It was all wagging tails and happy trails on Saturday at the 3rd annual Lakeshore PAWS Dog Wash, where members of the Northwest Indiana community and their best furry friends could come and get a nice bath, puppy pedicures, and play with their other four-legged friends.
The event, which was held at Lakeshore PAWS on Evans Road, saw hundreds of people and their canine friends come to enjoy the sunny weather and the entertainment, which included live demonstrations from members of the Porter County Sherriff’s Office, as well as Hispanic folk dance performances by the dancers of the Fiesta Mexicana Dance Company of Northwest Indiana.
Refreshments were provided by Lakeshore PAWS Junior PAWS and an ice cream truck provided by Day Dreams and Ice Cream was present. Meanwhile, local dogs were given the royal treatment as volunteers shampooed, rinsed, brushed and clipped their toenails.
Jennifer Weeks and Vicci Somers, Co-Chairs of the Dog Wash and self-described “volunteer extraordinaries,” were excited to see so many happy dogs and owners playing and enjoyed what there was to offer.
“My favorite part is that a lot of our dogs [that have been adopted] come back,” said Weeks, “so we get to see them happy and healthy; they’re like totally different dogs when we see them.”
“For a lot of people, this is the first time they’ve been exposed to Lakeshore PAWS, so they get an idea of what we’re trying to do here,” Somers said. “It’s just a fun day.”
The Dog Wash is Lakeshore PAWS second-largest adoption event, right behind their annual Pup Crawl, which is held in June in Valparaiso’s Central Park. The first year they held the Dog Wash, they brought in over $1,000. The next year, they brought in $2,000. This year, they’re aiming to double that.
“All that money goes directly to the dogs,” said Weeks. “This really helps us, when we see a dog that has a medical need, we don’t need to worry about money.”
Somers was quick to distinguish that they’re not a shelter; they’re a rescue, that bring in homeless dogs from shelters- kill and non-kill alike- all over the country to their facility on Evans Road and help find them their forever homes.
“We actually pull dogs from the shelters and try to find homes for them,” she said. “We go wherever the need is.”
Lakeshore PAWS treats the event as an Adoption Day as well, and they bring several of their animals out to socialize with the attendees and their dogs all day.
“It’s so good to let the dogs out and let them socialize,” said Somers.
In addition to the many dogs out walking on leashes waiting to be adopted was Lakeshore PAWS Puppy Pen, a tent set up where people could come and play, cuddle with, and get to know the many homeless puppies that Lakeshore PAWS has brought in.
Jeanne Sommer, Director and Co-founder of Lakeshore PAWS, as well as Owner and Real Estate Broker of Century 21 Alliance Group, was there snapping photos of the event, their volunteers, and the dogs present.
“This just brings awareness to homeless dogs,” Sommer explained. “Not only the situation that they’re faced with, but it helps them get homes.”
Sommer works hard to ensure that the animals under her care find kind, loving homes.
“There are a lot of great homeless dogs out there, and this event brings in other people in the community that might already have a dog, that might not be a homeless dog, but maybe they want to add to their gang, and they’re made aware of other possibilities.”
Lakeshore PAWS have facilitated the adoptions of over 2,700 dogs since their founding in April of 2011, and when they built a new building in December of 2015, business quadrupled. They are currently looking for donors to fund their own in-house spay and neuter clinic, which will cater to both dogs and cats.
For more information on the dogs Lakeshore PAWS has up for adoption or to volunteer/donate, please visit www.lakeshorepaws.org, and For more information on the Fiesta Mexicana Dance Company, contact Marissela Lynch at (219)-246-3641 or visit www.balletfolkloriconwi.com.