$8.4 million. That sum pales in comparison to, say, our Commander in Chief’s billion (and billion and billion) dollar demands for a wall along our country’s southern border, but it’s a monster figure for a small island chain looking to build a mere four walls to house our helpless furry friends.
That sum is also the estimated cost for the new Florida Keys SPCA animal shelter that opened recently Stock Island, thanks in large part to the elephantine fundraising efforts of our local animal-loving community.
Here in the Keys, there’s very little we won’t do for the puppies and the kitties. A beer pong tournament for our furry friends? I’ve been perfecting my arc shot since high school. Vibrator races on Thursday nights at Mary Ellen’s to raise money for pet adoption and spay/neuter services? My money’s on “Conan the Vibrarian” to win it all.
Our official motto might be “One Human Family,” but our two- and four-legged companions are very much included in the definition of “human” when it comes to the causes at which we fling our charitable dollars.
If the thought of tossing ping-pong balls and cheering on scampering sex toys doesn’t put you in the most charitable mood, however, the SPCA’s 12th annual Spring Social presented by Hank’s Hair of the Dog Saloon could be more your speed (pun very much intended).
Held at the verdant Key West Golf Club (6450 E. College Road), the Spring Social has become one of the FKSPCA’s premier fundraising opportunities, raising thousands of dollars each year to ensure that the organization can continue to provide critical adoption, training and spay/neuter services to our critter population.
The FKSPCA is dedicated to the protection of abandoned, unwanted and mistreated companion animals. The organization provides a clean, safe environment, health care, environmental enrichment and adoption services for the animals in its care.
Not to be confused with the nationally funded ASPCA, the FKSPCA is a completely independent, private, not-forprofit organization; therefore, fundraising is critical to both its longevity and the breadth of services it can provide.
While it does receive funds from Monroe County under its contract to provide animal control services in the Florida Keys, maintaining the high standards of care it the FKSPCA provides, including veterinary care and other important programs such as spay/neuter and community outreach, can only be accomplished through donations from the community. Every donation, large or small, is important and necessary — especially when you consider that the agency houses close to 200 animals in its Stock Island facility every day.
Over the last few years, the FKSPCA’s primary fundraising focus has been the construction of the much-needed shelter Stock Island. Originally slated to open in March 2018 (screw you, Hurricane Irma), the shelter was finally completed just a handful of weeks ago. And even though construction is technically over (after almost three agonizing years), every dollar matters now more than ever to continue the SPCA’s forward momentum.
Almost all of the $8.4 million needed for the new two-story building was privately raised, a staggering sum for a relatively small population. But citizens of the Keys are nothing if not mind-bogglingly supportive of civic programming, and the FKSPCA was able to rely on them to raise enough to fully furnish and equip the new shelter (even though it took a little longer than anticipated to open).
Envisioned as more of a community center than strictly an animal shelter, the new building will also sserve as a venue for the FKSOCA’s children’s summer reading program and its Faith initiative, which temporarily houses pets of people in emergency situations or of victims of domestic violence at no cost. The new building will also offer more space for the organization’s dog training program and its low cost/free spay/neuter clinic.
The Spring Social is one of the biggest ways in which the FKSPCA gets the financial support it needs, and this year’s event promises to be as rollicking as ever.
Irreverent local DJ Rude Girl will emcee the festivities, with musical performances by the duo of Trop Rock guitarist Captain Josh Ramsteck and unforgettable upright bassist Bassman Bill Wissinger (his beard will haunt your dreams … in a good way).
There will also be a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and a live auction barked (yes, another terrible intentional pun) by orthopedic surgeon and apparent fast talker Dr. Chris Bensen. Opportunities to walk away a winner are endless.
General admission tickets for $55 include entry at 6:30 p.m., dinner provided by Outback Steakhouse and complimentary beer, wine and soda courtesy of La Te Da and Florida Keys Brewing Company. VIP tickets for $125 also entitle the bearer to early entry to the fun, a 5:30 p.m. champagne and appetizer reception, preferred seating, extra dinner options from Ocean Grill and Bar and early access to the silent auction.
Tickets can be purchased at the shelter (5711 College Road), at the door or online at www.keystix.com.
If you can’t make it to the event but those Sarah McLachlan commercials make you feel all the feelings and you have PTSD every time you hear the song “Angel,” consider making a donation to FKSPCA. It’s easy at www.fkspca.org.
(PSA: If you have a huge heart, love to snuggle on fluffy things and feel compelled to rescue all the critters, I highly suggest you click on the “Adopt” link. By the time this article gets published, I may be buried in puppies. Send help. And weewee pads.) ¦