BYOD: Zilker Park hosts furry friend social

Zilker Park Meet Up Group Photo Blog

Dogs of all shapes and sizes came out to pawty at the 2nd annual Bark in the Park meetup, hosted by BYOD. Zilker Park is known for hosting events such as Austin City Limits and the Trail of Lights, and now the BYOD Dog Pawty. 

BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Dog, and it was obvious that the people of Austin followed these instructions. Hundreds of dog owners came out for the event, and their dogs could be seen running all throughout the park and enjoying the sunny January day. 

Volunteers handed out “puppuccinos,” and BYOD owners got goody bags full of fun treats for their pups. The “puppuccinos” were very popular among some dogs, despite only being a cup of whipped cream.

Dogs of all ages ran in the park, but a 9 month old Husky named Blue was more comfortable in his owner’s arms. Blue’s older brother, Lucky the Husky, was in attendance as well. 

“Blue loves chasing his shadow. Lucky loves going through my laundry and finding socks,” owner Nestor Carrasquillo said. 

Dog owner Leo Savage has been in Austin for 2 years, and his 9 month old French bulldog is named Butter. They frequently come to Zilker to play, and Savage says Butter enjoys “breaking up dog fights and hanging out with packs of girls.” Savage brings Butter out with him often, and the staff at Austin coffee shop, Summer Moon, know Butter by name.  

This meetup benefitted Austin Pets Alive!, a partner of BYOD, and proceeds went towards APA!’s rescue mission. APA! is a local organization that saves cats and dogs from euthanasia. 

Dog owner Aurora Weiden rescued her 1 year old dog, Koda, from APA!, where he was treated for parvo, a contagious illness in dogs. Now, Koda is better than ever, and could be seen making friends all morning throughout the park.

Founder of BYOD, Michelle Trejo, is from Houston, and her journey to building this company started as a personal one. While she was in graduate school at Rice University, Trejo would take her dog, Lily, out to eat with her every Friday. However, once management of their favorite restaurant changed, dogs were no longer allowed. 

“Some energy from above motivated me. I thought there had to be other dog owners in America’s fourth largest city that want to know where they can take their dog to eat,” Trejo said. 

As just a hobby at first, Trejo started an Instagram page where she would take pictures of her dog on patios to post and quickly gained a following. One of the members suggested Trejo throw an event to bring all the dog owners together. She just needed to come up with a name for the event.

Inspiration struck after her conversation with the bar manager where she was hoping to hold her first event. “BYOB always comes up for bar events, so I turned the B to a D for dog events,” Trejo said. “We gained a lot of momentum after that, and in the fall of 2018 we launched our events in Austin. The rest is history.”   

Author: Gracie Watt is a Hilltop Views Staff Writer and Photographer 

The article is originally published in Hilltop Views. 

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