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Humane Society of the Nature Coast event can raise funds, increase adoptions

BROOKSVILLE — Any dog up for adoption would drool over the menu of activities the Humane Society of the Nature Coast has planned for Sunday through Feb. 21.

The events will support a fundraising campaign to expand and modernize the shelter at Wiscon and Mobley roads.

Kicking off Sunday is a repeat of last year's first and highly successful Heart to Heart event, during which volunteers are penned with a pet for a week. Although the 17 kennels are kept scrupulously clean and the canines are fed a nutritional balance, sometimes the canines need more personal care than staffers can give them, said executive director Joanne Schoch.

In a week's time, hearts are shared with the animals. The sleep-overs are visited by friends whose awareness of the shelter and the pets' needs — especially homes — is heightened. During and after last year's Heart to Heart, adoptions jumped 40 percent, Schoch said.

Some $6,000 was raised by visitors who, for a donation, could support a volunteer taking his or her charge for a run, supply a book for a temporary kennel keeper, buy T-shirts or pet supplies or take a chance on a raffle for dog amenities.

Signed up so far as dog sitters are teams from Wal-Mart Transportation, the Sheriff's Office, the Humane Society's board of directors and its junior board of directors. Other individuals are joining the vigil as well.

Word of the event is posted on zootoo.com, a Web site promoting animal care and products. Having been impressed with the project, a representative of Zootoo will visit the shelter Feb. 16 to inspect the premises and check out its needs.

That visit is part of an effort by the society to earn a prize of up to $1 million from Zootoo for a shelter overhaul. Some 600 shelters nationwide are in the running, according to Zootoo.

In the first phase of selection, individuals are invited to post a brief message or photo of their pet, mentioning the Nature Coast shelter. For each posting, points are awarded to that shelter. The local society had moved up to No. 23 on Sunday on the Zootoo web site's nationwide list.

To go to the top, the society sponsored a Zootoo day Saturday, and is having another one from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today to explain how individuals can get their pet on the Web site for free.

Information tables will be set up at Publix in Glen Lakes Plaza, Petco at 7223 Coastal Blvd., Cortez Community Banks at 1000 S Broad St. and 13080 Spring Hill Drive (9 a.m. to noon), Breakfast Clubs at Seven Hills Plaza and Outback Plaza in New Port Richey, Mariner Lanes at 3544 Mariner Blvd., Complete Technology Solutions at Berkeley Manor Square in Spring Hill and the Best Western Hotel at Ridge Manor West.

Twenty societies with the most points will be whittled by a Zootoo committee to 10 of the most deserving. The committee will visit the top 10.

Pet postings are due by March 13.

"Our community really has a shot at this," Schoch said.

The award is to be announced in the fall.

Add to all of those events a party: From noon to 7 p.m. Feb. 16, Schoch will host her own open house birthday party at the shelter. Rather than gifts, she is requesting donations for the shelter. Last year's party garnered $10,000.

Beth Gray can be contacted at graybethn@earthlink.net.

To help

Shelter stories

Your experience with the Humane Society could win it a $1 million shelter overhaul from Zootoo.com.

Humane Society of the Nature Coast event can raise funds, increase adoptions 02/08/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 8, 2009 8:11pm]
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