Party in the Redland benefits Friends Forever Pet Rescue

Party in the Redland benefits Friends Forever Pet Rescue

Pictured (l-r) are Paul Cowan, Mercury Morris and Luis Barreto.

The Redland resonated with the sound of salsa and the smell of paella was in the air one night in late February as a group of 200 of Kathy and Paul Cowan’s closest friends gathered in their home and danced the night away at the third annual benefit party for Friends Forever Pet Rescue.

The Cowans are longtime benefactors of Friends Forever and are multi-adopters of the dogs that find their way to the pet shelter. Other strong supporters who attended the benefit were the popular Pinecrest Realtor Joann Roberts and entrepreneur Rita Schwartz, owner of Upscale Furniture Consignment Gallery.

Friends Forever Rescue is the largest non-profit, no-kill, private shelter in Miami and, with more than 500 pet adoptions each year, operators need help to keep the animals fed and the shelter operating. No dog is ever turned away at Friends Forever Pet Rescue and all animals receive the medical care, grooming and shots needed to make them adoptable to a new home.

Operating the shelter requires money and a lot of it. So, each year Friends Forever founder Dee Chess, with the help of Schwartz, produces several fundraising events to help defray operating expenses. There are no employees at Friends Forever, only volunteers, but there is still the cost of keeping the shelter open to deal with, and the expense of maintaining the 500-plus animals that pass through the shelter every year. It is especially important for the few animals that arrive at the shelter and never leave; they have a permanent home.

This year’s benefit party began with delectable mojitos and continued with the great sounds of noted Latin artists, courtesy of the deejay from Party Players. Delicious, mouth-watering desserts were provided by You Oughta Taste My Mama’s Cakes and there was a live auction of artwork and fine jewelry, as well as silent auctions and raffles for an IPad4, a Samsung HD TV and a beautiful Tuuci umbrella.

The highlight of the evening was a special appearance by former Miami Dolphins running back Mercury Morris, a member of the legendary undefeated 1972 Dolphins team. Morris inspired the audience with his stories of the fabled season and then auctioned a vintage jersey bearing his name. All proceeds were donated to the Friends Forever charity.

This year’s benefit raised more than $20,000, money that will be used to help build a new shelter on five acres in the Redland recently donated by a generous supporter. An architect already has donated plans for the new shelter and fundraising is underway to build it.

The 2013 Friends Forever benefit at the Cowan home was a beautiful evening for everyone and it portends an even better future for all the animals housed at the Friends Forever Pet Rescue facility.

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