A doggone honor for CARA

Shelter chosen for state’s only MuttNation grant
Jan. 23, 2014 @ 10:11 PM

Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption, a Sanford shelter, is getting musical.

Fresh off the heels (or paws?) of a grant from country star Miranda Lambert’s charity, the MuttNation Foundation, CARA has also announced a Valentine’s Day co-fundraiser with Temple Theatre that will feature songs, games, prize drawings and more.

Lambert’s group gave $3,000 to 50 animal shelters, one in each state. The foundation deemed CARA the most worthy in North Carolina, for which CARA treasurer Laurie Trusdell was very thankful.

“It’s not just one thing — it’s the package we offer that sets us aside,” she said. “We’ve got strong volunteers, an excellent staff and a very hard-working board.”

She is right that it’s not a single factor. MuttNation officials said they went through a detailed checklist for every group, making sure the grant recipients were worthy. Shelters had to have a low kill rate and a high adoption rate (CARA doesn’t euthanize any animals), as well as a large pool of active volunteers, low administrative costs, an up-to-date website and other forms of communication, a strong track record of supporting spay and neuter campaigns, and more.

Kim Godon, president of CARA’s board of directors, said she’s excited for the extra $3,000 the organization wasn’t expecting and that she hopes it will raise even more from the Valentine’s Day fundraiser, which will be from 7-10 p.m. on Feb. 14 at Temple Theatre and will center around a cross-dressing talent show. It’s being called, appropriately, Drag Out Your Love.

Food and drinks will available to buy starting at 7 p.m., and people can mingle with pets up for adoption, as well as pageant contestants, until 8 p.m. when the show begins. Silly bingo games will be played, with performances from crossdressing locals in between each one, and a winner will be crowned at the end of the night based on how many votes he or she receives online beforehand (votes cost $10 each).

People who want to vote, buy a ticket to the event or even sign up to perform — men and women alike — can do so at www.cara-nc.org. Proceeds go to Temple Theatre and to CARA’s fund for animals with extreme medical needs like broken bones, heartworms and eye issues.

Godon said the group’s Valentine’s Day fundraiser had been a dinner in the past, but it wasn’t very lucrative or exciting. They’re hoping the purposefully much sillier drag and bingo show changes that.

“We wanted to come up with something different and something fun ... ,” she said. “This is going to be different and fun. People are definitely going to laugh.

Performers include Godon, Trusdell, Temple Theatre Artistic Director Peggy Taphorn, local chiropractor Dr. Skip Austin, and several others — including Beck Combs and her son, Draven.

Combs, the manager at CARA’s shelter, said the youngster stepped up after his dad refused to accompany her onstage.

“I was asking my husband, ‘Come on, come on, get in a dress and just do it,’ ” Combs said. “He said no, but my son overheard us and was like, ‘I’ll do it,’ so we signed him up.”

And even if people won’t be strutting their stuff in drag on stage, Godon said, they’re still encouraged to avoid dressing too fancy because this is a light-hearted function — unless, of course, it’s fancy clothes they wouldn’t normally be seen wearing.

“We’re asking people to dress appropriately,” she said. “So if you’re a guy who’s been wanting to put on a dress, this is the night. ... It’s some alternative, fun fundraising for CARA and the Temple.”