Whether you’re team golden or team Labrador, Retriever Fever, hosted by Paws With a Cause, is an event aiming to break the record for the largest retriever gathering in Michigan. The assistance dog organization is inviting people to bring their retrievers to the Grand Ravines dog park on Saturday, Sept. 11 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. to enjoy the company of fellow dog lovers and a whole lot of furry companions.
Carrie Simmons, the director of advancement at Paws With a Cause, is hoping to welcome over 150 retrievers to the 21-acre off-leash dog park to beat the previous gathering. On top of the endless games of tug of war and fetch, there will also be food trucks, veterinarian tables, assistance dog demonstrations, a 50/50 raffle and a huge group photo taken with a drone at 12 p.m. While the main purpose of the event is to get retriever owners together for a Saturday afternoon, Simmons also wants to raise awareness for their organization.
For 42 years, Paws With a Cause has been based in Grand Rapids, training assistance dogs for people with disabilities. After over 3,000 dogs trained and shipped off to 30 states in the country, Paws With a Cause has a long-standing reputation for supplying these amazing dogs to people who need them the most.
“It’s a lot of work and time and energy, and a lot of dog food,” Simmons said.
The average cost that it takes to raise an assistance dog is $35,000, and there aren’t any insurance plans or government programs that offer these dogs to people for free, which is where Paws With a Cause comes in to give these dogs to people free of charge.
“My favorite part of my job is getting to know our clients and hearing their stories of how the dogs have just magically changed their lives, and I’m also a dog lover, so it was a perfect combination,” Simmons said.
Retriever Fever will allow the breeds a little friendly competition to see who can raise the most money for their fundraisers, and there will also be team T-shirts for sale at the merchandise table so attendees can represent for their favorite breed. To celebrate the intelligence and hardworking characteristics of these friendly pups, the assistance dog demonstrations will give a few dogs and their trainers the spotlight to show off their hard work, so people have a better understanding of what the organization is all about.
“We’re not really looking at it as an opportunity to raise funds — we will have opportunities there, but our main goal is just to get the word out about Paws,” Simmons said.
So, no matter which team you’re on, Retriever Fever welcomes both breeds and everyone who loves them for an unbeatable Saturday afternoon.