Thursday, 23 July 2015 10:01

Swift Current SPCA launches new raffle to raise funds for shelter; gets colourful addition

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The Swift Current SPCA is boosting fundraising efforts for the shelter with the launch of the new Dog Days of Summer raffle.

Swift Current SPCA Development Officer Teresa Cole is excited about the raffle, which will have 1,500 tickets available for sale until the end of summer.
“We've got cheap tickets for that,” she said. “They're only $2 each and we've got four great prices that have all been donated by various businesses.”
The tickets are now available at the shelter and the SPCA Used Bookstore. People can also buy tickets every Saturday at the SPCA's table on Market Square in downtown Swift Current and the tickets will also be available at other venues.
The four prizes are a $100 gift certificate at Treen Meats, a gift basket valued at $100 from Grower Direct, a dinner for two with a round of drinks from Boston Pizza, and a $30 gift certificate for services at Charm Beauty Salon.
The draw for the raffle will take place on Sept. 22 and the funds raised will assist the SPCA to take care of animals in need that are lost or waiting to be adopted.
“In a typical year we usually handle more cats than dogs, that's pretty normal for us, and an average year is probably somewhere around 300 animals,” she mentioned. “I'd say we're pretty much on trend with that so far this year.”
The Swift Current SPCA is a no-kill shelter that will take care of animals until they find a new home. Animals will only be euthanized due to extreme disease or illness, or in cases of severe aggression.
“We never euthanize just for space issues,” she emphasized. “So we'll work with as many people and families as we can to try to find a new home for that animal and let it take as long as it needs to take to do that.”
The SPCA is partnering with the Swift Current Indians to give local baseball fans an opportunity to show their support for the shelter during Pack the Doghouse night at Mitchell Field on July 30.
“They very kindly have let us come,” she said. “We'll be first of all outside the gates and encouraging all the fans coming to the game to bring a practical item that we can use at the shelter. We're going to try and pack the little doghouse that we'll have there with those items. We're going to have our raffle tickets on sale that night and then provide information about the SPCA too.”
The shelter's wish list of essential items include Purina dry puppy and kitten food, wet canned dog and cat food, pet treats and a variety of cleaning supplies such as heavy duty garbage bags, towels, paper towels, bleach, liquid laundry detergent, unscented dryer sheets and hand sanitizer.
The SPCA is still looking for entries for the 2016 Pet Calendar. The deadline for submission of photographs of photogenic pets is Aug. 15. The entry fee for a spot on a day of a month is $5. For larger photographs the entry fee is $10 in the pet-of-the-month calendar contest and $20 for the cover photo pet-of-the-year calendar contest.
“We're doing pretty well for the daily slots,” she said. “We would just like to encourage folks to enter that competition for the monthly slots and the cover if they're interested in that.”
Unsuccessful entries in the pet-of-the-month and pet-of-the-year contests will still qualify for a spot on a day of the month.
There have not been too many entries for the monthly and cover slots.
“They're actually a little slow this year,” she said. “So we really would love people to throw that extra $5 in because I think there's a pretty good chance that they might get one of those cover spots.”
There will be a photographer at the SPCA table on Market Square on Aug. 8 to take photographs of people's pets for calendar entries.
“We thought we would encourage folks by having a pet photographer available that day at Market Square,” she said. “So if you don't have a good picture of your pet and would like to bring your pet down that day, we would be happy to take the picture for you and there's no extra charge for that.”
There has been a good response to the SPCA's presence at Market Square every Saturday, where used books are for sale.
“That's going really well for us,” she said. “Already this summer lots of traffic there. So that's a draw and what we'll be adding to that would be the raffle tickets and maybe a couple of other things before the summer is over yet.”
There has also been an increase in visitors to the SPCA Used Bookstore, located at 37 1st Ave. NE.
“We're seeing a lot more traffic through the bookstore,” she said. “People are really finding out about it and coming down for the good deals that we have.”
All the items in the bookstore are donations and include more than just books. There are puzzles, games and DVDs.
“People bring their donations in and then we resell them at a reasonable price,” she said. “It's actually our biggest fundraiser overall for the SPCA right now.”
The SPCA's budget for 2015 is just over $300,000. The shelter was able to raise public awareness about its financial needs with last year's $14-for-2014 campaign.
“The support from the community was really overwhelming in 2014,” she said. “We were so appreciative of that. We have seen a bit of a drop off this year and we just really would like to encourage people to stay with us and just remind the public that we don't get any federal or provincial funding. So about 80 per cent of our operating budget each and every year has to come from community fundraising that we do.”
Residents have shown their support for the SPCA through a number of recent projects at the shelter. Members of the Swift Current Group 2 Scouts erected and painted a fence at the shelter with discounted materials provided by Swift Current Building Supplies.
The Swift Current Kiwanis donated the material and labour to construct several new dog kennels and ramps for shelter animals.
Local graffiti artist Mike Kaye spray painted the shelter's storage container, which was donated by Bud Cates, in a variety of colourful designs. Cole said the SPCA really appreciates this support from the community.
“It's huge,” she noted. “Those are people donating their time and all the labour cost that would typically go into that and certainly in some cases the material cost as well. We may not be able to get that done without that kind of community support and every project that's done is a huge enhancement for our site out there.”
The SPCA is always looking for volunteers who want to assist with the care of animals at the shelter as well as foster families.
That's just an opportunity where we can have pets farmed out to a home for a period of time to see how they adjust to a family and other animals and also gives them a chance to do a little bit of socialization in a different kind of environment,” she said.
In addition the SPCA will welcome volunteers who are willing to assist with fundraising efforts during the year.
“We're always looking for new volunteers too, especially as we're gearing up for more events in the latter part of the year,” she said. “Just even casual volunteers that want to come for a couple of hours to help out with some of our fundraising events would be much appreciated.”

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