Funny how fate works sometimes. It was a night like so many before it for Barbara Lichtenstein. At least that’s how it started off. She was in her car, having just turned onto the busy intersection at Springfield Pike heading toward choir practice when she saw him…a four-legged homeless dog who clearly hadn’t eaten a homemade meal in quite some time. He had bristly fur, rotted teeth, and lumps that Barbara later learned were cancerous.
Barbara, being the animal lover that she is, pulled over, put him in her car and went on to her practice – bringing him inside with her. That night, she learned, he was also a classical lover. As soon as they began to sing, all of his fear of the unknown magically disappeared. “To this day, when he gets fussy in the car, I turn on classical music,” she told me.
Several surgeries, good food, and a houseful of love have seen little Ajax blossom into an affectionate companion who seeks out his family just to know they are there. That family also includes Charlotte, a feminine (as Barbara describes her) and sweet little girl who was also found abandoned and who tolerates sharing favorite humans with Ajax.
It was a number of years back. Barbara was studying architecture and decided not to continue. She has another, more important reason to work. “I’ve always been a dog lover. I grew up with dogs and I thought it was time to step up and do something for them,” she said.
She and her husband, Phil, gave the SPCA a donation when they were building the new shelter and that very quickly evolved into volunteer work. Three years ago she got involved with the organization’s big fundraiser – the Fur Ball. One year she chaired it and this is her second year serving as co-chair (with Holly Mott).
The Fur Ball
Held at the Cintas Center, April 28, the dinner/dance Fur Ball will be an evening of dinner, dancing to the music of Airwave, a silent auction, and a ‘Best in Show’ dog show with animals from the shelter. There will also be dogs and cats there available for adoption. For animal lovers, it is a fun event for a great cause.
The SPCA Cincinnati serves Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati covering over 500 square miles and is the oldest humane society in Ohio. Last year, it handled around 18,000 animals. Good homes with concerned, qualified families were found for thousands of these animals.
Efforts are continually being made to improve its adoption rates. Barbara told me the adoption fee is just $20 and that includes spay and neuter. Proceeds from the Fur Ball will help the SPCA keeps those adoption fees down so that more people and more animals in need of love can find each other.
A few seats are still available for the Fur Ball. Cost is $150 per person. To register, please visit www.spcacincinnati.org.
Last August, I wrote a blog post about a local photographer who specializes in capturing the personalities of pets. For Carolyn Evans though, her work goes so much deeper than her talent. She devotes so much time and energy into finding permanent, loving homes for animals who are without much hope.
If you know me, you know I have a special heart for what she does.
And so, I’m eager to help get word out about a huge event coming up next weekend that Carolyn is organizing with help from a friend, Kathy Parsanko, and a crew of other committed volunteers.
With Carolyn at the helm, for the first time EVER, shelters and rescue groups from our entire Tri-State region are pulling together with one unified mission: to educate the public that adoptable animals from shelters and rescue groups are one of the best sources for finding a new family pet -‐-‐ and to achieve the highest number of homeless pets ever adopted in Cincinnati in one day.
My Furry Valentine, the Tri-‐State’s largest Pet Adopton Event, will be held Saturday, February 11, from 11 am to 6 pm. with the main event being held at flexi USA, Inc. Headquarters. (8494 Firebird Drive
West Chester, OH 45014) There are other participating locations – for a list, please visit www.myfurryvalentine.com
Over 1,600 adoptable animals will be looking for their permanent home. Could you be one?
Participating Shelters and Rescue Groups
ABC’s of Bullies, Adams County Dog Pound, Adore-‐A-‐Bull Rescue, All Dogs Come From Heaven, Animal Adoption Foundation (AAF), Animal Friends Humane Society, Animal Rescue Fund, Bluegrass Boxer Rescue, Boone County Animal Shelter, Brown County Animal Shelter, Campbell County Animal Shelter, Cincinnati Lab Rescue, Circle Tail, Coalition to Ban Dog Auctions, Clermont County Humane Society, Franklin County Humane Society, Friends of Noah, Grant County Animal Shelter, Golden Retriever Rescue & Adoption of Needy Dogs (GRRAND), Greyhound Adoption of Greater Cincinnati, Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART), Homeward Bound Greyhound Association, Humane Association of Warren County Animal Shelter & Adoption Center, Joey’s Greyhound Friends, Inc., Kenton County Animal Shelter, Kyle’s New Hope Animal Rescue, League for Animal Welfare, Maverick’s Mission Rescue, Maysville Rescue Team, Michelle’s Spoiled Rotten Foster Dogs, Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue, Moore Love Rescue, No Kill Tri-‐State, Ohio Pug Rescue, Our Gang Rescue, Owen County Friends of Animals, Pampered Pets Animal Rescue (PPAR), Paws Adoption Center, Puppy Pals Rescue, Queen City Greyhounds, Recycled Doggies, Sacred Hearts Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, Save The Animals Foundation (STAF), SPCA Cincinnati Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP), The Scratching Post, This Little Piggy & Me Guinea Pig Adoption & Rescue, Three Sisters Pet Rescue, Tri-‐State CART (County Animal Response Team), UCAN Non-‐profit Spay Neuter Clinic, United Pet Fund, Wags & Whiskers… and more continue to register daily!
My Furry Valentine is accepting donations that day on behalf of the Cincinnati Pet Food Pantry (providing temporary food assistance for animals whose owners are struggling financially.) They accept unopened, unexpired bags of dog/cat food and kitty litter. And also for Blankets and Bones (a community outreach program that provides comfort to dogs in shelters) accepts new or gently-‐used blankets and new rawhide bones. Anyone bringing a donation to the event will be eligible to win one of several great prizes.
My Furry Valentine is sponsored by Flexi USA, Alcott and PhoDographer. More information, including adoptable pets and satellite adoption locations for the day is available at http://MyFurryValentine.com