Feb. 9 2011 12:00 AM

Annual fund-raiser lends a hand — or paw — to man’s best friend


On Saturday, Spiral Dance Bar is going to the dogs — literally.

The second annual Best Friends Fest comes to the Old Town nightclub to raise money for the Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter’s animal cruelty unit. Shelter director Jamie McAloon said the money is important to help the animals, especially in challenging economic times.

“It’s really important because as most organizations are being strapped financially, we are also strapped financially,” she said. “A lot of people don’t understand that the fundraisers are completely separate from the county funds. They are dedicated to animal welfare improvement. The unit encompasses the investigators, the equipment, the medical needs of the animals that are victims, their rehabilitation and anything to do with animal cruelty.”

Shelter volunteer Darcy Kelly got the idea to start a fundraiser for the animal shelter when a fellow artist at Haze Art Gallery in Old Town told her about a shelter in California, where local artists would paint the animals in the shelter. She wanted to find a way to
incorporate the artistic atmosphere of Old Town with raising money for
the shelter. This year, she said, the event is “bigger and better” than
the first, with a variety of donations and activities for attendees.

There will be a silent auction, raffles, nail trimming for pets, dog training demos, food and more. Lights on Studio will be at the event taking photos of pets with their people, and Alabama from 97.5 Now FM will be the event’s master of ceremonies.

Kelly said the plan is to give people the chance to make paw print keepsakes by dipping the pets’ feet in paint and putting them on canvas — but they may be making clay keepsakes, after a few difficult test runs with her own dog.

Kelly said she doesn’t think there’s anything better than supporting the animal shelter.

“My dog literally was a lifesaver for me when I had a personal trauma in my life and she was there to help me through it,” she said.

“Jamie and the staff just go way beyond with their love and care of the animals. I know the shelter takes the animals to the vet, give them all love; they need all the food and supplies. It’s a wonderful avenue to put your time and effort into.”

Best Friends Fest

1 p.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 Spiral Dance Club 1247 Center St., Lansing