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Cheers to seven years of Hair of the Dog

Fundraiser in support of Cochrane and Area Humane Society set for Saturday
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Hair of the Dog is supported by major sponsors Kendra Watt Real Estate Group CIR Realty, Kari Jensen of Chew Chew Pediatrics, Erol Yersel of Erol's Automotive, Jason Helfrich owner of Royal Mechanical Services Ltd. and Fiona Sharman with Global Pet Foods Cochrane. (File photo)

Animal lovers rejoice! The seventh annual Hair of the Dog fundraiser in support of the Cochrane and Area Humane Society is a go for Saturday (Sept. 25).

A $40 ticket for the event which starts at 5:30 p.m. at The Venue Bar and Grill, comes with a full course dinner, live music, access to a silent auction, a live auction and 50/50 raffles with all proceeds going to the Cochrane and Area Humane Society.

The Venue will be enforcing the Restriction Exemption Program requiring all patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test before entry to the event. Outdoor seating will also be available for those who aren't vaccinated and don't submit to a rapid test.

This year’s sponsors include Erol’s Automotive, Global Pet Foods Cochrane, Springfield Kennels, Royal Mechanical Services, and the ones who started the event seven years ago — local realtor Kendra Watt of CIR Realty and her best friend Kari Jensen of Chew Chew Pediatric Dentistry.

“Back in 2015 a dog that was very special to me had passed away, and so my friend and I wanted to do something special in her memory,” Watt said. “We decided that we would throw a little party and raise some funds for the Humane Society and it ended up being such a success. We decided that we would do it the next year and now it’s turned into an annual event.”

“With the support of the sponsors, The Venue and all the rest of it — this is definitely not a one man show. This is Kari Jensen and then we also had Erol Yersel join us for the last couple years. It’s a group effort between all of us.”

Despite last year’s fundraiser having to take place virtually because of COVID-19 restrictions, Watt said it was still a huge success.

“The last event was about $29,000 and our record was our fourth year when we raised $49,000. In total over the last six years, we’re close to $150,000.”

According to Watt, It’s such a fun affair that the same people tend to come back every year. Over sixty per cent of this year’s tickets sold just one week after the date announcement. It is now completely sold out.

“It’s thanks to the people that support this event," she said. "We couldn’t do it without our sponsors — from our major sponsors that tend to come back every year, all the way down to anybody that just donates an item to be raffled off for the silent auction — it all adds up. Without the generosity of the community, there’s no way that this would be as successful."

Lisa Kedian, communications coordinator with the Cochrane and Area Humane Society, said that Hair of the Dog is comparable to the shelter's annual Wags and Whiskers Fundraising Gala in terms of how much it supports the organization financially.

"It helps raise a significant amount of funds and the majority of those funds go toward helping our in-house veterinary clinic and hospital, and to the medical care of our animals," she said.

"We appreciate our community so much, our supporters and the volunteers and staff and everybody just goes out of their way to make sure that everything is functioning 1,000 per cent here at the shelter at all times,"

Watt, who has three dogs, dedicates much of her time to animal welfare outside of her career as a real-estate agent. In addition to spearheading Hair of the Dog, she volunteers and fosters with the Cochrane Humane Society.

“Since we’ve been doing these fundraisers, I have been very involved with the Humane Society,” she said. “I do a lot of fostering for them and I have a few of what we call ‘foster fails’ — where you’re fostering a dog and you just don’t give it back.”

The most recent dog that she adopted after fostering for six months was the clubhouse pup for the Calgary Stampeders.

“His name is QB and he’s a little bit famous,” Watt said. “He’s part of our pack right now, so it’s fun having him around because sometimes people recognize him when we’re out and about.”

Tickets for Hair of the Dog can only be purchased online and in advance of the event at cochranehumane.ca/events/upcoming-events.