The annual PetFest/Walk for Animals, hosted by the Humane Society of Richmond County at Hinson Lake on Sunday, raised more than $6,000 for the non-profit animal shelter that serves the community’s pets.
For the second year in a row, the event has proven to be one of the best fundraisers for the shelter.
“We are so thankful to all the sponsors, volunteers and community members who helped support this event,” said Allison Sweatt, the rescue, foster and outreach coordinator for HSRC.
“This was my first year attending and I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said HSRC volunteer Angie Long. “It was great to see all the items that local businesses donated to the raffle, because it’s another example of our county working together for a good cause.”
Dogs and kids raced around the lake. Some pets decided to go for a swim, while others were content to lay in the shade and snack on hot dogs. Big dogs and tiny dogs were nose-to-nose, exchanging greetings as their owners smiled and chatted.
“We were happy to see some of our own dogs, who had been adopted from the shelter, come to the event with their new owners,” said Sweatt. “Nothing makes me smile more than being able to see one of our own out having a great time with owners who love and care for them.”
Sweatt said attendance was a little lower this year than last year, but more cash was raised for the shelter. Last year, participants were asked to donate $10 per dog or pet supplies. This year, the registration fee was $10 per dog because the shelter was in need of funds.
“This money will help us pay for major expenses like vaccines, pay down our veterinary bills and help with general operating expenses at the shelter,” said Sweatt.
Event vendors included Matt Radford selling barbecue for his company Cooking by Grace, Fiesta Brava selling hot dogs and sausage dogs, and Christie Futtrell, a shelter volunteer, selling animal activist T-shirts and jewelry.
“Now we’re coming up on National Pet Adoption Weekend and, in celebration of that, the shelter will be offering discount adoptions for all long-timer pets,” said Sweatt.
Sweatt also announced more exciting news for the shelter — a new partnership with PetSmart in Aberdeen.
This weekend will be the first weekend that HSRC will be hosting an adoption event at PetSmart.
“In order for us to make this work, we desperately need volunteers to go with us to PetSmart,” said Sweatt. “Other shelters that have partnered with PetSmart have had a lot of success. We need people to help us with this exciting new project.”
Volunteers are needed for Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., for the PetSmart event.
“Anyone who can help, please call me by Thursday so I can be sure we’ll have enough people,” said Sweatt. “We need about six volunteers per day. We’ll be meeting at the shelter and loading up animals at around 9 a.m. both days. This is a great opportunity for community members to get out there and help us find these animals their forever homes. I would encourage everyone to try volunteering just once, and see how rewarding it can be.”
To contact Sweatt about volunteering at the PetSmart event this weekend, call 910-895-0335 or 910-331-6275.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com