On Saturday, June 13, Hal’s Harley-Davidson in New Berlin hosted their third annual Pet Day, attracting a family crowd of over 500, with pets, kids and adults treated to summer fun--at the Kissing Booth, the “Hog and Dog” wash and the Pet Costume Contest--as well as information on animal rescue operations, pet adoptions and pet care from over 20 local vendors and organizations including HAWS and the Elmbrook Humane Society. Hal’s is donating all proceeds from this event to local pet organizations.
There are more dogs and cats being born than there are people to adopt them. More than 12 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year and even more are abandoned. Rescue organizations throughout Wisconsin, representing cats and dogs as well as birds and reptiles, play a critical role and contribute to a safe and happy community. Hal’s Harley-Davidson is proud to be the sole sponsor of their annual Pet Day, the largest local event to provide awareness and promotion of these not-for-profit animal care organizations that need to make the public aware of their mission and are in desperate need of support and funding.
“Every year, this is one of my favorite events,” notes Kirk Topel, owner of Hal’s Harley-Davidson. “I’m an animal advocate and my two dogs were both adopted from local humane societies--a Lab mix named Murray (age 16) and a “Rotterman” named Effie (age 2). They are our store mascots. We believe in the value of pets and good friends. Pets, to us, are part of the family and provide unconditional love, joy and comfort. Hal’s Pet Day is our attempt to support Wisconsin animal rescue and adoption agencies—by giving them a fun environment that is family friendly to educate the public about their programs and how they serve our communities.“
Despite a grey prediction, the weather was sunny and bright—perfect for the Hog and Dog wash. For a donation, volunteers “soaped up, rubbed down, rinsed and dried” both pets and motorcycles. Owners were delighted with their fresh and clean “family members.”
At 12:30 PM, costumed pets walked across the stage with creations that would rival Project Runway designs. First place was awarded to rescued Chihauhua and now French maid Sewphie, owned by Kelly Jurek of Milwaukee. Second place went to Jeannie Livermore with her biker dog Chloe and Schnauzer bride Maya and Westie groom Fritze—both belonging to Maureen Bayliss--took third.
But pet ownership brings responsibilities. When responsibilities are not met, animal agencies provide much needed services.
The Wisconsin German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue (www.wgspr.com) is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Milwaukee and dedicated to saving purebred German Shorthaired Pointers (GSP) in Wisconsin.
“Our first priority is to GSP’s in kill shelters or in danger of euthanization in Wisconsin….” notes Lisa Rossman, President of WGSPR. “All of our dogs are fostered in homes where we can test them with everyday activities--seeing how they interact with children, other dogs and cats. The animals that we offer for adoption are fully vetted, altered, up-to-date on shots, heartworm free and micro-chipped for identification. No promises about hunting skills…although WGSPR has a lifetime return policy!”
Also present at Hal’s Pet Day were Mid-America Rottweiler Rescue, Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue, Basset Buddies Rescue, Chihuahua Rescue USA,and Milwaukee Pug Fest, organizations that provide similar services for their breeds.
Canines aren’t the only ones that need rescuing. The Happy Endings No Kill Animal Shelter in Milwaukee, run solely by volunteers, finds permanent homes for unwanted stray, abused or feral cats. They facilitate 450 animal adoptions each year; cats who are not adopted are either fostered by volunteers or become residents.
Another agency present at Hal’s Pet Day was CARE—the Center for Avian Rehabilitation and Education located in Hubertus, WI, a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of exotic birds. Founded by Lori Drew, CVT, CAS, CARE offers a sanctuary for unadoptable birds, veterinary treatment, adoption and behavioral counseling along with boarding and grooming.
Even reptiles need our assistance—and the Small Scale Reptile Rescue group of Milwaukee assists shelters and owner surrenders.
“Humane Societies are not equipped to handle the special needs of reptiles. We ensure that all of our animals visit a veterinarian and spend at least one month in foster care prior to adoption. We work with adopters so that they are prepared for this new pet and comply with local laws,” notes Cindy Steinle, founder of Small Scale Reptile Rescue. “We always have green iguanas and ball pythons available for adoption—sometimes boas as well as frogs and turtles!”
Representatives from HAWS, the Elmbrook Humane Society and Brew City Small Dog Rescue were also present with adoptable animals.
“We really appreciate local businesses like Hal’s Harley-Davidson that partner up with non-profit organizations like ours to bring attention to our cause,” commented Kristina Skof, Community Outreach Director at the Elmbrook Humane Society. “Because we are a non-profit organization, our budget focuses on spending money to care for animals; there is relatively little devoted to marketing and public relations. By sponsoring Pet Day, Hal’s Harley-Davidson shows that they are a company that cares about community life and community issues.”
Special guest and Mistress of Ceremonies, Marilynn Mee from WKLH 96.5 Class Rock was on hand to offer live coverage of all of the pet antics and offerings. With delicious food from Senor Lunas of Brookfield and beverages along with special sales discounts on Harley-Davidson Pet Products, raffles and more, the day was a hit—for two and four-legged critters.
Hal’s Harley-Davidson in New Berlin was founded in 1978 by motorcycle enthusiast Hal Topel, with a business philosophy of “service first” and the goal of treating customers as family. Hal’s son, Kirk Topel, who shares his father’s love of motorcycles, is a second generation owner, continuing the dealership’s focus on developing lasting customer relationships through exceptional service; their full calendar of events and other information can be found on the web at www.HalsHD.com.
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