Shelter open to party animals |

Shelter open to party animals

Abigail Eagye
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

It’s the perfect marriage.

Dogs and cats at the animal shelter need all the attention they can get, and kids celebrating birthdays need a venue for all that group energy.

So why not have the party at the animal shelter?

Seth Sachson, who is contracted to run the shelter, has teamed up with Anne Gurchick of Wags to Riches to host parties for humans and animals alike.

Sachson and Wags to Riches, a pet boutique and salon located at the shelter, decorate the facility’s ample party space with animal themes for the one- to two-hour parties. For $12 per child, with a $100 minimum, kids can celebrate the big day mingling with the animals. Sachson gives the kids a tour of the shelter, walking the dogs and filling the children’s minds with fun facts about the animals up for adoption, then quizzing them about which dog is which.

For an extra $12-15 per child, Wags to Riches will provide custom dog- or cat-themed cakes or cupcakes, ice cream and drinks. For another $12.50 per child, kids can go home with shelter cartoon T-shirts. Or for $15 per child, kids can make animal-related ceramic items. An additional $40 buys a ceramics instructor for one hour.

Those are just the suggested options, however. Sachson said he’ll do his best to customize any party, within reason. He usually waits until the group arrives to gauge their enthusiasm for different activities. He might help mellower groups play with the animals up for adoption, while he’ll take wilder groups outside to howl with the huskies, he said.

Kids can also make identification tags for their pets ” or for keychains and necklaces if they don’t have pets. And the shelter’s Web cams ” one in every yard ” have proven popular with the kids. The Web cams are online, so after seeing how the Web cam works, kids can watch their favorite animals from home at

“It promotes responsible pet ownership,” Sachson said.

Half the party proceeds go to shelter operations, such as food and vet bills for homeless animals, while the other half go to Wags to Riches. But if a child has a special interest at the shelter, Sachson said he’s happy to accommodate any way he can. He might use the party’s fees or any other donations to spay or neuter a particular animal the child liked, for instance.

“With kids, I like them to see directly where money’s going,” he said.

The parties aren’t limited to birthday parties ” or to kids. The shelter recently hosted a party for adults (Sachson recommends Flying Dog beer for the closed event), and it’s the perfect place to have a party for your pet.

For more information, go online to

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