Could there be a more perfect match for a raffle: Golden Retrievers and tennis balls? Like peanut butter and jelly.
That's what the Golden Retriever Rescue Club of Charlotte thinks.
Each year, they sell raffle tickets to raise money for their efforts -- hundreds so far this year. Saturday, they'll Sharpie those numbers on a tennis ball, and let all the balls loose in a fenced-in area. A Golden Retriever will be unleashed to retrieve three balls among the hundreds, one at a time.
The first wins $250 for the ticket holder, the second $500 and the third $1,000.Jill Santuccio, a fundraiser/marketer and Golden Retriever owner, attended her first raffle last year and was so taken by the event she signed on to help the organization.
They put her in charge of Saturday's raffle, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Continental Boarding, 2235 Township Rd.
"What a genius fundraiser," Santuccio said. "I wish I'd come up with the idea myself."
The recession hasn't just hurt human nonprofits. Charities that look after animals are struggling too, and because of the economy their services are in greater need, Santuccio said.
This year, the Golden Retriever club will find homes for at least 100 dogs and puppies, a huge jump from previous years.
The stories are often heart-breaking -- with happy endings.
One's about Sydney, a puppy who was severely bitten by her father. Sydney's breeder couldn't sell her, so he didn't want her. He told the club it could have her, or he was going to get rid of her.
The club found Sydney (pictured above with a rain boot over her cast) a home. She's doing great.
Recently, a family had to surrender their diabetic dog. "The father was laid off from his job, and the medications for their dog was running $400 to $500 a month," she said. "It's tough when that happens. This family had to choose between taking care of the dog or paying the mortgage and putting food on the table.
"So, unfortunately, the economy is having an impact on pets."
The family appealed to the club, operating since 1990, which found a foster home for their dog.
On the average, the club spends $500 on each dog for vet bills, medications and spaying or neutering. Adoptions fees are $250. "So you can see, we take a hit on the front end," Santuccio said. "This fundraising is very important to us."
Rescue club volunteers scouted tennis clubs and country clubs for used balls. One member went on eBay and bought a box of 200 used balls.
The club hopes to raise at least $5,000 at Saturday's raffle. You can buy a raffle ticket for $5, or six for $25. A barbecue lunch will be served for $10. Golden Retriever owners are invited to bring their dogs on leashes.
To buy tickets, get directions, or for more information on the club and event click here , or call Santuccio at 704-361-8896. Tickets will be sold at the event.
That's the highlight of the fundraiser for the Charlotte group that rescues the lovable furry dogs. For every raffle ticket sold, a corresponding number is Sharpied onto a tennis ball. All the balls are thrown into a fen