SHOW LOW — Pet Allies animal rescue wanted to hold a fundraiser that would be fun for the community and not “wear out sponsors who already give generously to other non-profits in town,” said Director RJ Owens.
The event should be something that would bring awareness to the benefits of the low-cost pet health services the non-profit organization offers, and help fund the construction of a new animal shelter. Owens and Jill Tinkel, who sponsors low-cost spay and neuters, started thinking about a rubber duck race, like the one held in Phoenix and Kansas, that would allow people to spend $5 to enter a raffle. “Tinkel mentioned, “not sure where we would find a body of water.” Owens took over and ended up connecting with the very same group that handles the one in Kansas.
The first-ever Rubber Duck Pluck benefit was held July 4. Rubber ducks were sold for a chance to win up to $2,500, if your duck was “plucked” from a pool. The odds were great since there were only 5,000 ducks sold. The event was held at 1321 N. 16th Street in Show Low, where the home of the new shelter will be.
The plan was to have a shelter dog (Percy) trained to pluck the winning three ducks from the water. But Percy was adopted a couple of days before the event. Great news for Percy! There was an alternate dog trained to pull the duck, unfortunately that dog would not go into the water at the event to pull the ducks. Instead three children were chosen with numbers (1, 2, 3) on their back to pull the winners.
The day of the event, the first and second place winner James Edwards bought 650 ducks. “He felt sorry for us because we were at 63 percent of our goal selling the 5,000 ducks,” said Owens. Third place went to Ginny Korsikas. Incidentally, Edwards ended up donating his winnings back to Pet Allies.
Overall the event was a success raising $29,252, and brought a couple of hundred people out who were anxious to see the dog pull the winning ducks. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.
The event also featured a decorate a duck contest. Elk Ridge Apartments took first place. They will receive a trophy and it will travel year-to-year to the winner. The winner was chosen from people who attended the event.
Since this was the first year of the Rubber Duck Pluck, a lot was learned. In order to get all their ducks in a row, so to speak, there will be some changes next year. Owens said, “We learned a lot this year and how to make things better next year.” They will offer more shade from the heat, a comfortable area for people, shorten the event, offer upbeat music and more food vendors. Stay tuned, next year will be bigger and better! Owens wanted to thank everyone who supported this event and looks forward to next year.
Update on new shelter
Building a shelter these days cost a lot more than what they thought. After a $300,000 donation, “that’s what made us think we had enough to build the shelter, that’s a lot of money,” said Owens. Unfortunately after many construction bids, that amount is only a third of what they needed. One bid came in at $1.2 million. “That’s when reality hit us when we started getting the bids,” stated Owens. The lowest bid of $600,000 was the one they went with. She said they started out knowing they had a little more than half of what they needed. At the Giving Tuesday last November they received a donation for $15,000 towards the cat room in the new shelter. Incidentally the shelter and clinic will move from their current locations to 1321 N. 16th Street in Show Low. There isn’t a set date when the new shelter will be up and running. “It’s a slow process,” said Owens.
The shelter building that will house the dogs and cats will be 3,000 square feet with multiple buildings attached to that. The shelter is their main priority to build right now. “The current shelter isn’t really built to what modern shelters have,” said Owens. The current shelter doesn’t have the adequate space and amenities that modern shelters have, like access to restrooms and a get acquainted room, are just a few things that will be added.
Pet Allies is a no-kill shelter, “which means that 90 percent of the animals that come into the shelter leave alive, we are at a 96 percent save rate, which is incredible,” said Owens. That four percent are the animals that don’t have quality of life, they are surrendered because their owners don’t have the “stamina” to euthanize them. “We probably get about six to 10 animals a year that are injured or sick, considering we take in 1,200,” said Owens. She added “their job is to look out for the best interest of the animal… sometimes people don’t understand that, so this event was great to bring to people’s attention to Pet Allies and let them think about what we are doing and how they can help support the organization to continue the programs, to continue their services. Shelters represent the animals care first.”
Pet Allies “deeply” discount their fees. Fundraisers like the Duck Pluck and their thrift store helps provide services to those who can’t normally afford taking their animal to a vet.
Donations of supplies or monetary are always accepted. Items needed can be brought to Tinkel’s State Farm office on the Deuce of Clubs or to the shelter, located at 1181 E. Thornton in Show Low.