meetup (Queen Elizabeth would have been jealous of the wagon-full of ‘em that rolled by).
The weekend didn’t totally go to the dogs. All friendly pets were welcome at the show. We spotted a couple of kitties in backpacks and (thanks to the reptile show) a whole lot of exotic snakes. There were even a few pot-bellied pigs in attendance thanks to exhibitors from the Pig Placement Network.
By the end of the weekend we’d handed out stacks of brochures and business cards, snuck a dog biscuit or two to passing pups and enjoyed lots of great conversations with fellow animal lovers. We’re already looking forward to next year.