Fundraiser benefits shelter, finds homes for Gloversville dogs

Posted at: 10/12/2012 11:46 PM
Updated at: 10/13/2012 9:01 AM
By: Dan Levy

GLOVERSVILLE - The city of Gloversville went to the dogs on Friday night. It was a story of unconditional love and loyalty. It was also a story about a passion for pooches, a pink poodle skirt, and a Pizza Hut parking lot.

The hope is that the adorable strays and playful runaway puppies that wind up at the Regional Animal Shelter in Gloversville are only there temporarily, but it has become a challenge.

"We're over capacity right now," says Lorrie Venneman, the shelter's manager. "We're hoping we can find homes for some before we get any more. If there is any more we make accommodations."

To move the dogs out of the animal shelter cages and into permanent loving homes, it takes patience, ingenuity, and a Pizza Hut parking lot.

Tommy Voght came up with the idea to hold a fundraising event as both a way to raise money for the animal shelter, but also as a meet-n-greet for prospective pet owners to bond with orphaned animals anxious to find a loving home. The brainstorm came about after Tommy's family adopted a dog earlier this year.

"He was from an abusive home and near starved when we got him," Tommy recalls, "We decided to save him and there's just too many animals that need help and they can't fend for themselves."

Tommy's idea paid instant dividends. A mixed breed dog named Eliot found new owners who just happened to stop by at the Pizza Hut for dinner.

"It's a surprise," said Debbie Suits, grasping the leash that was attached to her new puppy. "You can't beat it. I'm real happy."

"When they brought him (the dog) out, he came up to us and we kind of bonded and I've been kind of wanting to get another dog, mine passed, and I'm retired, so I have a lot of time for him," said Gordy Suits, with a wide smile across his face.

To raise awareness of animal adoption, the shelter's director Robin Markert danced around the Pizza Hut parking lot wearing a pink poodle skirt.

"I'll do anything to help the animals," she said.

In addition, Gloversville native Danielle Trumbull, the reigning Miss Empire Star, was there, using her celebrity as a beauty pageant contestant to help spread the word.

"Living in Fulton County, there are a lot of cases of abuse that you hear about so as I heard  of more and more cases," Danielle said, "I knew that that was what I wanted to do as my (beauty pageant) platform."

Friday night's event raised $1,648 for the animal shelter. One dog has already been adopted and they've begun paperwork so that another dog, too, will get a new home soon.

Eventually they'd like to build a shelter big enough to accommodate up to 150 dogs, and Tommy Voght says he is already thinking up ideas so that next year's fundraiser can be bigger and better.