A virtual furry, furry night: AnimalSave to host 7th annual fundraiser Saturday evening | TheUnion.com
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A virtual furry, furry night: AnimalSave to host 7th annual fundraiser Saturday evening

KNOW & GO

WHO: AnimalSave

What: A Furry, Furry Night

When: Saturday, Oct. 24

Time: 7 to 8 p.m.

Where: Your Family Room

COST: Free

Register: http://www.animalsave.org/events. You must register in advance to join us that evening.

As with many organizations holding benefits, this year AnimalSave is moving their popular “A Furry, Furry Night” fundraiser to the virtual world. This Saturday you can curl up with your favorite furry friend and spend an hour supporting the good work that has been the mission of AnimalSave for nearly 50 years.

This year marks the 7th annual event, replacing the popular Santa Paws live and silent auction. The nonprofit board of directors and staff decided to switch things up a bit after buying the property on East Main Street in Grass Valley back in 2013, which houses their Thrift Store and Book Nook, as well as many of the cats and kittens available for adoption. This free event will take place on Zoom, Executive Director Carolyn Niehaus explained.

“Folks will go to our website and register to attend at (www.animalsave.org/events) and then we will send an email with a link they will use to log in on the night of the event.”

The event will take place Saturday, Oct. 24 from 7 to 8 p.m. The increasingly popular auctioneer Gary Lorentzen will lend his talents as master of ceremonies and conduct the live auction as participants will be bidding on a number of items including a tree trimming package by Tim the Tree Man which includes a half day with a crew and chipper; an overnight stay at a deluxe yurt including wine; a shop local gift certificate basket; and ground material from the Soil Broker. Door prizes will be awarded via a virtual wheel spin.

Niehaus said A Furry, Furry Night will also include a segment from a volunteer talking about his experience with AnimalSave accompanied by his adopted pet Linus.

The evening will wrap up with a “fund the need” event, Niehaus said. “We hope people will open up their hearts and wallets and donate to help us fund the cats we rescue and find homes for, run our spay and neuter clinic and do the work we are known for, for going on 50 years.”

“Our mission is to better the lives of cats and dogs through affordable spay/neuter, humane education and rescuing and finding homes for animals,” said Niehaus. “We rescue and find homes for hundreds of animals each year.”

Unlike many nonprofits, the COVID-19 pandemic has had at least one positive influence on AnimalSave, as pet adoptions are up.

The spay and neuter clinic has altered over 25,000 dogs and cats over the past dozen years which translates to more than a million fewer cats alone, Niehaus said.

“If you think the average female cat can come into heat at five or six months of age, and can have three litters a year with five or six kittens a litter — so one female cat can create hundreds of cats if not altered early enough.” Each of those cats could then go onto to multiply exponentially.

Proceeds from A Furry, Furry Night will help fund the animal rescue and welfare programs including the low cost spay and neuter clinic. Niehaus said the clinic is booked out for quite a while. “We are slammed. We are booking appointments into December (at least) for dogs at this point. Our cat adoption facility is open by appointment. We have taken in and adopted out more cats this year than in the last several previous years.”

The organization did lose a bit of revenue from having to close the thrift and bookstore for a couple months at the beginning of the pandemic.

The rescue and adoption program finds homes for hundreds of cats and dogs each year. While they have cats at the Thrift Store, dogs are primarily fostered, Niehaus said, “We have a few dogs in foster homes but we focus mainly on cats.”

AnimalSave is also about to wrap up a secondary fundraiser, raffling off a Kubota four-wheel drive utility vehicle valued at over $14,000. The campaign was supposed to run through March but when the pandemic hit, ticket sales were extended until the end of this week, with the drawing set for Oct. 31. There are three prizes up for grabs with first place being the Kubota.

“We also have a second prize of a chainsaw and third prize is a leaf blower. Tickets are $50 each. We will sell tickets until Oct. 26 with a drawing on Oct. 31 at AnimalSave. We need to sell more tickets to make this more profitable.” Tickets can be reserved at animalsave.org and at the thrift store.

Niehaus added that like many nonprofits, funding is always a challenge. Other challenges include finding abandoned animals in boxes on their doorstep but said there are also great rewards. She personally enjoys fostering kittens, and especially enjoys bottle feeding the youngest ones and added the need for volunteers never goes away. “Our operations are run primarily by the volunteers who log in over 30,000 hours each year.”

Niehaus began working with AnimalSave as a volunteer in 2000 and has served on the board of directors, helped set up the spay/neuter clinic in 2008, and has been the executive director for about a decade. She said she got involved when a small cat made its way onto her property.

“I had no idea about what to do so I contacted AnimalSave, got a trap, and got sucked in and it hasn’t let go yet,” said Niehaus. “I enjoy the work and the people and the volunteers. It’s a great organization. It’s very stable, it’s been around a long time. It does wonderful work and has a great crew.”

You can learn more about the mission and work of AnimalSave, buy raffle tickets and register for Saturday’s event at http://www.animalsave.org.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.


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