Pets purr and growl, they bark and meow, they coo and yip, they can even smile, but the one thing they rely on people for is LAFS.
The wellbeing of family animals, and the overall health of the area’s entire pet population, has been impacted by the Lakes Animal Friendship Society over the many years they have been in existence. The not-for-profit organization is starting off 2023 with a night of gufaws and belly-laughs as star comedian Howie Miller comes Burns Lake for a unique fundraising event dedicated to the animals.
Society co-founder Alistair Schroff said the Valentine’s Day performance was the brainchild of longtime volunteer Cheryl Jones.
“Cheryl is our on-the-ground person and fun-filled-event coordinator who had the great idea to bring in Howie,” Alistair said. “Howie provided the entertainment at the provincial woodlot conference in Burns Lake in the 2000s and he was hilarious.”
Jones said after a couple of years of deep COVID effect, it was important for people – pack animals, after all – to enjoy some togetherness while helping our family members of fur, feather and fin.
“They haven’t done anything like this before, and it’s been fun to plan,” she said. “I knew that Howie Miller had been here previously, and he was really well received. And we knew that the acronym for Lakes Animal Rescue Society is LAFS. There just felt like there was a fit there. What better connection could their be? He was the first one we thought of and we are so thankful he agreed.”
The first time Jones volunteered for LAFS, it was one of their first public events ever, a spay-neuter clinic at the Margaret Patrick Memorial Centre in 2011. More than 250 animals lined up with their people, that day, and Jones was hooked. It was so much public buy-in to what the organization was trying to do, she couldn’t ignore the engagement. As an avid pet person herself, with plenty of four-legged love in her family, she wanted to keep doing more for the group.
One of the programs she is most proud of LAFS for is the discounted spay-neuter opportunites provided to people who can’t afford the service. The operation is called SpayAid whereby “low income families apply for assistance and if eligible pay only $50 for the spay or neuter,” Jones explained.
In order to make that program possible, plus the animals houses they provide to shelter pets in their own yards, and the outreach to spay or neuter feral cats, and the education provided to local schools, and all the other services LAFS provides, there must be volunteers, donations, grants, and fundraisers.
The Burns Lake Vet Clinic, Houston Vet Clinic, and Vet To Pet based in Smithers have all been staunch supporters.
For this event, sound technician Steve Vickers has donated his services, and Home Hardware has donated the venue’s fee.
This fundraiser, the first of its kind for LAFS, is at Lakes District Secondary School on Feb. 14. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the laughter beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 each available by calling Jones at 250-685-8205, you can buy them at The Eatery, or at the door while supplies last.