Bonnets and Bowties fundraiser draws big crowd for Marshmallow Animal Shelter in Detroit Lakes
More than 50 attendees in their 'derby' finest gathered at the Holiday Inn Lakefront in Detroit Lakes on May 7 for the Bonnets and Bowties fundraiser hosted by the Marshmallow Animal Shelter.
DETROIT LAKES — The biggest bonnets, finest dresses and most charming bow ties showed up in force on derby day to benefit Marshmallow Animal Shelter in Detroit Lakes on Saturday, May 7.
The Bonnets and Bowties fundraiser for the animal shelter, which doubled as a Kentucky Derby viewing party, brought more than 50 attendees and had a goal of raising $10,000 during the event for the animal-focused non-profit, said Cassi Ohman, shelter manager for Marshmallow Animal Shelter.
"This fundraiser is really, really important to make sure that we can keep doing what we're doing for the community," said Ohman. "We took in 14 animals just this week, four dogs and 10 cats."
The shelter also spayed, or neutered, 26 cats this week, she said, which translates to a $3,000 bill for the animal shelter; reinforcing the shelter's need for continuous donations and fundraising.
"We also had 11 dogs get fixed back in April, so that's another big vet bill for us," said Ohman. "So, (the Bonnets and Bowties fundraiser) really helps all of that happen."
The event also included a photo contest for various prizes where owners could dress up their pets in bonnets or bow ties and submit their photos online. Murphy and owner Kari Shamp won first place and will receive a professional pet photography session from Colorful Moments by Jenna Lynn. Second place was won by Shandy and her owner Susan Andersen, and they will receive a pet-themed gift basket. Peyto and owner Ashley Schmitz won third place and will receive an 8-inch canvas portrait.
"Our picture contest raised about $1,200 for the shelter, so that's awesome and that's after expenses and everything," said Ohman. "We've only done this fundraiser three other times and I think it raised between $5,000 to $6,000, our goal this year is to get $10,000, so hopefully we reach that."
Two of the biggest prizes raffled off were an outdoor fire ring and a WE Fest 2022 ticket and camping package worth an estimated $700.
In a typical year the shelter takes in around 500 animals and each of them will get adopted, unless they have a "life threatening illness that just degrades their quality of life," which is rare, she said.
One of the attendees, Laura Derke, said her life changed when she made an unexpected adoption from the shelter two years ago.
"Honestly, I had a dream about a dog and the next morning, I got up, and I never look on the sites, but I did, and there she was, my little Zoe," said Derke. "Her eyes just spoke to me, and we already had one dog ... but we met her, and we decided to have Zoe overnight and my husband said the next morning, 'She's not going back, she's ours now.'"
Derke said it took about a year for Zoe to get comfortable to her new surroundings, but keeping her has been a "blessing."
"I don't know what powers-that-be made this happen, but it was right before COVID and I was home off of work, and those girls are our life," she said. "Somebody just sent her."