WOOFstock fundraiser a howling success

Rebecca Lawrence
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More than $6,000 was raised during the Moose Jaw Humane Society's first concert fundraiser with the Uncoolas performing on stage.Saturday's WOOFstock at Mae Wilson Theatre was "fantastic," said Karla Pratt, fundraising and promotions co-ordinator at the local animal shelter.

The silent auction, which saw people purchase unique pet art made by the shelter's animals, brought in more than $400.

"It was our first time round, so we were open to anything. But we all had a really good time. The Uncoolas were fantastic to work with and enthusiastic about helping us out."

Pratt said creating the art work for the silent auction was a lot of fun.

"We prepped the canvasses with colour and dipped in paws and tails," she said. "The kittens were the most fun. We dipped their four feet in and let them run over the canvases and that was awesome.

"It is probably something we will do again. People were really interested, as it is truly a unique and one-of-a-kind piece. We would look to try on a larger scale with bigger canvasses to help us out with fundraising and give people a unique piece to take home."

Pratt said the society hopes to hold another concert next year.

"The Uncoolas have made it clear they would like to work with us again and we certainly reciprocate that."

Pratt said money raised at the event will assist the shelter with its general operating expenses.

She said over the last four years, things have drastically changed in the way the shelter is run and no animal has a set length of time in which to be adopted and euthanasia rates are at an all-time low.

According to Pratt, there is the misconception an animal shelter is "a death row facility."

"It's not like that anymore. We do have to euthanize occasionally but (only if) it's something seriously medical or aggressive."

Pratt said the foster program for both dogs and cats has significantly helped relieve the pressure on the shelter.

She said the Barn Buddies program, where cats who might not be suitable for a home get to live on farms, has also greatly helped the shelter.

"It's a really great alternative to euthanasia," she said. "We do realize a farm cat may not have as long a life as a house cat, but it is better than the alternative of putting them down as a way to control space."

She said no animal has a set length of time at the shelter.

"Some animals are adopted the next day, but others it takes six months or longer. With cats, if they have been here for two months or more, we have a free range population, space permitting. They are up for adoption but can walk around the building and they show off their personalities a bit more.

"We are trying to move forward in a very positive way and try different activities to the traditional kenneling" she said.

Pratt said this year, the shelter has already had close to 50 very young orphaned kittens dropped or abandoned at the shelter but they are able to thrive thanks to the foster program.

Every animal entering the shelter is now vaccinated and receives medical attention, if required.

But Pratt said these beneficial improvements do come with a cost, which is why fundraisers, such as Saturday's concert, are so important.

"The Moose Jaw Humane Society is proud that the shelter has come so far in such a short time and it wouldn't be possible without the community's support in what the shelter has become," she said.

For more information, see www.mjhs.ca

Rebecca Lawrence can be reached at 691-1258.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Humane Society

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