ST. GEORGE – For the past couple of years, it has been difficult for most organizations to do much in the way of fundraising. The COVID-19 pandemic definitely put a damper on public events, which many organizations, including the St. George Animal Shelter, rely on heavily to continue operating. Now New Brunswick has moved back into the Green phase of recovery, all systems are go, and fundraising events can take place once again.
St. George Animal Shelter Secretary/Treasurer Frances Shanahan said they are looking forward to being able to host fundraising events, and the first will be taking place during the St. George Summerfest on Saturday, August 28. A dog parade will happen just prior to the children’s parade, and there will be prizes for the best hat and the best trick.
“The parade is a parade of people with their dogs,” said Shanahan. “What we’re doing right after the parade is we’re going to have two contests. One is a funny hat contest for the dogs. In the parade the dogs can be wearing funny hats. The second contest is going to be tricks, any kind of (dog) tricks that people want to do. The dogs must be comfortable and happy throughout. We don’t want any kind of costumes that are going to be uncomfortable for the animals. It needs to be something where they’re happy and comfortable throughout the whole thing. We have little prizes for the winners. We just kind of wanted to sort of celebrate that we’re green and we can do a little parade.”
Shanahan said the dog parade will begin at the Day Activity Centre, moving along the path and down the main road and back to the starting point. She said they are asking people to pre-register for the parade, so they can get a good idea of how many people will be taking part in the parade. That way, if anything needs to be adjusted, such as more people taking part than expected, they can take care of it before the parade begins.
Following the dog parade, which takes place from 11 a.m. to noon, there will be a children’s parade, and Shanahan said there will be “a lot of cuteness happening” on that day.
“We just want to have a little bit of fun,” said Shanahan. “We’ll have a table at the Day Adventure Centre so people can come and ask us questions. Other than our Facebook, there hasn’t really been much communication to the public about what we’re doing, how things have been going, that kind of stuff.”
The shelter has other events coming up as well. Krisana MacLeod, who swam the width of Lake Utopia a couple of years ago to raise funds for the shelter, plans to repeat her performance, but instead of swimming the width, she plans to swim the entire length. She recently had an injury while training, so everyone is waiting to find out whether or not she will be ready to make the swim on the same day as the dog parade.
There is also going to be a silent auction at the end of August. This is still in the planning stages, and Shanahan said they are currently collecting items to be auctioned off. All proceeds will go directly to the St. George Animal Shelter.
“It seems like things are starting to ramp-up again,” said Shanahan. “It’s kind of exciting after a very quiet summer last summer. It’s something that is very helpful for us. A lot of our fundraising events, not only events that we do, we have a lot of community support in events that other groups or people do where they raised money and were donating to us. With the pandemic, all of that could not be done. We’re looking forward to being able to ramp up the fundraising again, to be able to get going on the building.”
All of the animals housed at the shelter need to be cared for, and some need medical attention. Everything raised through the fundraisers is used to ensure that these animals are healthy and happy while waiting to be adopted. In 2021 alone, the shelter has taken in more than 130 cats, with 67 having been adopted out and 50 still in foster care. The funds raised help those animals, and are also used for the construction of the new shelter building that is currently under construction.
In addition to shelter-sponsored fundraisers, there are also many other groups that do fundraising and donate to the shelter.
“We really, really appreciate that people do it,” said Shanahan.” The Jeff Whittier Memorial Golf Tournament, every year, we get people as part of that to donate to us. It’s great, and there have been times that the blueberry farm here, they did a breakfast and the proceeds went to us. All those things make a huge difference. We do get a lot of kitties that come in sick and need medicine and care and then get adopted out to very happy and loving families.”
If you would like to take part in the dog parade, or learn about other fundraising initiatives happening at the St. George Animal Shelter, you can visit the new website at www.stgeorgeanimalshelter.ca. Shanahan said the new site is easier to use, and this is where people can find adoption forms and other information about adoptable cats.