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Millers Falls fundraiser brings money, awareness to dogs in need

  • Kathy Scherer takes Kringle on a wheelbarrow ride in the dog parade during the 6th annual Mutts in Need fundraising event for the FCSO Regional Dog Shelter on Saturday afternoon at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun club, August 11, 2018. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Jerry Axelson and Nancy Wilson pose for a photo with their dog Mabel during the 6th annual Mutts in Need fundraising event for the FCSO Regional Dog Shelter on Saturday afternoon at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun club, August 11, 2018. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Nicole Spring holds Ozzy, a Shih Tzu mix, after participating in the dog parade during the 6th annual Mutts in Need fundraising event for the FCSO Regional Dog Shelter on Saturday afternoon at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun club, August 11, 2018. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Attendees watch the dog parade during the 6th annual Mutts in Need fundraising event for the FCSO Regional Dog Shelter on Saturday afternoon at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun club, August 11, 2018. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Nicole Spring leads Ozzy, a Shih Tzu mix, in the dog parade during the 6th annual Mutts in Need fundraising event for the FCSO Regional Dog Shelter on Saturday afternoon at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun club, August 11, 2018. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Attendees peruse auction items during the 6th annual Mutts in Need fundraising event for the FCSO Regional Dog Shelter on Saturday afternoon at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun club, August 11, 2018. Staff Photo/Dan Little



Staff Writer
Sunday, August 12, 2018

MONTAGUE — People paraded their pups — from Chihuahuas, to Siberian Huskies, to Shiba Inus and all types of mutts — down a red carpet in Millers Falls.

The sixth annual Mutts in Need event was a fundraiser for the Franklin County Regional Dog Shelter and a social event for more than 100 people and their furry friends.

Hosted by the Millers Falls Rod & Gun Club and put on by the nonprofit Friends of the Franklin County Regional Dog Shelter, the event included dinner and drinks, live music, auctions and raffles and under a large tent, a dog parade.

“All the money raised here today goes solely to the needful dogs in our community,” said Dave Pomerantz, member of the Friends’ Board of Directors.

It was all to benefit the shelter, which serves 21 Franklin County municipalities and provides care to between 220 and 240 dogs per year, according to Leslee Colucci, the shelter’s director.

“This year has been a particularly hard year for us with all the dogs that have been starving or beaten,” Colucci said. “This week alone, we had 10 dogs come to us that needed medical care.”

The number of people who showed up for the event was encouraging to Colucci, who thanked them for their support for “these four-legged critters we love so much.”

The Franklin County Regional Dog Shelter was the vision of Sheriff Christopher Donelan, according to Colucci, and in 2012, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office received a $20,000 grant to refurbish an old, town-owned storage building and make it a shelter. The shelter was born and the annual Mutts in Need fundraiser has happened since.

This year, the volunteer-driven event raffled off $1,173 worth of items, including baskets of food and wine, car wash vouchers, gift certificates, lottery tickets and toys and treats for dogs. Auctions for items like a horse bridle, an “adventure basket,” a basket of wine, ski passes and handmade crafts also went on throughout the evening.

For those in attendance, the experience was about more than the money raised.

“A lot of these dogs here came from the shelter,” said Catelyn Ames, a volunteer at the shelter since March. “You see them in pictures (at the shelter), and then you get to see them with their owners here. It’s wonderful.”

Ames decided to volunteer for the shelter after her dog died last November, and said it’s been a great way for her to meet like-minded people while caring for animals in need.

This was Ames’ first Mutts in Need event. She said seeing and interacting with dogs that have been rehabilitated reaffirmed her strong belief in the work of the shelter.

Before a cheering crowd, Colucci introduced the “paraders” that were once dogs under her care. One-by-one, there was Mable, Tessie, Penny, Robby, Ruby, Lilly, Joe, Jinx, Ozzy and Kringle, each a different size, shape and breed, and each with a different — and mostly sad — back story. But on Saturday, each of them showed they have something in common: a smiling, loving owner and a new home.

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.