I recently was involved in an event that is getting a lot of press, both positive and negative. I'd like to respond on behalf of my organization but I can't so I will respond personally, here on my personal blog. Again, just to be clear, this is all me and only me.
There are two major points I'd like to focus on. 1 - the money factor and 2 - the animal factor.
First of all, I can't say enough - never believe everything you read. No one ever seems to get the facts right and if they are, it's usually not the entire story. As it pertains to this event, many think my organization paid for this or that someone paid for it. In fact, this is not true in the slightest. Yes, man power and product and therefore cost does factor in but nothing was actually purchased. Everything was donated and many versions of this story seem to neglect this crucial piece of information.
To take it one step further, we were the benefactors of this event, not the event organizers. We simply benefit from it. Do a little research and you will see that 95.9% of every dollar spent goes to the animals here. That is why the event organizer chose us as the benefactor. And that is why we agree that money-heavy fundraisers are not something we focus on.
As far as the donors and participants are concerned, here's the thing...people like to help but may not have money or time to do so or it just may not make sense at the time. If a florist loves animals and sees an opportunity to help in another creative way then that is great! People don't realize $5,000 in sushi does not necessarily equate to a $5,000 monetary donation. And let's be honest, the same boring fundraisers get little attention after a while. So I see no harm in a lighting company donating their services to an event to make it that much more spectacular and worthy of its steep ticket price. Personally, at $250 a head, you'd expect fantastic. I think the real story here is how everyone worked together and chipped in and coordinated such an elaborate event for such a minimal cost.
In addition to the money issue, people are also up in arms about the welfare of the pets at the event. We would NEVER endanger a pet or put them in harm. In fact, bringing pets to these events is an amazing opportunity to meet potential adopters and start conversations about who we are and what we do. It shows that these pets are well trained, well behaved and highly adoptable. (It always shocks me when people comment on how well-behaved our dogs are. Well, I am not going to show up to a social event with a dog that was known for attacking someone. That just makes no sense.) If we felt that there was an issue, like for instance, the music being to loud, we would simply remove them from the situation. All of our animals are only handled by people we personally staff. These handlers never take their eyes off these guys and are very aware of their behaviors.
Now, as for the other people's pets, I can't speak for them but is it really that horrible if someone wants to dress them up and flaunt them around? Do I think it's completely excessive and unnecessary? Yes. Do I feel the same about this event? Yes. Do I wish I could have hijacked it as my own wedding? YES! But do I think it is harmful or does it truly effect me or my pets? No.
On another note, how freaking cute is my dog?!