“We have to get creative to make a difference in the world,” says Lori Paul, and she is no stranger to creativity.
A professional musician, vocal coach and a resourceful crafter, Paul has coordinated a unique fundraiser ‘Tie One On‘ to bring attention and revenue to a local animal welfare organization, Community Animal Projects (CAP), that busily works under the radar in Chilliwack.
In the evening of October 2, Paul will put her collection of more than 200 vintage and designer men’s neckties up for grabs for a cause that saves the paws.
Ever since CAP helped Paul and her parents re-home a cat that they found living under their porch during a bitter winter two years ago, Paul knew she wanted to put on some form of fundraiser to thank CAP for all that they do.
Since 2008, CAP founders Carolyn Pinsent and Jennifer Arnold have been donating their spare time to saving homeless animals from suffering, without much publicity.
CAP doesn’t have a facility, they rely on generous donations for funding, and they have less than a dozen volunteers. They try to maintain a difficult balance between taking on fundraising efforts and actually utilizing their expertise to care for homeless pets.
“That’s the reason why we’re putting on the event,” Paul explains, “to help free them up to do the work they set out to do.”
Paul arranged Tie One On without incurring any costs. The venue, entertainment, wine and food have all been generously donated for the event. And of the 200 neckties that she’s acquired over ten years, she painfully decided that, “I think it’s time to spread the wealth.”
As Paul hangs the delicately ironed collection of ties over a makeshift ladder that she’s constructed out of old rolling pins, she explains, “I like to take things that people no longer use and transform them into something useful and beautiful again.”
The pro-conservationist notion of making better use of what we already have is at the root of animal advocacy groups as well.
“Help control the pet population.”
“Spay and neuter your pets.”
“Don’t breed or buy while shelter animals die.”
In cooperation with other Chilliwack animal care groups, CAP approaches the problem of homeless pets from as many angles as possible.
They assist financially-stressed families with veterinary costs, they attempt to re-home animals with volunteer foster care, and they help to humanely control the feral cat population with a trap, neuter, release (T.N.R.) method.
CAP also manages a pet food bank service, builds fences to provide pets with a safe space to roam, and their Guardian Angel program assists with vet costs for senior pets in foster care.
Pinsent knows that the over-population of animals is overwhelming, “but we just have to keep working at it.”
The small organization recognizes the need for growth in order to continually help animals in crisis, but their growth needs to start from within.
Without a facility for volunteers to run, CAP would most benefit from a stream of creative fundraising efforts, like Paul’s. There is also a continual demand for those who can warmly foster pets during the re-homing process.
There are talks of a future CAP “training bootcamp” for volunteers to learn the challenging T.N.R. method and how to manage re-homing efforts. “We’ve spearheaded programs that are unique and different, and we hope to one day pass them on to like-minded people,” says Pinsent.
On a broader level, Pinsent and Arnold stress the importance of creating a shared responsibility. “Too soon, the shelters we build become full when they are used as an answer for all the communities’ unwanted and unfortunate animals,” Arnold says.
“Animal issues can only be tackled successfully by a community of individuals who are willing to take responsibility for dealing with the issues around companion animals, instead of expecting any one group to figure it out for them.”
If you are an animal advocate who is seriously committed to helping vulnerable animals in our community, pick up a CAP brochure from local vets (incl. Sardis Animal Hospital, Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic) to learn more about the organization and to reach out.
Paul hopes that her fundraiser might inspire others to follow suit. As she explains, it’s important to support and celebrate the good people out there doing good work to help the vulnerable among us, whether they are an animal, a child, the elderly or otherwise.
Tie One On takes place October 2 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Royal Hotel.