San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Animal protection

’Tis the season to support animal welfare

At a time of year that lends itself to giving something back to those less fortunate, many people find their thoughts turning to four-legged friends – and a wide array of fundraising activities in the Central Valley provide plenty of ways to lend a hand.

One such recent event was the Holiday Howl in Grecia, Alajuela. What on earth is a Holiday Howl? Picture fun, food, and fundraising for animal welfare, plus karaoke and a culinary auction, all organized by a group in Grecia called Pura Vida Para Mascotas, or Good Life for Pets. About fifty friends crowded into the Acuario Bar in Grecia on Dec. 13 to judge who among them was the best singer and to bid on the baked goods.

When the music began with Paul Hasting on keyboard and Larry Keller on guitar, eight hopefuls lined up to take the microphone to belt out or croon as the lyrics were displayed on the wall. Some songs were traditional Christmas tunes but other genres were also sung. Some singers were good and some less so. It was all for a good cause and, for a crowd made up mostly of Gringos without family around, a fun holiday event.

Holiday Howl is one of several holiday fundraisers this year organized by Susan Adams, a former kennel owner from Illinois, who founded Pura Vida para Mascotas two years ago. Money raised goes to provide low-cost spay and neuter and pet adoption fairs each month in Grecia. Thanks to these efforts, 216 animals were spayed or neutered during 2015, and approximately 100 were placed in new “forever homes.” To find out more about these efforts, visit Pura Vida para Mascotas on Facebook or call Susan Adams at 8514-6458.

In Atenas, another western town in the province of Alajuela, a group called Animales de Atenas set out to provide Christmas cheer and provide for cats and dogs by joining the Festival de la Luz parade and Christmas bazaar in the central park on Dec. 12-13.  Several of their dogs up for adoption joined in the parade accompanied by volunteers. A booth in the Central Park’s holiday fair offered donated used and new Christmas items to help raise funds for Animales de Atenas, made up of Tico, Gringo and European volunteers who hold spay-neuter campaigns around the Atenas area. This year more than 400 animals were spayed and neutered by the group, which also holds adoption fairs, and cares for animals that have been injured, and organizes a weekly “garage sale” on Fridays in the lot next to Pali in Atenas. Interested volunteers can contact Silvia, 8868-1386, or Dora (Spanish) at 8855-9822.

Another fun way to help animals in Atenas is a Christmas Dance with live music and cheer to be held on Saturday, Dec. 26 at the home of Pat Wegner in Barrio Fatima, next to the sport plaza, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. A donation of ¢5000 will provide a fun afternoon and will help with the group’s spay-neuter programs; the cost is ¢5000 and guests are asked to bring their own bottle plus appetizers to share. Reservations with Pat Wegner, 8375-2226.

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