Dogs to gather for their day at Aspen shelter |

Dogs to gather for their day at Aspen shelter

Kate Wilkins
The Aspen Times
An event like Dog Day Afternoon naturally includes a meet and greet.
Karen Sanders/courtesy photo

Hundreds of humans and canines will gather Sunday for the fifth annual Dog Day Afternoon, an event benefiting the Aspen Animal Shelter, and the family-friendly fundraiser is BYOD.: bring your own dog, as long as it is friendly and remains on a leash.

Seth Sachson, executive director of the Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter, said this week “community” is the spirit and inspiration behind the annual event.

Instead of hosting a private fundraiser, he really prefers an event that everyone, including animals, can enjoy. The “contagious happiness” that radiates throughout the crowd is infectous, and he is grateful for everyone on the shelter’s board who works tirelessly to make the event possible.

“As it often happens, if you do what you love and do it well, money will follow,” he said.

Bland Nesbit, founding secretary of the Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter, said Thursday that after the organization transitioned from hosting expensive fundraisers that few locals could attend due to cost, they were able to include a much larger audience.

She said that upon arrival at Dog Day Afternoon, people are “always shocked” when they realize everything is free. When they came up with the idea to host the “free community carnival,” it enabled more locals to have the ability to “show up to support a great cause,” she said.

With the revenue generated at the event in past years, the Aspen Animal Shelter has been able to help hundreds of animals annually, while maintaining its title as a no-kill shelter. Every year, the shelter facilitates more than 1,000 pro-bono spay and neuter surgeries, in addition to taking in roughly 300 animals per year. The organization also works in conjunction with a shelter in Texas, multiple puppy mills and a nearby reservation to help rehome animals.

This year, the event will feature a dunk tank, bounce house, dog washing station, arts and crafts and adoptable pets available. The entertainment will feature music performances from favorite local band Midnight Lighting, featuring Scott Dolginow, owner of Valley Emergency Pet Care, and Mark Patterson, owner of Paradise Bakery.

The event is free to attend and will include food and drink offerings from local eateries including Cache Cache, BOSQ, Mi Chola, Home Team BBQ and Paradise Bakery.

The event, which attracted around 1,000 people last year, is made possible by sponsorships from over 40 local companies. For more information, go to the shelter’s website at