Lend a helping paw at Mount Holly’s Pet Project

by Tori Hamby

Kelly Grindstaff, owner of Kelly’s K-9 Homemade Treats, cradles a kitten she adopted at last year’s Pet Project. (MIM file photo)

MOUNT HOLLY – Mountain Island pet owners and art lovers will have the opportunity in May to help a local nonprofit save abandoned animals while enjoying an afternoon of art.

The Catawba River Artisans, a group of local artisans who exhibit their work at GALLERY@CITY will hold its Second Annual Pet Project on May 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the gallery, 128 S. Main St., Mount Holly Proceeds will go to the Animal League of Gaston County, a group that works to save unwanted animals from being euthanized at the Gaston County Animal Shelter.

“We are all animal lovers,” Catawba River Artisans President Renee Clemmer said. “Last year, before we planned our first (Pet Project), we were looking for something we could do and a cause we could support. The Animal League of Gaston County does such a great job with rescuing animals that we thought it would be a great fit.”

The event will include arts, fine crafts and pet products for sale and a silent auction featuring local artists. Participants who contribute a bag of pet food or make a donation to the animal league will be registered to win prizes. Organizers will also set up an animal adoption booth for those interested in adopting cats or dogs.

Last year’s event brought in about $1,000, 250 pounds of pet food and homes for one kitten and two dogs. This year, Clemmer said, the organization hopes to go beyond those numbers.

“We hope to exceed what we raised last year, even double it if we can,” she said.

Members of the animal league help other nonprofit organizations and no-kill animal shelters rescue adoptable pets from Gaston County’s animal shelter, said Ann Isenhour, who serves on the animal league’s board.  Animals at the shelter who are not reclaimed or adopted out in a set number of days are killed to make room for new animals.

“Every animal that is in that shelter is there because of a person,” Isenhour said. “We really need to work on increasing adoptions. There are some really good dogs and cats that die there every week.”

The Animal League of Gaston County also manages the Gaston Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, at 972 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia. The event marks the animal league’s 10th anniversary, and the clinic has performed more than 9,000 surgeries since opening in 2009. Proceeds from the event will be split between the clinic and the group’s rescue efforts.

Because the clinic, owned by a private veterinarian, has no residency or income level restrictions, all pet owners may use the clinic’s spay-and-neuter services, Isenhour said. The clinic offers the surgeries for the following prices: $65 for dogs up to 60 pounds, $95 for dogs 61to 95 pounds, $125 for dogs more than 91 pounds, $65 for female cats and $40 for male cats. Heartworm, feline leukemia and feline AIDS tests are available. Animals undergoing surgery may also receive vaccinations for an additional $10.

“We are trying to reach people who don’t already have a regular vet,” Isenhour said. “We are very grateful to the Catawba River Artisans for taking the time to help us out with our efforts.”

Want to help?

Send an email to catawbariverartisans@gmail.com to volunteer at this year’s Pet Project event.

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