UT’s Landmarks joins Austin Pets Alive!, Blue Dog Rescue for annual dog walk

Anna Canizales

During the annual Landmarks Dog Walk, students and their dogs gathered on campus Sunday to explore public art and introduce dogs in need of adoption to the community.

The dog walk guides dog owners and prospective owners around campus to discuss public art pieces, many of which are on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, said Christine Gwillim, Landmarks interim education coordinator. Landmarks, the University’s public art program, curates art that is free and accessible to everyone, according to the website.

While adoptions were not available on-site, Tina Maines, a member of the board of directors at Blue Dog Rescue, said she hopes the event will increase the number of people willing to adopt or foster dogs in the coming weeks. 

“There aren’t very many opportunities for pets on campus,” Gwillim said. “Since dogs are so mobile, it’s a really interesting way to interact with the (art) collection.”

After an introduction by Gwillim, attendees split into four groups led by Landmarks student volunteers. Each group walked to different spots around campus, stopping for the dogs to drink ice water and chase squirrels along the way. The volunteers discussed the public art pieces and provided context.

“Public art is so different from others,” studio art senior Marissa Dunagan said. “Because this is public art, everyone interacts with it. The partnership is good for both parties, because it also lets people have fun on an art tour when they may not otherwise come.”

Gwillim said Landmarks Dog Walk started five years ago when a member of Landmarks volunteered at Blue Dog Rescue and wanted to combine the two programs. Since then, Blue Dog Rescue, an organization that finds homes for dogs in Central Texas, has co-hosted the event every year.

Landmarks also collaborated with Austin Pets Alive! this year to expand the audience and continue to promote adoptions, Gwillim said. Austin Pets Alive! is an animal rescue service which offers programs to prevent animal euthenasia, according to its website.

“We love the art, and we love to watch the changes every year,” Maines said. “We usually don’t partner with another rescue, and I know they brought in Austin Pets Alive! Both of us have the same goal and that’s to find homes for dogs that don’t have homes.”