It was a rainy but fun day Sept. 19 for the Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation as they hosted the inaugural Pigskin for Pooches fundraiser at Smith Pavilion in Maryville.
The event raised $5,000 before expenses to benefit Phase II construction of the Blount County Animal Center, foundation president Chris Protzman said.
“We had a great turnout. We estimated the crowd at well over 230 people, and we raised about $5,000 before expenses. We’re very please with that considering it was raining all day,” he said.
Protzman praised Charles Wear for preparing “world-class” barbecue for the event. “Everyone enjoyed the barbecue. That was a delicious beginning of what ended up being a great day,” he said.
Protzman said the foundation wanted to do a fall event when Justin Chambers at Smith Funeral Home offered to host an event at Smith Pavilion. Sept. 19, the date of the University of Florida/University of Tennessee football game, was open at the Pavilion, and the foundation opted to have tailgate party fundraiser for the animal center. The event featured animals from AnimalWorks looking to be adopted into forever homes, he said.
Abbey Sinders, a Bluegrass fiddle player who performed with her family, opened the event with an hour long concert. Blount County deputy Chris Morgan showed off the agility of his partner K-9 Officer Hanson. Guests also were entertained by the canine show, the Chattanooga Orange Blast. A Chihuahua “sang” Rocky Top before the game kicked off.
“We had a live auction with original work from artist Rara Schiltt, which was by far the crowd favorite, and raised over $800 in silent auction donations alone,” said Protzman.
Protzman said all proceeds went toward Phase II of the animal center. Anyone interested in donating to the Phase II construction is asked to visit www.smacf.net.
“They can donate there. We also have a link on our site now for items needed to get the shelter operational now,” he said. “We’re soliciting any and all donations of material and/or money to get the center operational immediately. Just tell us the donation is for operational needs, and it will be transferred to the county to get Phase I operating.”
Protzman said there is also a link to buy dog beds for each kennel.
The Kubanda beds are suspended, hammock-style beds made of poly resin on a PVC frame. “It gets them off the concrete, makes them less anxious and more adoptable,” he said. “We’re trying to get 50 beds, one for each kennel.”