"Saving Paws" Benefit

Saving Paws 2014

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It was all about "Saving Paws" on Friday (Oct. 10) evening, as the Ahimsa Rescue Foundation celebrated a decade of service to the community with its fifth annual benefit.

Portraits of dogs, cats and other lovable creatures were on display throughout The Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown in Fort Smith, where the benefit was held. Many of the pets were those in Ahimsa's care, waiting to be adopted. Ahimsa Rescue Foundation specializes in the rescue and placement of abused, unwanted and abandoned companion animals. The group operates a temporary shelter for animals, and coordinates foster families to take in pets temporarily.

The evening got underway with cocktails and the sounds of jazz performed by members of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith music department faculty. The silent auction also opened, giving guests the chance to browse dozens of unique pieces of art, home decor, and gift packages.

Dinner included a delicious spread catered by 21 West End. During the meal, comedian and emcee Doug Shadell took to the stage to welcome guests, hand out prizes, and introduce special guest speaker Rev. Michael Lager of St. John's Episcopal Church in Fort Smith.

Festivities also included a live auction, which featured pet photography packages, sports memorabilia, and a weekend fly fishing getaway. An autographed "Blue Dog" print by George Rodrigue was also included in the bidding. The picture is unique in that it is only available to non-profit organizations for use in fundraisers.

Although Ahimsa is known for its pet rescue service, the group is also committed to raising awareness of  the core issue, pet overpopulation.

"Three point seven million animals are put to sleep every year in the United States because there are not enough homes according to the American Humane Association," explained Teresa Morton, founder of Ahimsa. "Five to six thousand are put to sleep in the City of Fort Smith alone. This number does not include the ones who never make it to shelters to be counted and killed."

 

While Ahimsa does its best to place as many pets as possible in adopted homes, the task is simply too great. The organization encourages citizens to have their pets spayed and neutered and to push for lawmakers to put statutes in place to help curb the overpopulation problem.

"Communities spend millions of tax payer dollars each year coping with problems that a failure to spay and neuter causes. Failure to spay and neuter also comes at the expense of millions of innocent lives each year. The pet overpopulation story is global but the solution is in every community. Cities all over the United States are aggressively addressing the animal overpopulation crisis, requiring everyone who chooses not to spay or neuter to get a license to breed.  Area with mandatory spay/neuter laws have reported a significant reduction in the number of animals taken to their facilities and subsequently euthanized."

 Proceeds are used to continue the efforts of the organization, which is entirely volunteer-driven. Ahimsa employs no staff and operates solely through the work of committed volunteers.

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Tickets

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To purchase a ticket via mail, send a check or money order to

Ahimsa Rescue Foundation P.O. Box 409 Muldrow, OK 74948

Reserve your private table/seating for 8-$500 (limited number available)

Individual ticket $50 (limited number available)

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