Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Paws Cause(s)

By Brianne Harrison

Almost everyone is suffering the effects of the bad economy. Tragically, non-profits and charity organizations are being hit especially hard, and animal shelters and adoption charities are being dealt a one-two punch: as they deal with budget cuts and constraints due to smaller donations coming in and shrinking endowments, many of them are also facing near-record influxes of animals as owners give them up because they can no longer afford to keep them. It’s not surprising, then, that so many shelters throughout New Jersey are having fundraisers in the coming weeks. They’re not out with a begging bowl, though—these fundraisers could be great opportunities to get out, enjoy the spring weather with your family (furry and human members!), and maybe learn something new.

If you’re after relaxation, head to the Greyhound Friends of New Jersey’s Annual Spring Picnic this Sunday, May 17, at Duke Island Park in Bridgewater. Bring your dog, have a bite to eat, and sample the wares from the vendors in attendance. All proceeds benefit the Greyhound Friends of New Jersey. The same day, Bernardsville hosts Bark Fest 2009—a dog walk and family festival. Events throughout the day include a non-competitive stroll through the pet-friendly, private Upton Pyne Estate, refreshments, shopping, games and activities for children, and an “Adoption Alley”, where you may just find a new best friend! No dog? No problem—you don’t need a canine companion to participate. For more information or to receive a BARK FEST registration form, call 973.377.7094 ext. 229. Proceeds benefit the pets at St. Hubert’s animal shelters. At the end of the month is the 8th Annual “Paws 4 a Cause” dog walk in Ocean County Park in Lakewood. Collect pledges from family and friends to support the Jersey Shore Animal Center.

If you’re in a more competitive mood, you may want to check out the Hair of the Dog 5K race and pet expo on May 17 at Silver Decoy Winery in Robbinsville. The event, presented by the Tri-state Weimaraner Rescue and Res-Q-Pets of New Jersey, starts off with a 5K race (feel free to bring your dog along!), followed by wine tastings at Silver Decoy (5K runners get the first tasting free), book signings by Animal Planet’s Good Dog U trainer Joel Silverman, adoptable pets, a K9 kissing booth, and more. To register, visit hairofthedog5k.com.

Somewhat more low-key events include yard sales at the Ocean County Animal Shelter in Jackson and SAVE, a Friend to Homeless Animals in Princeton. The Ocean County sale (to be held May 30) features “take tables”—for a $5 donation, you can choose four items from the tables. A $25 donation gets you a table at SAVE’s sale, where you can sell as many items as you have. For more information on the sale at SAVE, call 609.921.6122 .

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