Dogs and beer lovers converged at the Eagle View apartment complex Saturday evening to drink and bark while supporting the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association at the fifth annual Kegs 4 K9s fundraiser.
With five breweries serving more than 20 kinds of beer, attendees took in live music from local bands while sometimes wrestling with their leashed dogs who were excited to be around other furry friends.
“It’s a nice day today, and we wanted to do something different,” said Sarah Amos, who brought her two dogs, Lucy and Bailey, along with her 1-year-old son, Tripp. “[Tripp] loves dogs and we want him to be used to being around them, and we do whatever we can with [Lucy and Bailey] to get them out, too.”
Amos said Bailey is a rescue dog, so sometimes he gets nervous at events with so many other animals, but it’s something they hope he will overcome with more exposure.
Before she had her son, Amos was a volunteer at KCHA. She said that while she isn’t there helping care for the animals every week, this was a different way to support the shelter.
Kegs 4 K9s is one of two major fundraisers the shelter hosts each year, the other being Tails and Tuxes, which is a bit more formal, said Sarah Tolley, community engagement coordinator at KCHA.
“Here people can come and just hang out with their dogs,” Tolley said. “When is that ever a bad time?”
The shelter sold 300 pre-sale tickets, which were $35 for general admission and $50 for VIP. Last year, Tolley said, the event had 150 attendees, so this year’s was set to be the biggest one yet.
“We’re trying to blow it out of the water this year, and it looks like we’re on the way,” Tolley said.
All of the breweries volunteered to serve at the event, as did the bands and the coordinators.
“I’ve found that as long as you’re willing to ask, people are going to help the animal shelter,” Tolley said. “That’s the trick, though, you have to ask.”
The fundraising goal was $20,000, all of which would go to helping to care for the 350 animals at KCHA, which is a no-kill animal shelter. The No. 1 expense, Tolley said, is medical care for the animals.
Most that come in need to be treated if they’re sick, as well as vaccinated and given regular medication for fleas and ticks. Some require more care, which is provided by the Association’s in-house veterinarian team.
Then, Tolley said, there’s the regular upkeep and maintenance for the shelter.
“Keeping the lights on certainly helps, and we want our dogs to have air conditioning in the summer, you know, and heat in the winter,” Tolley said.
For Erica Dixon and Kelsey Staggers, the event was a chance to meet people — and their dogs — while giving back to KCHA.
“I love dogs, and for people newer in Charleston, this is kind of perfect,” Staggers said.
She recently moved to the city from Morgantown, where she attended WVU. Dixon also recently moved here from Danville, Virginia, she said.
“Fun events that get the community involved in supporting a cause like this one are really important,” Dixon said.
For Staggers, like Amos, attending and buying a ticket was a different, less-traditional way to give back.
“It’s important because it attracts people that traditionally may not go and directly volunteer,” she said. “It gives another opportunity to support, and I don’t think there are a lot of people out there who wouldn’t want to do that, given the chance.”