WINCHESTER – Pets and the people who love them mingled on the Featherbed Lane campus of the Winchester-Frederick-Clarke SPCA on Thursday night for the inaugural Dog Days of Summer Jam.
As local musician Koen Melnikoff performed “Hey There Delilah” and SPCA staff and volunteers walked several adoptable dogs, families played games on the lawn, viewed paintings by local artists, ate their hungry in a food truck, tucked into a selection of homemade desserts and toured the shelter that houses stray dogs, cats and other pets until they find their forever home.
“We even have hoops and bubbles,” said local SPCA executive director Lavenda Denney.
Five-year-old Emelina Butcher of Clarke County skipped the outdoor activities and headed straight for the shelter’s cat playroom instead. The little girl with platinum blonde hair quickly found the perfect feline to adopt, a 2-year-old kitty that she and her family decided to name Kash.
“He’s a special kitty,” Emelina said.
Thursday was a good day for an adoption. During the three-hour Dog Days of Summer Jam, adoption fees were cut in half and the SPCA’s Rockaplenty Adoption and Education Center stayed open late.
There will be three more half-price adoption opportunities this month as the Dog Days of Summer Jam will take place every Thursday in July from 4:30-7:30 p.m. thanks to City Bank and several other corporate sponsors.
Jennifer Gaynor, chair of the local SPCA board, said the idea for the Dog Days of Summer Jam came from another board member who suggested hosting an outdoor summer event on campus. of the non-profit organization at 115 Featherbed Lane in Winchester.
“We’ve really never done anything like this,” Gaynor said. “We really wanted to do a community event to bring people here and see what we were doing.”
Something new to the local SPCA is the Jim and Mary Jane Bowman Veterinary Clinic, which is overseen by Director of Medical Services Ryanne Brown and located in the same building that houses the Winchester SPCA Thrift Shop at 1944 Abrams Creek.
“Right now, we’re just doing our own pets,” Brown said, noting that the clinic that opened about six months ago has already neutered about five dogs and 40 cats.
The SPCA requires that all of its dogs and cats be groomed before they can be adopted. So far, the shelter has outsourced medical procedures to other clinics, but the Jim and Mary Jane Bowman Clinic will save them the trouble.
Eventually, Brown said, the new clinic may be able to offer services to all local pet owners.
“That’s hopefully in a future plan,” she said.
But that’s a concern for another day. For now, the SPCA is focusing more on fun during its Dog Days of Summer Jams.
Myron Kremer, whose Myron Kremer’s Masonry is a corporate sponsor of the free community event, was among about 100 people who came out to enjoy Thursday night’s shindig.
“We have four adopted dogs,” he said, watching a family play an oversized version of the Connect 4 board game. “A rescue dog is better than any dog you can find anywhere. where else. They’re loyal and adorable – it’s just amazing.”
To learn more about the Winchester-Frederick-Clarke SPCA and its free Dog Days of Summer Jams, visit winchesterspca.org