top of page



At Pawgress, we believe humane education is a critical component of animal welfare. By broadening and deepening our understanding of animals, we break down the harmful perceptions that can lead to public health and safety issues.


Pawgress founder Rusty Barnes is a skilled and authentic communicator, who regularly conducts customized seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics and for a variety of audiences, including at corporate events. Drawing upon his past experience working in animal shelters and in youth educational services, Rusty has a particular passion for improving the observational and critical thinking skills of children, which reduces the likelihood of dog bites for the most vulnerable demographic.


Rusty is often accompanied to events by his dog Sonny, a 7-year old basset hound / labrador mix, as the two are a registered therapy dog team through Pet Partners.


To inquire about rates, availability or to discuss a customized topic for your next event, send Rusty an email.

Past workshops

NBA Cares

NBA commissioner
Adam Silver relishes in the comfort of Sonny's famous ears after the NBA unveiled the newly refurbished Learn & Play Zone at the Ira Jinkins Recreational Center in Oakland, California.

Read With Me

Rusty and Sonny at a Pet Partners event, where Oakland youth read to therapy dogs. Studies have shown that the presence of therapy dogs motivates students to attend reading activities outside of school, in addition to improving reading performance.

bottom of page