By DARLA M. YOUNGS
Coming off its most successful year ever of aiding homeless and surrendered animals, and those seized by law enforcement, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is seeking sponsors and selling tickets for its first Helping Paws Fashion Show and Benefit to be held on Thursday, June 8 at The Otesaga Resort Hotel.
The SQSPCA’s intake numbers have been increasing every year since 2015 and, in 2022, the shelter cared for a record number of animals—just shy of 1,500. This year’s numbers are already slightly ahead of last year’s, with 541 intakes thus far including the feline low-cost spay/neuter clinics. While animals cared for and rehomed by the SQSPCA are predominantly cats and dogs, 2023 intakes to date have also included bearded dragons, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, hamsters, a cockatoo, and 15 parakeets.
“As the demand for our services continues to increase, expenses also continue to rise,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.
“This is the shelter’s first major benefit. Our hope is that the community continues to recognize the importance of the SQSPCA and the work performed by our dedicated staff, and will help support that work by sponsoring the fashion show, attending the event, and through the special adoption-level donations associated with this fundraising effort,” Haynes said.
The evening will begin with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 5 p.m. followed by remarks from Haynes at 5:30. Models will then strut the catwalk in The Otesaga’s ballroom bedecked in fashions from a number of local apparel and accessory stores, including Kate’s Upstate, Lake Classic Outfitters and the SQSPCA’s own New Leash on Life Thrift Shop, among others.
Helping Paws Fashion Show and Benefit Committee members are Elaine Bresee, Mercedes Gotwald, Meg Kiernan, Paula Newman, Van Broughton Ramsey and India Elting Robért. Gotwald and Kiernan are co-chairs of the event.
As mentioned by Haynes, there are multiple ways in which the public can support the animal shelter through this event, whether as sponsors, audience members or by making an adoption-level donation.
The “Top Dog!” sponsorship level is $1,500.00, which includes membership in the SQSPCA Helping Paws Society, recognition on signage and in the program, and VIP seating for up to four attendees.
“Plus, sponsors at this level get to design a specialty cocktail in honor of their pet,” Haynes said.
“Helping Paws” level sponsorship is $1,250.00, and includes Helping Paws Society membership, signage and program recognition, and VIP seating for two.
General admission is $50.00 per person with seating on a first come, first served basis.
“Adoption-level donations are another way for folks to donate to the shelter as part of this benefit,” Haynes explained. “There are three levels: Adopt a Dog at $500.00, Adopt a Cat at $300.00 and Adopt a Rabbit at $200.00.”
Adoption-level donations include recognition on signage and on the fashion show program, and general admission for three, two, and one attendees, respectively.
“These donations support the care of all animals and services provided, including but not limited to intake, medical treatment, kennel care, and adoption counseling,” Haynes explained.
The SQSPCA continues to improve and increase its services each year in areas other than intake and animals cared for. The shelter’s average length of stay for animals under its care as of May 29 was just 17 days, down from an average of 23.2 days during the same time period last year. A recently expanded foster program also gets animals out of the shelter and into homes as they await their forever homes.
Those interested in sponsoring, donating, or purchasing tickets for the Helping Paws Fashion Show and Benefit should contact Sarah Wilcox at (607) 547-8111, extension 106, or email@example.com no later than June 6.