Samantha Blankenship, the director of JAR, gives her speech. (Photo courtesy of Jasz Garrett/KINY)
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – Saturday night was Juneau Animal Rescue’s biggest fundraising event of the year at Centennial Hall, from 6-9pm.
Tickets were $50 and all proceeds went to the animals.
Crazy hair was encouraged.
Dinner, beer and wine were included.
A silent auction was also held, including desserts and donations from several local businesses.
People were able to participate in a photo booth and photos will be posted on Juneau Animal Rescue’s Facebook page.
Samantha Blankenship, the executive director of Juneau Animal Rescue, gave a speech, including information about their organization’s services.
“Our animal-related services help keep our animals safe. Every individual service we provide is important to us, whether it’s housing homeless animals and finding new loving homes, protecting animals, safe and lost animals until we can find their owners and pick them up back home We also offer doggy day care and dog boarding services We don’t currently offer cat shelters not because we don’t like cats we love cats of course we just have enough from our own cats to “If you’re not going to your regular vet, come see us on Tuesday. We’re also proud to say that with the addition of Dr. Ward to the Juneau Animal Rescue team this fall, we’ll be spaying and neutering will offer.”
Juneau Animal Rescue always provides spay and neuter services for their adopted animals, but this fall will see the return of spay and neuter services to the general public, in light of the city’s shortage of veterinarians.
When asked what their current “catpacity” is, Blankenship had this to say.
“It’s been over 100 cats since April 1. We’ve got about 55 animals in foster care now. 55 cats. So we’ve had a tremendous flow of support. We’ve had a lot of cats go to foster homes, and we appreciate the outpouring of support. We are not back with all of our foster parents yet, but we appreciate their support. We continue to see an influx of cats. So one day, well, we only got eight cats on Friday. We appreciate the community support. But we are also still looking for people who specifically want to adopt. I think we have enough adoption requests at the moment. But right now we are only looking for people who may have considered adopting an animal, or another animal to their small group, and now is the time.”
Juneau Animal Rescue waives an adoption fee for anyone age 62 or older who adopts a cat age 10 or older,
Blankenship expressed pride and gratitude for everything JAR has done over the past 59 years and summed up the ‘Hairball’ event.
“Our shelter started out as a small shed under the bridge of the Gastineau Canal. I’ve been working in the shelter for 13 years, but it’s a truly incredible legacy to inherit, and we hope to get the shelter ready for the next 59 years So we’ve come a long way and I think we still have a long way to go But we’re very proud of the work we’ve done as long as we’re doing it This is our about 11 silent auction So we’ve got them in different capacities over different years. They’ve gotten bigger and better every year. This is our biggest annual fundraiser. We couldn’t keep it in 2021 because of COVID 19. So we’re excited to be back and we appreciate the support from the community so wonderful from all the contributors and the sponsors and of course the people who attended tonight. And all the money raised tonight will go back to the animals that Juneau Animal Rescue serves here in our community.”
Andy Nelson commented on his recent promotion.
“Since 2016 I was an animal protection officer and about a month ago I took on the position of deputy director. It is basically managing the shelter, I do daily chores with that, meet the staff, make sure everything runs smoothly. Currently “We have all hands on deck with adoptions at this point. Lots of animals in foster care and more are going out. Many of the people who are now fostering and hoping to adopt. Lots of people are making sure the animal is right for their homes.”
Nelson answered a question about issues that animal protection has been dealing with recently.
“Summer is always the highlight for them, we have a lot of animals in general. A lot of times that happens because it’s summer, so parents are at work and kids are at home with the animals, and they go out that way. We “We’ve had a lot of animals put into homes in the early years of the pandemic and we’re seeing a lot of animals with behavior problems, aggression problems and an influx of bite cases. So people are getting bitten more often, or their animals are being bitten, because of these untrained animals from the pandemic.”
Nelson also shared his excitement at the in-person fundraiser being back.
“We’ve had to do virtual fundraisers for the past few years. So it’s nice to come back in person and do it. It’s really nice to see everyone and you know, the support we’ve got from Juneau. It’s overwhelming and it’s fantastic and everyone seems to be having a good time and we love to see that, and it’s all for the animals.”
Above: Ericka Lee sings while Tom Locher, who has played the piano for 55 years, accompanies her. Below: Blankenship mentioned that this cat that has been in the shelter since April has been there the longest. ‘Birdie’, whether or not still up for adoption. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Animal Rescue.)