When the staff at the Humane Society of West Michigan was brainstorming to develop a new fundraiser, the conversation turned to dogs in the community who have helped make a difference.
The result is Thursday’s K-9 Cabaret, a first-time event at Centennial Country Club that will honor the Grand Rapids Police Department‘s K-9 Unit. K-9 Cabaret is from 6-9 p.m. and features food, a cash bar, a silent auction and a Chinese auction (raffle tickets are drawn for the various prizes). Auction items include autographed sports memorabilia, a Coach purse, a Brinkman 4-burner grill, U-M football tickets and “Be a Reporter for a Day” at Fox 17.
Grand Rapids Police Department K-9 handlers, and an on-duty dog from the K-9 unit, will be on hand at Thursday's K-9 Cabaret event. (Courtesy photo)
In addition, Daredevil Circus Co. will perform on the venue’s back patio overlooking the golf course. Adoptable dogs from HSWM also will be in attendance for those looking to add a furry family member.
Tickets for the event can be purchased for $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Those purchasing tickets online can enter the code “HSWM” and receive an additional $10 off. For more information, contact Nicole Cook, marketing and events coordinator at HSWM, at 616-791-8089 or by email at NCook@hswestmich.org. As of Tuesday, 270 tickets had been sold. The venue holds 400, Cook said.
The GRPD K-9 Unit will be on hand for the event and will receive an award from HSWM as well as a proclamation from Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell for its service to the community. An on-duty officer and dog also will attend.
GRPD currently has six K-9 teams, with duties ranging from explosives and drug detection to missing persons to suspect apprehension.
“The definitely will be present and, depending on the time — because they are on duty — they may give a demonstration,” said Cook. “I was with one of the teams yesterday and they were pretty busy throughout the day.”
Cook said HSWM plans to honor a different dog from West Michigan each year, whether it’s from a K-9 unit, the military or a therapy dog.
“It might even be just a regular dog in the community that did a great thing,” she said. “It’s great that our dogs are pets, but they’re also doing some amazing things and we want to honor that.”