Your weekend: Autobody hosts “Dog Days” benefit
By Heather Lyn Wood
On Saturday, July 24, local friends of animals will gather at Autobody Fine Art for Dog Days 3 – Pet*a*Palooza. The gala event, sponsored by Mutt Lynch Winery and Trumer Pilsner, will benefit the Alameda Animal Shelter and NorCal German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue.
Autobody will host Dog Days with assistance from Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit which raises money for the Island’s shelter program. Beginning at 1 p.m., guests can mingle, shop for pet-related items and sample hors d’oeuvres at an outdoor street fair behind the gallery. A three-judge panel of Alameda vets and groomers will preside over the first-ever “Dogs on the Catwalk” canine fashion show, and the day’s festivities, which wrap up at 9 p.m., will conclude with a silent auction.
The Alameda Police Department is responsible for the safety of animals in the city, from Harbor Bay Parkway to Coast Guard Island. Along with full-time staff members, 45 volunteers work to make the shelter more “homelike” for dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and other small animals. Last year, 650 dogs and cats found their way into the department’s animal shelter on Fortmann Drive, and volunteers donated 4,100 hours to transport, socialize, and foster them. Volunteers also use social media networks such as Petfinder.com and Facebook to encourage adoptions.
Nancy Bianchi started FAAS in 2009 to subsidize medical treatment for injured shelter animals. Thanks in part to FAAS efforts, the shelter maintains accounts at veterinary offices to pay for procedures that might otherwise exceed its limited budget. FAAS has also raised money for grooming and training when those services will increase a dog’s chances of adoption. Unlike donations made directly to Animal Control, donations to FAAS are not processed as part of a larger budget. Rather, they go straight to the shelter for animal care.
Autobody will split the Dog Days proceeds between the shelter and NorCal GSP, a Bay Area rescue group dedicated to the rehabilitation, foster and adoption of German shorthaired pointers. In 2009, Dog Days raised $8,000 to help fund both groups.
Like other organizations that rely on donations to operate, local animal welfare groups have been impacted by the recent economic recession. Island Cat Resources and Adoption (ICRA) relies on private contributions to provide a wide range of services to Alameda’s feral cat population. In the most recent issue of The Catalyst newsletter, the group called 2009 “the most financially challenging in our history.”
Bianchi says that the ailing economy has resulted in an increase in the number of animals surrendered to the shelter, but that community members have supported FAAS despite the slump. “Even with the slow economy, there are a lot of animal lovers, and sometimes they give ten or twenty dollars … Everything helps.” She emphasizes that Alamedans who cannot give monetary donations can still make a huge difference in the lives of local animals. “We always need more volunteers at our events,” says Bianchi. “We’re here for the animals, and that’s it. We just want to help with whatever they need.”
Admission to Dog Days costs $20 per adult (pets get in free). Tickets can be purchased in advance from Autobody Fine Art or at the door during the event. Seniors will be admitted for $10, and children under 10 are free. Autobody is at 1517 Park Street, and their phone number is 865-2608.