A holiday party for the dogs
By Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent December 24, 2012 11:14AM
Tia owned by Ed and Paula Kasper, of Steger. | Submitted photo
Updated: January 26, 2013 6:08AM
They came with their doggies. They came in their vans. They came with their Crock-Pots, roasters and pans.
Although more than 100 Cavalier King Charles dogs frolicking in one location is a joyful time indeed, these dogs showed Dec. 9 they could “pawty hawty” by helping their owners raise nearly $20,000 during the Greater Chicago Cavalier Rescue Jingle Pawty at For Your K9 in Melrose Park.
“Holiday decor and the spirit of giving make a gathering of Cavaliers and their owners even more joyful,” said Karla McKanna of Joliet, GCCR foster parent and co-rescue coordinator. “GCCR mailed 800 postcards and letters to families who are part of the Chicago-area Cavalier community. The word spread quickly that this was an event not to be missed.”
Highlights for the day included the Sleigh Full of Dollars raffle with a $2000 first prize, an agility course, professional photography, vendors selling a variety of doggie goodies, a potluck, a bake sale and the opportunity for Cavaliers to run free inside an enclosed building.
“When new Cavaliers enter the party area and begin to run about with dogs of their own breed,” McKanna said, “the looks of astonishment and delight on their faces and bodies are clearly evident.”
Because Cavaliers were bred to be cute lap dogs, owners especially delight in dressing them up with equally cute outfits. However, for large gatherings like the Jingle Pawty, all those colorful clothes also serve a very practical purpose.
“In a crowd of 100-plus Cavaliers, it’s a way to spot your dog as it dashes off to the next pleasure,” McKanna said.
Generous participants provided the potluck donations and baked treats for sale. The enormous feast was quite the sight to behold: huge trays of appetizers, salads and snacks, mounds of rolls and pan after pan of main courses and side dishes.
“There was more than enough to satisfy everyone’s tastes and fill their tummies,” McKanna said. “And the bake sale was not just for humans. Folks brought homemade dog treats, and to tell the truth, there was a bit of human food sharing going on.”
Despite the fun, the holiday event had a serious intent driving it, and that was to raise plenty of money to help the Cavaliers in GCCR’s rescue, especially those battling serious and debilitating illnesses requiring costly treatment.
“GCCR’s veterinary costs each year are well into five figures,” McKanna said. “A single, very needy dog’s care might cost between $4,000 to $6,000. The total GCCR 2012 veterinary expenses are expected to reach $50,000.”
Seven GCCR dogs are in particular need. Bentley, 4, has a seizure disorder, which is now stable with medication. He is available for adoption. Murphy, 4, is currently undergoing heartworm treatment but will be ready for a permanent home when he completes his treatment.
Mini Lucy, 2, also has seizures. She is a permanent foster, so continued donations are needed to pay for her medicine. Tater Tot, 2, who suffers from syringomyela and pulmonic stenosis but has done well after heart surgery, is also a permanent foster, so he, too, requires donations for his care.
Frankie Two Paws, paralyzed from the waist down, came to GCCR when he was just 12 weeks old; he is receiving therapy. Sherlock Holmes, 4 months old, suffers from episodic falling syndrome and just recently started medication to control it. He also needs bilateral knee surgery. When Sherlock first came to GCCR, he was hospitalized for a week with kennel cough and diarrhea.
Robbie, 7 months, arrived at GCCR from a puppy mill in July. He weighed less than 5 pounds and required two lifesaving surgeries. The first fixed Robbie’s diaphragmatic hernia, which had caused his liver to press against his heart. Another repaired a damaged liver shunt that was allowing blood to bypass his liver and flood his system with toxic ammonia.
At the end of the event, many GCCR families went home with a treasured keepsake: candid photos of their Cavaliers with Santa and Mrs. Claus. McKanna said that unless Cavaliers are damaged by years of abuse and neglect, the North Pole’s first couple offers yet another chance for Cavaliers to enjoy human affection.
“It’s traditional and pictures are nice keepsakes,” McKanna said. “Owners enjoy seeing beautiful, beloved dogs in the glow that a Santa creates.”
For more information about the Greater Chicago Cavalier Rescue, visit www.gccavalierrescue.org.