Ramapo seniors Elena Rubinetti and Samantha Eichmann hosted Woofstock, a dog benefit festival on Sunday, as part of their senior communications project to bring public awareness to the connection between pets and domestic violence, a connection that is often overlooked. The festival helped raise $3,300 for Shelter Our Pets, the event's all-volunteer, non-profit corporation partner.
According to Animal Humane research, 71 percent of women that enter shelters to escape abusive relationships report that their abuser has hurt or threatened to hurt the household pet. Unfortunately, between 25 and 40 percent of women feel unable to leave abusive situations in fear that their animal will suffer abuse. Because most women shelters are unable to provide accommodations for pets, women are forced to leave their pets behind. Shelter Our Pets gives people the opportunity to find foster families for pets of domestic violence.
Set up at the Bandshell, Woofstock was an event filled with food, music, vendors, contests, tie dying and a field full of pups ready to join in on all the fun. Vendors included dog trainers, local animal shelters like Diamond in the Ruff and Shelter Our Pets.
At Woofstock, there were pet caricatures and contests, as well as a face cut out for families to enjoy photo opportunities with their cute canines. The contests included best costume and best trick competitions, where the dogs performed their most impressive tricks, such as a flying disk tug-of-war and rolling on command while student volunteers helped judge. The winners received a prize of a gift card to Petco.
“The puppy pen was a great addition to help support a great cause,” said senior Julia Kruse, who was one of the many students crowded around the puppy playpen at the festival.
Woofstock also gave attendees the opportunity to adopt a furry friend of their own, or sign their pets up for dog training lessons. Woofstock T-shirts were available to purchase and attendees received a free bandana to tie dye for every dog admitted into the festival.
The event turned out to be a huge success that exceeded their expectations tremendously, according to Eichmann.
“Thank you to everyone who came out to Woofstock yesterday afternoon,” said Eichmann. “With your help, we raised over $3,300 for Shelter Our Pets. This wouldn't have been a success without the help of my amazing partner Elena, our friends and family and especially all of our mentors. I am so grateful for all the support we've received over the past few months.”
All profits made at the event, as well as the many fundraisers Rubinetti and Eichmann organized throughout the semester, will be donated to Shelter Our Pets to help their mission of creating a safe haven for animals.
“Woofstock had an amazing turn out,” said Rubinetti. “The success wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Shelter Our Pets, Kappa Sigma, staff, AOII, AKPS, student volunteers, sponsors, friends and family. The money we raised from Woofstock will fund Shelter Our Pets’ new 24-hour help line!”