Sunday was all about soapy suds and four-legged buds as Lakeshore PAWS held their first ever Dog Wash and Fun Fest at the corner of Lincolnway and Campbell St. in the Century 21 Alliance Group parking lot in Valparaiso. Loads of Valparaiso residents and their furry friends came out to support Lakeshore PAWS and enjoy an afternoon full of entertainment and attractions.
Lakeshore PAWS had set up several dog washing stations so pets were sure to leave this years Fun Fest squeaky clean and ready for adventure. Among the other attractions was a nail clipping and paw print keepsake station, a bounce house for the kids, a taekwondo demonstration from Team O’Connor Martial Arts and Fitness, and a DJ providing the musical backdrop to all the fun and excitement that Lakeshore PAWS brought to the sun-soaked, summer afternoon.
“All of the money raised here today is going towards the care of all of Lakeshore PAWS’ dogs,” said Jennifer Weeks, co-organizer of the Dog Wash and Fun Fest. “We have an ice cream stand from Culver’s here in Valpo and they’ve generously donated part of their proceeds as well as cupcakes from Designer Desserts.”
“We want to raise money but we also want to build awareness about Lakeshore PAWS so people can come to us when they’re looking to adopt a dog,” Weeks said. “Everything we had here today was donated and that’s great because our costs between vaccinations, food and training can be costly. This is our first year holding this event and we were so excited to see people lined up as soon as we opened. We’ve never done a dog washing before so we didn’t know what to expect but it’s been fantastic! And it’s so nice to see some of our old dogs here today now with their families. They look so confident, so happy, and they have a completely different look. ”
“This is going to be our first ‘annual’ dog washing,” said Vicci Somers, co-organizer of the event. “We’ve been planning this since the spring and we’ve had a tremendous response from the community. It’s been incredible! There was around fifty volunteers here with the Jr. PAWS so the help we get is just great. It blows me away how soon people want to step up. This group of volunteers goes beyond a family, it’s amazing.”
Jeanne Sommer, Executive Director and co-founder of Lakeshore PAWS, was at the Fun Fest and never expected this sort of response from the community when she started the organization in 2011.
“It’s like I was pulled in this direction,” Sommer said. “We never thought it would be this big. When we started Lakeshore PAWS, I tell everyone, ‘our hope was to save 100 lives’ and we’ve been able to save 1500 dogs so far. We can now put more awareness out there and these are just great dogs. It’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. And the amazing volunteers we have are really doing this just for the good of the dogs.”
Also attending this years Dog Wash and Fun Fest was Valparaiso Police Officer John Cordova and his German Shepherd Service Dog, Sabre. Sabre was spending most of his time out of the heat and comfortable in the air conditioning.
“Sabre’s great with kids and people but he doesn’t spend a ton of time with dogs so he’s comfortable in the A.C. for the most part today,” Officer Cordova said.
To find out more about upcoming events or adopting a dog from Lakeshore PAWS go to: http://www.lakeshorepaws.org/