On December 4, 2022 , we held our first ever Puppy Fest! During this event, we raised $500 for the SPCA of Tompkins County.
Petsmart in Ithaca donated literally hundreds of pieces of BRAND NEW merchandise to our event. Was some of the merchandise out of season? Sure! But your dog doesn't know when Halloween is anyway? So go ahead and feed him Halloween treats in January - your dog is NOT going to care.
We sold them at over 90% off their retail prices. We were literally charging $1 for most items, and really big items were like $5.
We held a little doggie flea market. That was the PLAN anyway. Petsmart ended up donating tons of items for cats, hamsters, fish, even bearded dragons! Can you imagine dressing your bearded dragon up in a costume? (I can't, but I also don't have one).
Getting a Santa was going to be tough - we needed someone reliable, friendly, who would be good with both dogs and kids. I asked my dad. He said no. He said "try to find anyone else on the planet who could possibly do it, but if you have to PAY someone, then I'll do it". Typical dad response. I promise, I did try to find someone else, but at the end of the day, he became Santa.
I think he underestimated how many dogs he would get to cuddle with. He had the BEST time. He held a Chihuahua puppy AND a Rottweiler puppy - and sometimes he would just have dogs piled on top of him. It may have been the best day of his life.
We held activities too. We had a children's book reading by Jan Abernethy (that's my mom - the whole family got involved with this) - a book about animals. We also did photos and a pet costume parade!
11:30am Children’s book reading “ABC Animal Rhymes” by author Jan Abernethy
1-3pm Photos with Santa for pets and kids!
3pm Pet Costume Parade with prizes!
Ithaca College students were working on a media project, so they "covered" the event and filmed it like they were doing a TV piece. It turned out REALLY well!!
We also had several vendors attend as well - Kelly's Canine Creations sold dog treats, and she donated ALL of the money to the SPCA. We had a pet insurance company there and a professional photographer to take the Santa photos.
At the end of the day, we were exhausted, but in that really positive "eustress" kind of way. We loved this event and we can't wait to do it again in the Spring!
If you're interested in attending our Spring Puppy Fest, sign up here! We'll keep you posted with more information.