Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Saturday evening was Juneau Animal Rescue's biggest fundraiser event of the year at Centennial Hall, from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Tickets were $50 and all proceeds went to the animals.
Crazy hair was encouraged.
Dinner, beer, and wine were included.
A silent auction was also held, including desserts and donations from various local businesses.
People could participate in a photo booth, and photos are to be posted on Juneau Animal Rescue's Facebook page.
Samantha Blankenship, the executive director of Juneau Animal Rescue, gave a speech, including information about their organization's services.
"Our animal-related services help keep our animals safe. Each individual service we offer is important to us, whether it's housing homeless animals and finding them new loving homes, protecting animals, safe and lost animals until we can find their owners and get them back home. We also offer doggy daycare and boarding services for dogs. We currently don't offer boarding for cats, not because we don't love cats, we, of course, love cats, we just have enough of our own cats to care for as of late. One of the most important services that JAR offers with the help of our amazing veterinarian, Dr. Ward is our public vaccination and microchip clinics every Tuesday. We offer all four vaccines for dogs and cats. If you can't get in with your regular veterinarian, come to us on Tuesday. We are also proud to say that with the addition of Dr. Ward to Juneau Animal Rescue's team, we will be providing spaying and neutering this fall."
Juneau Animal Rescue always provides spaying and neutering for their adopted animals, but this fall will be the return of spaying and neutering services for the general public, in the note of the town's veterinarian shortage.
When asked what their current 'catpacity' is, Blankenship had this to say.
"It's over 100 cats since April 1st. We have about 55 animals in foster care right now. 55 cats. So we've had a huge outpouring of support. We've had a lot of cats go to foster care, and we appreciate the outpouring of support. We haven't gotten back with all of our foster parents, but we appreciate their support. We keep seeing an influx of cats. So one day well, we just got eight cats on Friday. We appreciate the community's support. But we also are still looking for people specifically to adopt. I think we have enough foster applications right now. But right now we're just looking for people that maybe have considered adopting, or adding another animal to their little bunch, and now is the time."
Juneau Animal Rescue will waive adoption fees for anyone 62 years of age or older who adopts a cat 10 years of age or older,
Blankenship expressed pride and gratitude for all JAR has done in the last 59 years and summarized the 'Hairball' event.
"Our shelter began as a tiny shed under the bridge of the Gastineau Channel. I've been at the shelter for 13 years, but it's really an incredible legacy to inherit, and we hope to prepare the shelter to go on for the next 59 years. So we've come a long way and I think we still have a long ways to go. But we're very proud of the work that we've done for as long as we've done it. This is our approximately 11 silent auction. So we've had them in different capacities over different years. They've gotten bigger and better every year. This is our largest annual fundraiser. We weren't able to hold it in 2021 due to COVID 19. So we're excited to be back and we appreciate the community support has been so wonderful of all of the contributors and the sponsors and of course the people attending tonight. And all of the money raised tonight goes back to the animals that Juneau Animal Rescue serves right here in our community."
Andy Nelson commented on his recent promotion.
"I was an animal control officer since 2016 and about a month ago I accepted the Deputy Director position. It's basically management of the shelter, I do daily chores with that, meeting with the staff, making sure everything's going smoothly. Currently, we have all hands on deck with adoptions at this point. Lots of animals in foster and more going out. A lot of the people who are fostering right now and are hoping to adopt. A lot of people foster to make sure the animal's a good fit for their home."
Nelson answered a question about issues animal control has recently been dealing with.
"Summer is always the peak for them, we have a lot of animals running at large. A lot of the time that happens because it's summer so parents are at work and kids are at home with the animals, and they get out that way. We have had a lot of animals placed into homes in the first years of pandemic and we are seeing a lot of animals that are having behavioral issues, aggression issues, and there's an influx of bite cases. So people are getting bit more frequently, or their animals are getting bit, because of these untrained animals from the pandemic."
Nelson also shared excitement for the in-person fundraiser to be back.
"We've had to do virtual fundraisers for the past couple of years. So it's nice to get back in person and do it. It's a lot of fun to see everybody and you know, see the support that we have from Juneau. It's overwhelming and it's fantastic and everybody seems to be having a good time and we love seeing that. And all for the animals."
Above: Ericka Lee sings while Tom Locher, who has been playing the piano for 55 years, accompanies her. Below: Blankenship mentioned this cat that's been at the shelter since April has been there the longest. 'Birdie', who may or may not still be up for adoption. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Animal Rescue.)