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A Community for the Influential & Professional Woman

Bark in the Dark

Thursday, 08 September 2016 00:00
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Bark in the Dark

It takes a whole community to support homeless animals in West Michigan and make it possible to provide care for the 3,564 animals who were adopted from Humane Society of West Michigan last year. On Saturday, October 8th nearly 1,000 community members will come together at Riverside Park for the 4th Annual Bark in the Dark presented by Meijer. This fundraising event will celebrate this success and help save even more lives in the coming year!

Two of those dedicated community members who have committed to supporting animals in need are Bark in the Dark 2016’s co-chairs, Shelley Irwin, host & producer of The WGVU Morning Show, and Angie Sanborn, a commercial banker with Independent Bank. Shelley has rescued 3 Jack Russell Terriers; Leah, Petie & Ralphie, and Angie has adopted a dog named Rhonda and a cat named Bill. Angie says of her experience volunteering at Humane Society of West Michigan, “You can’t go wrong supporting HSWM when they improve the lives of thousands of animals annually! My heart is warmed every time I see another adorable dog, cat or bunny adopted to become a cherished family member and I am reminded that as a volunteer, I get back so much more than I give.” As long time supporters of HSWM’s mission and Bark in the Dark, the two have contributed their talents & passions to make this event a successful fundraiser and reach towards the goal to raise $85,000 to benefit animals in need. The funds generated at this event provide care for the thousands of animals who come through HSWM’s doors each year and supports additional programming including a pet food bank, low cost vaccine clinics, and humane education programs to teach the next generation of our community how to care for and advocate on behalf of animals in need. As a 100% donor funded non-profit organization, community support is critical to the success of Humane Society of West Michigan.

Angie began volunteering at HSWM in the cattery and then volunteered at the registration table for the first annual Bark in the Dark in 2013. From there she volunteered to run the registration process for the next two events, and this year we are proud to have her serving as event co-chair! Angie’s passion inspires others to do good too, she’s gotten her team at Independent Bank involved with Humane Society of West Michigan. We are excited that they will be sponsoring the Start/Finish line this year! Angie says of her workplace, “I’m fortunate to work at an organization that highly values community involvement and supports its employees in events like Bark in the Dark. It has been a lot of fun getting a team of co-workers together every year to participate and a shared love of animals has been a wonderful way to connect with my colleagues.” There are still sponsorship and team opportunities available for the 2016 event and sponsorship packages begin at just $250! Find out more at http://barkinthedark.org.

Shelley Irwin adopted her dog Ralphie from Humane Society of West Michigan 5 years ago and began inviting HSWM in for interviews periodically on The WGVU Morning Show. This is her second year co-chairing Bark in the Dark. Shelley loves running, swimming, and biking and is frequently running in a race or participating in a triathlon on her weekends. Shelley enjoys Bark in the Dark so much because “it is a gathering of animal-loving, like-minded people who want to give back. The event is a great form of exercise for both people and their animals. The event is for the next Ralphie, Leah, or Petie who are still waiting for their forever homes.”

This family & dog friendly glow-in-the-dark 5k & 1 mile fun run/walk is a total blast! People and dogs deck out in costumes and glow-wear and enjoy family friendly activities including face painting, balloon animals, and a photo booth before the run/walk and afterwards there will be music, food, and a beer tent for the adults! It’s an incredibly fun evening for a fantastic cause and registration is open now at www.barkinthedark.org. Youth pricing is available for $10 and individual adult registration is $35. Participants are encouraged to register early and engage in online & offline fundraising to generate additional donations from family & friends to benefit HSWM’s animals. Our goal is to raise $17,000 in participant donations, this will almost cover Humane Society of West Michigan’s pet food expenses for one year!

Funds raised from this event make a real impact in the daily lives of animals at Humane Society of West Michigan. One of our “happy tails” is the story of a dog named Mekko who was adopted from HSWM in 2014 as a puppy. His adopters soon found that he had serious anxiety related behavior problems when left alone. Mekko was returned to HSWM and for a year our staff worked with him to relieve his anxiety. HSWM knew a perfect fit would be found, one who could train with Mekko. The adopter was found and Mekko recently celebrated his one year anniversary with his family! He’s much better, but is still afraid of the dark. His family has put night lights all over the house for Mekko, which helps him settle! Mekko loves to run and play with his brother Zuke, who was also adopted from HSWM. Mekko’s parents told us they can’t imagine their family without him. It is because of our donors, volunteers, and supporters that HSWM is able to provide training resources and extended stays for animals needing a little extra TLC before they are adopted. We are so grateful to the individuals & organizations that make it a priority to give to animals in need. Please join us at Bark in the Dark on Saturday, October 8th and join the event on Facebook!

Contact Brooke Hotchkiss, HSWM Development Specialist at 616-791-8089 or bhotchkiss@hswestmi.org with any questions regarding the event.

Our Mission
To promote the humane treatment and responsible care of animals in West Michigan through education, example, placement, and protection.

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