“Bark to the Future” was the theme of the 22nd annual Fur Ball, benefiting the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR). On April 27, guests were greeted at the entrance to the Cheyenne Mountain Resort by an iconic silver DeLorean sports car complete with open bat-wing doors. All were invited to take a peek inside, snap a selfie, and do a bit of time travel.

Inside, the venue was humming with excitement as the stars of the show — puppies, kittens, chickens, rabbits, and guinea pigs — awaited their turns to be presented to the crowd for adoption. Volunteers are key to the success of the HSPPR, and many attended the event, assisting as pet handlers. Pets that need extra attention are often placed in foster homes, where they can get needed TLC. The average shelter stay is only eight days, with care costs around $250 per pet, not including medical care.

HSPPR Board Chair Lindie Eads said, “I could not be more proud to be part of such an amazing organization. (HSPPR does) so much for our community, from animal adoptions, to cruelty investigations, to low-cost vet care. The folks at HSPPR deserve so much praise for the hard work they put in every single day.”

The sold-out fundraiser benefiting HSPPR was attended by a crowd of 450. This year, the event raised more than $430,000 through ticket sales, live and silent auctions, and the raise-the-paddle event.

The community is welcome to tour the HSPPR facility, located behind the Eighth Street Walmart at 610 Abbot Lane. Here is the hub of services provided to homeless, lost, and unwanted pets, ranging from dogs and cats, to chickens, llamas, birds and reptiles. No animal needing assistance is turned away, and an emphasis is placed on assisting owners to keep loved pets in their homes if at all possible. Extensive veterinary care, foster care, animal law enforcement and rehabilitation are key services provided.

There is often a line of potential adopters waiting at the door before the HSPPR opens, especially on weekends. According to Gretchen Pressley, the organization’s community relations manager, “In 2018, the average length of stay for adult dogs was 2 ½ days; puppies was one day, cats was five days and kittens (were) two days.”

Betsy VanderWerf, HSPPR board member, said, “Every animal who comes through our doors, regardless of age, breed, medical or behavioral condition, is accepted with open arms and treated as needed. We will find them a suitable adoptive home.”

Prior to adoption, all pets are microchipped, and spayed or neutered. If needed, pets receive behavior modification treatment from staff and trained volunteers. Aggression or shyness could necessitate extra attention prior to a pet finding a forever home. Colorado Springs is fortunate to have a shortage of adoptable dogs. Depending upon available space, volunteers will travel to other states to pick up pets needing adoption.

Generous guests began opening their wallets early in the evening, bidding on a variety of silent auction items. A tasty dinner came next, followed by the ever-popular pet parade featuring adoptable animals.

The evening highlight was a video presentation titled, “Against all Odds: A Story of Perseverance,” that described a heartbreaking case of severe animal cruelty. Animal Law Enforcement Officer Paul Karwoski, who investigated the case, adopted one of the animals involved, one-eyed French bulldog Kemba, after the two forged an unbreakable bond.

Kelly Likes, Director of Development, summed up the evening. “I think this event is really special because it brings together our supporters to help the animals, and provide funds to help us combat animal cruelty in the area.”

The other major fundraiser for the HSPPR is Pawtoberfest at Bear Creek Park on Sept. 14. All are invited to the beer festival and dog walk in the park.

For more information, visit hsppr.org.

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