Thursday, October 21 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
TurfMutt Adoption Event in partnership with the Kentucky Humane Society
Lucky’s Mutt Madness
15 rescue dogs found new homes at the 2021 Lucky’s Mutt Madness. How are they doing now?
By Suzanne Henry
Each year the TurfMutt Foundation, the environmental stewardship and education arm of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), hosts Lucky’s Mutt Madness at the Equip Exposition trade show. The foundation partners with the Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) to give rescued dogs a chance to meet hundreds of trade show attendees. At last year’s event, 15 dogs found their forever homes.
“Lucky’s Mutt Madness connects the people who create America’s green spaces with animals who love their yards as much as their humans do,” says Kris Kiser, President of the TurfMutt Foundation, OPEI, and Equip Exposition. “This event shines a light on the value of the backyard and other managed landscapes and the importance of getting outside, working in our living landscapes, and enjoying them with family, friends, and pets.”
Lucky’s Mutt Madness has had an incredible success rate for matching dogs in need with their people since 2019.
“We are beyond grateful for the continued partnership with Equip,” says Alisa Gray, Vice President of Outreach at KHS. “The Mutt Madness event and week has helped us find homes for over 100 dogs and has been a significant supporter all year. We love the collaboration between outdoor, entire families—including pets—and community.”
So how are the 2021 Lucky’s Mutt Madness dogs settling into their new homes? Here’s a pup-date on a few of the lucky dogs.
Alvin Weekes, owner of Family Matters Property Care in West Haven, Connecticut, knew he was looking for a new best friend when he went to Expo in 2021, so he planned ahead and bought a seat on his return flight for his puppy. Gizmo, an Australian cattle dog/blue heeler mix, was the perfect match for Alvin. “He gave me more love than any other puppy. He just licked my face and then curled up and slept in my arms,” Alvin says. He named the puppy Gizmo—Gizzy for short—because he has spots like Gizmo in the movie Gremlins. “Gizzy is so smart and has already learned how to sit, give his paw, bark, and is learning to roll over,” Alvin gushes about Gizzy, who is now 9 months old. “He’s amazing; I just love that guy.” Alvin says Gizzy is going to doggy bootcamp to get even more training so he can eventually accompany Alvin on his landscape jobs.
Mosby is a pug/Staffordshire terrier mix who is almost 2 years old and was adopted by James Vettese, who does accounting for Barnes Lawncare. “He’s adapted really well with his five new brothers and sisters,” James reports. James is a disabled veteran, and Mosby is in training to be his new service dog. “Hopefully we’ll graduate, and he will be with us at this year’s trip to the Expo.” James adds, “He’s doing great with recognizing my moods and issues, and he relaxes me.” James says all of his service dogs have been rescues. “We truly appreciate our dogs. Our favorite breed is ‘rescued.’”
3. Gracie Lou
Gracie Lou is a mixed- breed dog who was just a baby when Lloyd Weaver, Jr., owner of Virginia Beach Lawncare, brought her home. “She’s finally filled into her paws!” Lloyd reports. Gracie has two human brothers. “She loves our boys, and she sleeps with them at night,” Lloyd says. The family had lost all three of their dogs over the last three years, and they knew they would get another rescue dog eventually. Prior to Lucky’s Mutt Madness 2021, Lloyd’s wife was on the KHS website looking at adoptable dogs, and Lloyd set an alarm so he could be at the event as soon as it started. “I wanted a younger dog of a smaller mix to play with my kids,” Lloyd says. Gracie Lou was the only female, which is what they wanted, so it made the decision easy. “There were lots of giggles and laughs when we surprised the boys with their new puppy—it is fun stuff.”
Zachary Watson owns Site Pros Landscaping, and his fiancée Alissa Wells works at the business with him. They weren’t planning to adopt a dog at Lucky’s Mutt Madness, but Kaia, a super spunky spaniel mix who looks like a lab, caught their eye and captured their hearts. “She’s a real outdoor lover,” says Alissa of their 9-month-old pup. “We recently bought a new house, and she loves to spend time outside chasing squirrels and running around.” Kaia
has an older brother, Snowman, who is also a lab mix, and the two have really bonded. “They are best friends now,” Alissa reports. “Snowman is her biggest toy.”
Keegan is a goofy dog that can be a “little dickens” at times, according to his owner, Judy Brzezinski. “He’s totally spoiled in this house!” Judy exclaims, adding that Keegan sleeps in the king bed with his humans at night and has lots of pillows and toys around the house to keep him entertained. Keegan was a surprise gift to Judy from her daughter-in-law Patti Beres, who adopted Mutt Madness pups for her own family at the two previous events. Judy says Keegan, who is a 7-month-old lab/spring spaniel mix, likes to be the center of attention. “He is a spoiled-rotten spark blossom, and we love him,” Judy says. She adds that Keegan likes to be outside in the yard, though his favorite spot is anywhere his humans are. “He wants to be with us all the time.” The family has two boats and they plan to get Keegan a life jacket so he can join them on the water this summer.
Louie is a mixed-breed pooch who is the namesake of the Equip Expo’s host city, Louisville, Kentucky. “So many people suggested that name as I was walking around with her at Expo that by the end of the day her ears were perking up when I said it,” says Tyler Russell, the general manager at Russell Tree and Lawn Service in Hillsboro, Missouri. “She’s a great pup.” Louie joined a fun-filled pack where she has two dog sisters (Lucy and Pattie), two cat sisters (Kitty and Smoke), and a 2-year-old human sister named Maggie. One of Louie’s favorite games is to chase Maggie while the little girl rides on her mom’s back. “It’s tons of fun for everyone!” mom Kelsey shares. She adds that Tyler has a huge heart and would adopt another dog at the 2022 event if they didn’t already have a full house. “He wants another one, but I told him we’re good for now,” she laughs.
Rudy, formerly known as Roo-Roo, is a golden retriever/Nova Scotia duck toller mix who was 10 weeks old when he was adopted by Mark Brabandt with RBI Shelter Tree. Rudy is now 9 months old and thriving. “He’s my sidekick. He adapted really quickly and was really easy to train,” Mark says. Mark says his family has another rescue dog, a German shepherd/great Dane mix named Roni, whom they call Ro-Ro. “When I saw Roo-Roo at Mutt Madness, I knew I had to get this dog. We tried the Ro-Ro/Roo-Roo thing for a while but it got really confusing because they would both come, so we switched Roo-Roo’s name to Rudy.” Mark adds that the two are great friends. “Rudy and Roni are like brother and sister. She taught him where to potty in the yard and they play together all the time. They were meant to be.”
If you are inspired by these cute dogs to adopt a pet of your own, the TurfMutt Foundation encourages you to take a break from the show floor to visit—and maybe even adopt!—a rescue dog at Equip Expo in October. The 2022 Lucky’s Mutt Madness event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Freedom Hall.
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