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Animal Rescue Rhode Island’s “Bark On the Beach” fundraiser, held at Narragansett Town Beach Saturday, brought 170 people and their pets to the sand to benefit the nonprofit’s Bark & Ride initiative.

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Animal Rescue Rhode Island raised over $25,500 to help animals in need at their 10th annual Bark On The Beach fundraising event at Narragansett Town beach on Saturday Oct. 2.

Proceeds from the event will help to support AARI’s Curtis Corner Road shelter in Peace Dale, buy food and supplies for ARRI’s community pet food pantry and fund their Bark & Ride program which transports pets from Southern shelters to ARRI for a new life in New England.

ARRI Director of Development Jeanine Conrady said that this year’s Bark on the Beach was the organization’s largest yet with 170 people registering for the walk.

“Some of the fun things we have here today come from our sponsors,” Conrady said. “Our number one sponsor is Subaru and they are going to be supporting us all month with a contest called #SNElovespets. For every person who takes a picture of their pet and uses the hashtag, $5 is donated.”  

“There is a lot of training and veterinary expenses incurred to get the animals ready to be adoptable,” said Executive Director of ARRI Liz Skrobisch. “We’ve never said no so we have to raise money all the time. We know how much it costs us every day that we open our doors so we are always fundraising.”

Other sponsors for the event included radio station Cat Country 98.1, which handed out free koozies, beach balls and bandannas, and jewelry company Hope&CO which donates a portion of its proceeds from bracelets sold to ARRI.

“This event is an opportunity to both fundraise and what we call friendraise,” Skrobisch said. “We’re out in the community and get to meet people who are our wonderful supporters. They get to come and walk on the beach with their dogs, and we have costume contests and prizes for most creative team names along with a handful of other prizes that we’ll give away.”

Registrants and their dogs had a chance to get to know each other as they took to the beach for a group photoshoot and a walk up and down the beach with a prize being awarded to the dog that finished first. Prizes for different categories included subscriptions to DogTV, gift certificates to Shaw’s Market, Wakefield Running, Pasquale’s Pizza, assorted merchandise from sponsors and dog toys.

A training and walking demonstration was performed by Behavior and Enrichment Specialist Kate Conley and Trex, an adult male cattle dog who is currently available for adoption. A list of other pets available for adoption, including both dogs and cats, can be found on their website animalrescueri.org.

Those interested can also find opportunities to donate on the website as well as chances to volunteer. Volunteer opportunities are currently limited as ARRI is not currently accepting applicants for new in-building staff, but they still need volunteers to foster animals in need while they wait to be adopted according to their website.

“Why do I do it?” asked Board Member Deborah Elliot. “Because they can’t talk. We have to not be afraid to ask on their behalf. For me I wouldn’t ask for anything, but for them I’m going to ask. This year should be an inspiration to next year’s.”

Donating food and supplies is another way to help ARRI continue its mission of helping pets in need. Their donation wishlist can be found on their website and includes things like dog and cat food or treats, toys, peanut butter, canned pumpkin, paper towels, trash bags and more.

“Well I was planning on adopting one but ended up adopting two,” said volunteer Shanelle Reilly when asked how she got involved with the organization. “Over the summer they had an online silent auction called Go Beyond. When they sent out the email for that I said I’ve got to go on and get something to donate but I ended up getting ten things. I donated that then started volunteering and before I knew it I had jumped right in.”

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