People and their pets turned out for the inaugural Woofstock on Saturday, November 3 in Gulfport and over $5,000 was raised for Emma’s Foundation, a charity that provides financial assistance for dogs diagnosed with cancer, said Suzie King, the local promoter.
The fundraiser was held at Salty’s, 5413 Shore Blvd., from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and included a Waterfront District pubcrawl, a raffle for prizes, a “bark-b-que,” and a hippy-themed costume contest for dogs and their owners.
“It was really awesome,” said King. “Everybody was so happy to be there and they were very generous. They bought lots of raffle tickets and people were donating even though they didn’t have a Pawsport pub crawl ticket. They were really into it.”
The event was so successful, King said she is going to make it an annual event. The date for 2019 has not been chosen, yet.
The national-level foundation has been in existence for over six years and started in Milton, Vermont, said co-founder Ron Hatin. About two years ago after moving, he and his wife, co-founder Tina, started the Florida chapter in Hudson.
“When an owner finds out their dog has cancer and if they have financial need, they can apply to the foundation for assistance through the website,” he said.
As part of the application review process, the Hatins contact the animal’s veterinarian to find out details regarding the prognosis and they conduct a financial background check on the owner.
Upon approval, “we will apply grants to help people with the treatment for their dog,” said Ron. “The grants are paid directly to the veterinary service.
“Ninety-nine percent of the money we raise goes to help dogs. We have minimal overhead such as promotional flyers, brochures and business cards. We work out of our house and we have no paid employees. We are 100 percent volunteer.”
The foundation is named in memory of their yellow lab-border collie mix who died of jaw cancer on August 19, 2010.
“We started Emma’s Foundation for Canine Cancer to keep her memory alive,” said Tina. “We know Emma would be proud!”
Commonly, “senior citizens with limited income and people with disabilities” apply, said Ron.
“There was an older couple where the wife was skipping chemo to pay for the dog’s chemo,” said Ron. “Her husband said, ‘My family only shows up at Christmas and my dog looks at me every morning with love in her eyes.’ That was the end of it for me. That’s what motivated us to start the foundation to help people in the name of Emma.”
To date, their foundation has helped 454 dogs. The typical cost for cancer treatment ranges from $3,000 to $7,000.
“That’s hard for people who do not have that kind of disposable income,” said Ron. “The need is huge.”
As part of caring for dogs, “please take one day out of the month and for a few minutes, check your dog for lumps and bumps including the inside of their mouth,” said Tina. “Early detection is key.”
For further information, to apply for assistance, for volunteering opportunities and to view a photo gallery of Emma’s Angels, visit EmmasFoundationForCanineCancer.org.