DETROIT LAKES — The biggest beanies, the prettiest dresses and the most charming bow ties showed up in force on derby day to benefit the Marshmallow Animal Shelter in Detroit Lakes on Saturday, May 7.
The Bonnets and Bowties fundraiser for the animal shelter, which also served as the Kentucky Derby viewing party, drew more than 50 attendees and aimed to raise $10,000 at the event for the charity at animal-focused nonprofit, said Cassi Ohman, shelter manager for Marshmallow Animal Sanctuary.
“This fundraiser is really, really important to make sure we can keep doing what we’re doing for the community,” Ohman said. “We welcomed 14 animals this week, four dogs and 10 cats.”
The shelter also spayed or neutered 26 cats this week, she said, which translates to a $3,000 bill for the animal shelter; reinforcing the shelter’s need for continued donations and fundraising.
“We also had 11 dogs repaired in April, so that’s another big vet bill for us,” Ohman said. “So (the Bonnets and Bowties fundraiser) is really helping all of this happen.”
The event also included a photo contest for various prizes where owners could dress their pets in beanies or bow ties and submit their photos online. Murphy and his owner Kari Shamp won first place and will receive a professional pet photography session from Jenna Lynn’s Colorful Moments. Second place went to Shandy and her owner Susan Andersen, and they will receive a pet-themed gift basket. Peyto and owner Ashley Schmitz won third place and will receive an 8-inch canvas portrait.
“Our photo contest raised about $1,200 for the shelter, that’s awesome and that’s after expenses and everything,” Ohman said. “We’ve only done this fundraiser three other times and I think it raised between $5,000 and $6,000. Our goal this year is to raise $10,000, so hopefully we we’ll reach it.”
Two of the biggest prizes raffled were an outdoor fire ring and WE Fest 2022 ticket and camping package worth an estimated $700.
In a typical year, the shelter takes in about 500 animals and each one will be adopted, unless they have a “fatal disease that only degrades their quality of life”, which is rare. , she said.
One of the participants, Laura Derke, said her life changed when she had an unexpected adoption from the shelter two years ago.
“Honestly, I dreamed of a dog and the next morning I woke up and never looked at the sites, but I did, and there she was, my little Zoe,” said Derk. “Her eyes just spoke to me, and we already had a dog…but we met her, and we decided to have Zoe overnight and my husband said the next morning, ‘She’s not coming back, it is ours now. “”
Derke said it took Zoe about a year to feel comfortable in her new surroundings, but keeping her there has been a “blessing”.
“I don’t know what powers made this possible, but it was right before COVID and I was home from work, and these girls are our life,” she said. “Someone just sent it.”