By LOIS KINDLE
The Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.) will host its 8th annual Halloween party for dogs and cats on Oct. 28 at the shelter, and you and your pet are invited.
The “spooktacular” off-leash, costume party will feature sociable canines hobnobbing with others of their ilk, while their owners vie for prizes, visit vendors and bid on items they’d like to take home. Felines are often part of the fun.
Boo Bash is one of the two annual fundraisers the nonprofit organization hosts, said board member and event chairwoman Joann With. “It’s definitely the most entertaining,” she said.
“Boo Bash is a fun, heartwarming experience, one that you won’t forget,” she continued. “The animals love it, and so do their owners. A good time is had by all.”
The festivities will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort play yard behind the shelter at 1528 27th St. S.E., Ruskin. The costume contest for dogs will kick off at 11 a.m.
The free event will also include a cat photo contest; trick-or-treating for the kids; bake sale; raffle and live auction; DJ Seth “Doogie” Dugan; free Halloween portraits for pets by Brian Kalish; and about 10 vendors. Dugan and Kalish donated their time and services for the fundraiser.
Raffle/auction prizes include a $50 Publix gift card; two Lowry Park Zoo tickets; a Snap Fitness gym membership; two tickets to Busch Gardens; Camp Bow Wow gift certificate; gift baskets and more.
Buttman BBQ will be on hand this year to sell food and beverages, and C.A.R.E. volunteers will offer tours of the shelter during the event, upon request.
A costume isn’t required for your dog to have a blast. And you can come even if you don’t bring a pet.
Laurie Clemency will be bringing Abby this year, one of five dogs she adopted from C.A.R.E. over the past 10 years.
“I’ve been coming since Boo Bash started. It’s one the most (enjoyable) pet fundraisers I’ve been to,” she said. All the dogs get to play off leash, and I always love seeing so many of C.A.R.E. ’s alumni dressed as everything from superheroes and cowboys to princesses and bumblebees. I never know what I’ll see.”
Clemency also said she enjoys meeting the new people and pets who come out to Boo Bash to support the shelter.
It’s all about having fun and raising money for C.A.R.E. , said With. Last year, the effort brought in almost $1,800, which went toward the shelter’s operating fund of $144,000.
In addition to Boo Bash and its annual tea, C.A.R.E. ’s two internal fundraisers, the organization is financially supported by additional monies from quarterly HamBINGO events at Hamburger Mary’s; the annual Trick or Treat Street Pet Costume Contest, and biannual Meowy Hours and Yappy Hours hosted by Dr. Kim Tyson, owner of Four Paws Veterinary Hospital; adoption, spay-neuter and membership fees; occasional grants; bequests and individual donations.
The C.A.R.E. no-kill animal shelter was founded 17 years ago by Dr. Hal Ott, owner of the Ruskin Animal Hospital, and a concerned group of residents who wanted to do something about the large number of healthy animals being euthanized annually in Hillsborough County. Its mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and provide temporary shelter for neglected, abused and unwanted animals and owner-relinquished pets until they are adopted into permanent homes. The shelter currently houses about 20 dogs and 40 cats and kittens.
The 501(c)3 organization has only two paid employees, a full-time animal care manager and a part-time facility manager. Otherwise, it is staffed seven days a week by volunteers and overseen by a volunteer board of 10. Dr. Bob Encinosa, owner of Boyette Animal Hospital, is its medical director.
The C.A.R.E. shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 813-645-2273 or visit www.careshelter.org.