Event helps shelter medicine club raise $12,730 for HAARTS

Students at HAARTS benefit

UF veterinary students Meredith Montgomery, left, and an undergraduate student volunteer stand with a rack full of sports jerseys that were among the items auctioned off at an event held May 2 at Cymplify to benefit UF’s HAARTS program. The event was put on by the college’s Shelter Medicine Club.

Thanks to a philanthropic, animal-loving local couple, local businesses and others who donated money or goods for a silent auction – as well as the group’s own donations – the University of Florida’s Shelter Medicine Club raised approximately $12,730 at an event held May 2 to support a program that covers medical procedures for needy shelter animals.

“The club was approached by Scott Pifer and his wife, Paulette Hahn, to do a fundraising event to showcase some Florida Gator and other sports memorabilia he has, so that he could donate the proceeds to HAARTS,” said Patty Dingman, a third-year veterinary student who served as president of the club this past year.

“Scott owns and operates A Pet’s Preference Pet Sitting Service in Gainesville, a business he has had for 13 years. So we got together and held an auction event at Cymplify on May 2. Cymplify was gracious enough to host our event and donate proceeds from the food trucks,” she said.

HAARTS stands for Helping Alachua’s Animals Requiring Treatment and Surgery and is managed through the Veterinary Community Outreach Program. The HAARTS fund covers the costs of certain procedures that are deemed medically necessary and without which shelter animals would be euthanized. Approximately 1,500-2,000 animals have received treatment through the HAARTS program since it was formed in 2009.

Students performing their VCOP rotation perform most of the HAARTS procedures, which typically include eye enucleations, cherry eye repairs, cystotomies and amputations. Other more complicated cases, such as fracture repair, are served through the UF Small Animal Hospital, which increases the caseload for our surgical residents, according to Dr. Natalie Isaza, VCOP’s service chief.

Thirty-three veterinary students donated their time to the event by working the silent auction, as well as raffles and game booths. Many local businesses and private sponsors made donations or gave gifts to hand out as prizes. Some of companies that contributed to the event included Sisset’s, Dechra,Target Copy,Tipple’s Brews,Purina, Swamphead Brewery, DM creative studios, Canine Club, Christian Veterinary Fellowship, Dorn’s Liquor & Wine, Olive Garden, Earthwise Pets and Suburban Animal Hospital.

“The event was a success despite the weather,” Dingman said. “We raised $7,729.73 from the event plus private donations and an additional $5,000 from the Shelter Medicine Club for a grand total of $12,729.73.”

Pifer formed Katie’s Locker, named after a friend’s Labrador retriever who died last year, so that people can continue to sponsor HAARTS. Katie’s Locker also made an appearance at the recent Bob Dooley Invitational Golf Tournament, where several sports memorabilia items were auctioned off. Pat Dooley, a sports writer for the Gainesville Sun, created the tournament in his father’s name 20 years ago and it has become a community tradition.

Pifer hopes to keep Katie’s Locker active by enhancing its visibility and by offering items through various local charity events, with the proceeds continuing to go to HAARTS.

“We have raised about $1,700 so far in Katie’s Locker,” Pifer said. “We have only scraped the surface of what can be done, but so far, so good.”

For more information about Katie’s Locker, visit HAARTS.org.

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July 2014

Shelter medicine club raises $12,730 for HAARTS at event

UF veterinary students raise thousands to benefit a program that helps shelter animals receive needed treatment and surgery.

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