Halo donates a bowl to animals in need with every purchase.

The Dog Film Festival Was Boffo in Chicago!

Gia and her adopted family - Dog Film Festival

The dog lovers of Chicago came out in droves to see the Dog Film Festival at the wonderful Music Box theater, which worked right alongside the Festival team in doing PR. We chose Chicago because our national sponsor the Petco Foundation had given a grant to the great shelter group PAWS Chicago, which also helped to get the word out about the film programs, from which they got 50% of every ticket sold.

It really helped that the Festival sponsor Why Does My Dog sent their own Aly Delacoeur to do two TV interviews in the days before the Festival, and then I had the pleasure of doing an early segment live on the Sunday morning of the Festival itself. The folks at Fox 32 News were so welcoming and I had brought a Dog Film Festival limited edition t-shirt to thank a terrific PAWS volunteer, Tom Garrett, who came with a sweet little white dog named Gia, who was up for adoption.

Showing the dedication of volunteers who believe that “every dog deserves their best possible life,” Tom had taken Gia home with him the night before so they’d be ready for the 7:30 AM call at the studio. The (very handsome!) show host George was so kind and made us feel right at home. I couldn’t help telling Tom’s secret which was that Gia had not left his side since he’d brought her home, including insisting on sleeping in his bed and driving in his lap (much to the surprise of Tom’s own Labrador!)

Right after our conversation it was time for the local weather report, offered by their famed Illinois meteorologist, Mark Strehl. And get this: during the commercial break Mark said that Gia had fallen for him, because she hadn’t taken her eyes off him on the sidelines during the entire interview. So he asked if he could hold her, and he did so lovingly during his entire weather report!

Then he graciously took a photo with me and Gia afterward.

Tracie Hotchner, Chicago weatherman Mark Strehl with Gia the dog

And all that extra attention paid off more than we might have imagined: Gia went to the Music Box theater and hung out outside while movie-goers streamed in and out, but she had already been “put on hold” by a family that saw her on the news! She’s the little smiling white one in the photo!

And to gild the lily, the other pooch at the theater, a darling hound puppy, Ducky, was also adopted back at the shelter after the Festival wrapped up.

Ducky Gets Adopted - Dog Film Festival

It was such a thrilling day: so many happy Chicagtoans enjoying the films and the messages of love and hope for dogs and their people. The two dogs who came got adopted. And founding sponsor Halo, Purely for Pets, gave their customary 10,000 bowls of food to another shelter in Chicago that PAWS chose to share the bounty. (more on those Halo food donations next week!)



Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.

Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.

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