GODFREY/WOOD RIVER - Hope Animal Rescues will host their second annual pasta dinner fundraiser to prevent dogs from being euthanized.

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From 4–7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, community members can enjoy pasta from Bella Milano at the Wood River Moose Lodge. All proceeds go back to Hope Animal Rescues, which rescues dogs from animal control facilities on the day they are to be euthanized.

“That’s how we get all our dogs. Our rescue stays full, obviously,” said co-founder Jackie Spiker. “If we have an empty room, we let somebody die. So as soon as a dog is adopted, we go pull another dog out of animal control.”

The rescue has operated in Godfrey since 2005. Spiker explained that it costs approximately $250,000 a year to run the shelter, and every donation goes to the dogs’ care.

If a dog is healthy, it costs $300 for the preventative veterinary care that every dog receives. But throughout the years, the rescue has spent up to $10,000 on a single dog to take care of medical issues.

“But they’re great dogs,” Spiker explained. “They’re healthy now and they have a chance at having a full life. So when we do fundraising, those funds are very, very important. You never know when the next emergency case is going to come to your door.”

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Spiker added that they are always looking for volunteers who can help at the rescue on the weekends. For more information about Hope Animal Rescues, visit their official website at HopeRescues.org.

While it can be a difficult job at times, Spiker said that working with the rescue is fulfilling, especially when she knows she has helped a dog to live. She noted that a lot of people adopted animals during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and now that they are busy again, people no longer want their pets or worry that the dogs aren’t getting the attention they need to be happy. As a result, people will bring their dogs to shelters or animal control facilities to put them up for adoption.

But, Spiker said, there are space constraints at the shelters. A lot of dogs are euthanized because the shelters don’t have enough space to accommodate them. Spiker encourages people to look for other solutions, including hiring a dog walker or boarding your dog at a doggy daycare, before giving them up.

“It’s one of the worst years rescues and shelters have had,” she said. “There’s tons of options. And if people are in those situations, all they’ve got to do is reach out to a shelter or rescue and say, ‘What can I do? I want to keep my dog.’ There are lots of things that can be done to help you keep your dog.”

Hope Animal Rescues has 109 dogs at all times. The spaghetti fundraiser will provide a sizable amount of the donations that they will rely on for the next year. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $10 for anyone under age 18. You can reserve your meal at HopeRescues.org. There will also be music by Lexy Dona. Spiker hopes to see a lot of people come out to enjoy the fundraiser and help the organization care for more animals.

“It’s mostly rewarding. There’s not a lot of bad,” she added. “There’s a lot of good people out in the world that want to give dogs a home and we have found some of the best people imaginable that take care of the dogs, give them a home, and love them for all their lives, which really is what we hope for all of them.”

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