Dog Day Afternoon will help Aspen Animal Shelter perform good deeds |

Dog Day Afternoon will help Aspen Animal Shelter perform good deeds

An event like Dog Day Afternoon naturally includes a meet and greet.
Karen Sanders/courtesy photo

dog day afternoon

What: Community party

Where: Aspen Animal Shelter

When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday

Why: Fundraiser for Aspen Animal Shelter

What: Community party will feature free food, drinks and music. There will be a dunk tank, a bounce house and art station for kids. A dog wash station has proved popular in the past, at least with dog owners.

Parking: Available at the city’s snow dump lot, but it has filled up in the past. Canine-friendly shuttles will be running consistently from Aspen’s Silver Queen Gondola Plaza and the Highway 82-Brush Creek Road Intercept Lot to the shelter.

More info:

Aspen is going to the dogs Sunday.

The third annual Dog Day Afternoon ­— a community party that raises funds to help the Aspen Animal Shelter do the good deeds that it does ­— will be held at the shelter starting at 11 a.m. The affair is B.Y.O.D.: bring your own dog, as long as they are friendly and on leash.

Dogs that are up for adoption will also play a starring role in the event.

Bland Nesbit, a member of the shelter’s board of directors and an organizer of Dog Day Afternoon, said the community has embraced the fundraiser over the past couple of years.

“That is a riot. You’ve never seen so many dogs,” she said.

The event is free but it makes money through sponsorships and donations. The revenue goes to Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter, a nonprofit organization that helps the for-profit shelter with a couple of key programs — providing veterinary care for the stray dogs that the shelter rescues and adopts out, and spaying and neutering cats and dogs.

Nesbit said the Aspen Animal Shelter brings in pets from throughout the region that would otherwise be euthanized. Aspen is a no-kill shelter.

“We’ve rescued over 4,000 since 2007, mostly dogs,” Nesbit said. “We always serve the animals of Pitkin County first.”

But thanks to a spaying and neutering program started locally in the early 1990s, the shelter isn’t overwhelmed with homegrown dogs. Twenty-three vets help with the program and more than 16,000 pets have been “fixed,” Nesbit said.

The local effort to reduce unwanted puppies has allowed the shelter to reach past the county borders to rescue other dogs and find them homes. Efforts have been as varied as bringing in dogs from Native American reservations in the southwest to providing shelter for dogs lost after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

About 400 dogs and cats are placed in new homes annually by the Aspen Animal Shelter.

The shelter runs a commercial boarding operation to subsidize its rescue operation. The motto is, “Dogs with homes support dogs without homes.”

The dogs currently waiting for adoption, including puppies, will be on display at Dog Day Afternoon. The adult dogs will mingle with the crowd.

The second pivotal part of raising funds for the operation is via Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter. Nesbit said the organizers wanted to make Dog Day Afternoon a free event to broadly engage the community and not leave anyone feeling shut out. It’s been a hit — with sponsors and attendees.

“People come and have fun and give us donations,” she said.

For Nesbit, Dog Day Afternoon is a highlight of the summer. She was famous for throwing elaborate birthday parties for dogs when she worked at The Aspen Times in the 1980s. Dog Day Afternoon is on a grander scale.

“It’s a little bigger — but no birthday cake,” she said.

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