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Independent Thoughts: Baypath Humane Society set to host Fur Ball Gala

by | Mar 20, 2019 | Featured, News

Baypath Humane Society executive director Elizabeth Jefferis, with her dog Pigeon, is hoping for another strong turnout at the organization’s annual Fur Ball Gala on March 30.

Seven years ago, Baypath Humane Society executive director Elizabeth Jefferis was looking for a way to celebrate both the end of winter and her organization’s many accomplishments.

Thus, the Fur Ball Gala was born.

At first, Jefferis said she wasn’t sure how many people would show up

“It was one of those things like, it’s late March in New England, let’s just all get out of the house and celebrate animals and fill the coffers so we can do that much more for the never-ending animals in need,” she said. “Our first one was at the Hopkinton Country Club. We just grew so quickly. So now we do it at the Sheraton in Framingham. Last year we had about 375 people. We’re hoping to get to 400 this year.”

Last year’s event raised about $60,000. It’s the organization’s primary fundraiser. There’s also a golf tournament in June and a road race/walk in October.

Proceeds from this year’s gala, to be held March 30 at the Sheraton Framingham, will go toward Baypath’s general fund.

“The golf tournament’s going to be for extraordinary medical [treatment],” Jefferis explained. “But every year it’s different. The Fur Ball this year will be for the general fund, which is the day-to-day care — the vaccines, the food, the electricity, running the organization. … So we look at it every year and see where the need is.”

Added Jefferis: “These events are great mission moments. They help bring together a lot of animal lovers and just get us all charged up about what we do. Obviously it affords us the ability to help that many more animals. It’s just a great time to celebrate our love for animals and ensure that we can do that much more and be in a position to respond to any needs in this community, beyond adoption. We’re able to help with a lot of medical cases and behavioral cases as well.”

Returning as master of ceremonies is WCVB Channel 4 news anchor Doug Meehan. The party has a 007 Casino Royale spy theme, with guests encouraged to wear “their best secret agent suit or gown while bidding on silent and live auction items — with Meehan leading the charge as Baypath’s own James Bond.”

“We are thrilled that Doug agreed to come back as this year’s master of ceremonies,” Fur Ball co-chair Kelly Lockwood Primus stated. “His love for animals and commitment to giving back to our community are just a couple of reasons we are so excited to have him back. He also happens to be one of the best auctioneers we’ve ever had, and that’s great news for our furry friends and the shelter’s mission.”

Baypath has 18 kennel runs and can house about 25-30 cats as well, Jefferis said, noting that in the winter the dogs usually are placed in foster homes.

“We are the animal control holding facility for the Town of Hopkinton,” she said. “We’ve also recently started working with Westboro and Grafton to also — on an as-needed basis — to house animals for them. … Any calls we’re getting to get an animal out from the cold, we’re taking.”

The future of animal shelters is changing, as successful spay/neuter programs have helped cut way down on the number of strays. However, there are plenty of other ways for Baypath to help.

“We look at Baypath like, how do we remain viable as things change, how do we continue to respond to the needs of the community,” Jefferis said. “What we’re seeing now is more behaviorally challenged, more anxiety, reactivity on leash. We’re also seeing a lot of senior animals getting chances that they might not have gotten a few years back when there just wasn’t enough homes. A lot more medical issues. So we’re trying to evolve to deal with that, and to that end we’re working with a lot of local animal controls, because that will always be a need.”

Come March 30, the organization’s staff, volunteers and supporters will be able to take some time to chat about those goals and celebrate the prior year’s achievements.

“We’re obviously getting together a bunch of animal lovers in the room to celebrate the bond we have with our animals,” Jefferis said. “It’s a great night where we share — the board, the volunteers and the staff — with our supporters lots of great stories about animals in ways that events like these make an impact.”

HHS putts for dough

Putting for Patients, a mini-golf event at the Hopkinton High School athletic center on March 8, raised $2,200 for the Jimmy Fund to fight childhood cancer. The event, hosted by the HHS student council, included an 18-hole mini-golf course placed on the gym floor, along with face-painting and a bake sale.

While Alexandra Lee putts, (from left) Allie Burdulis, Maggie Gaughan, Katelyn Gaughan and Maggie Card wait their turn at the March 8 Putting for Patients event at Hopkinton High School.
PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Hopkinton Family Day preparations begin

The annual Hopkinton Family Day will be held on Sept. 14. Family Day is a community day full of live entertainment, games, activities and food trucks, capped by a fireworks display. Town organizations, nonprofits, clubs and businesses provide the activities, which are free (except for the food trucks). Organizations interested in participating should visit FriendsofHopkinton.org for more information and to register.

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