by: Jen Reeder for the Huffington Post
Many other dog lovers around the country are having similar experiences. The Bow Wow Film Festival is a new show touring America to raise money for local rescue organizations – it has already raised $25,000 for shelters in 14 cities since June. It’s the brainchild of Susan Kelley, a Boulder, Colo. resident who realized while volunteering for the Longmont Humane Society that a film festival could help strapped animal shelters. She said many shelter fundraisers are galas or walk-a-thons that take hundreds of volunteer hours to pull off, and can be limited to a narrow demographic.
“It struck me that it would be really fun to have an event that was inclusive of anyone in the community – anyone who loves movies, anyone who loves dogs could come to this event,” she told me. “Dogs cut through that demographic delineation that we have for so many things, so I thought it would be fun to have an event that different generations, different activity levels, different socioeconomic levels could all celebrate.”
“I’ve had people come up to me after the show and they’re just crying because the movies are so well done and they really get to the heart of how much our dogs mean to us,” she said. “It’s been unbelievable.”
For instance, Kelley said a recent show in Anchorage, Alaska took place on a Saturday morning, and the rescue organization only charged $5 per ticket, but brought a bunch of puppies that were all adopted. In contrast, an evening event in Telluride, Colo. had a much higher ticket price and included a silent auction with expensive items for purchase, with all proceeds benefiting the shelter.
“The films are universal, so you can tailor the whole event around what the rescue wants to do,” she said. “Any town with a theater or a brewery or an arts center and a rescue can put this on.”
Her goal is to make hosting the Bow Wow Film Festival as easy as possible for shelters so they can focus on saving animals.
“I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had a conference call cancelled because somebody’s had puppies dumped on their doorstep or some kind of crisis happened and they had to deal with it,” Kelley said. “The easier we can make it for those folks to support their mission, the happier it makes everybody … our love of dogs really is a very cool common bond.”
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