The Cranston-based non-profit Tiger’s Den, which helps to rescue homeless and abused animals throughout the state, will host its third annual Stake Dinner and Dance to raise money for their cause.
The event will be held Jan. 25 at Club Jogues on the West Warwick-Coventry line from 7 to 11 p.m. In addition to a chicken or steak dinner, guests will enjoy dancing, a cash bar and raffle featuring high-end liquor gift baskets and other baskets from Petco featuring items for your pets. Music is being provided by Bo Dee’s Circle of Music.
Last year’s event had 186 guests and raised $1,000 for Tiger’s Den. Melissa Davis, the organization’s founder, hopes that this year’s event will attract even more attention and allow her to help even more homeless and abused animals in Rhode Island.
Davis founded Tiger’s Den at the end of 2010, but this organization is not the first time she has dedicated herself to helping animals. Previously, Davis was the founder of The Feline Fund, which was dedicated to trapping, neutering and releasing (TNR) stray animals. Davis ran that organization for nine years, until the Newport-based Paws Watch expanded throughout the state. Since that organization also specialized in TBR and Davis was having trouble keeping The Feline Fund funded, Davis changed her focus.
“We felt there was another need for homeless and abused animals,” said Davis. “More of a need because of all of the animal abuse going on.”
So Tiger’s Den was born.
And Tiger’s Den doesn’t just help cats and dogs; Davis will respond to calls about any animal. She once received a call to rescue two guinea pigs that had been left out in the freezing cold.
Davis explained that her organization helps to take homeless and abused animals out of their situation and place them in safe homes across the state until they are adopted.
The organization’s volunteers will respond to calls about animals seen roaming the streets or in people’s yards, as well as calls from people who suspect animal abuse is occurring. If the animal is simply lost, wandering a neighborhood, Davis said her organization would work with local shelters and the authorities to return the animal to its home. If the animal is a stray, it will be brought to one of 10 foster homes Davis has set up through volunteers.
If they receive a call about suspected animal abuse, Davis explained that they would call the proper authorities to help. “We need the authorities to remove the animal from the situation,” said Davis.
While Davis does have a friendly relationship with area shelters and other animal protection groups, she was certain that Tiger’s Den would never become a shelter itself.
“We will never have a shelter. Since we work with abused animals, we don’t believe they should be in cages,” said Davis. “They have to be in a home to be rehabilitated to be put back in a home.”
In addition to helping rescue and find homes for animals, Tiger’s Den has also been looking to help the elderly be able to keep their animals, whether it is helping to speak with landlords or helping them care for the animals.
“We’re not that big, but from the people we have helped you would think we are huge,” said Davis.
According to Davis, all of her foster homes are currently full, but the organization is always looking for more volunteers to help in any way they can.
“Winter is always worse,” explained Davis, adding that she has seen more cats left homeless than dogs.
Davis can recall visiting Gaspee Point when she first started The Feline Fund.
“When we started, there were 80 cats,” explained Davis. “Today, there are two left.”
While Davis likes operating her organization at its current size, she is preparing to grow Tiger’s Den by submitting the paperwork to become a 501c3 non-profit on the day of the state dinner. She hopes by gaining that distinction, the organization will be able to apply for grants and obtain more funding.
Currently, Davis operates Tiger’s Den by holding fundraising events and collecting donations outside of supermarkets or other stores. Other fundraising events put on by Tiger’s Den include an annual bowling event and other dinner-party events. She also hopes to work with area shelters to organize a dog show to show off the dogs available for adoption.
While most of the fundraising goes toward food and medical needs for the animals in Tiger’s Den’s foster homes, Davis’ organization will hold special events to help pet owners. For example, she recently organized an event for a woman who needed money to pay for a surgery for her dog.
In addition to gaining 501c3 status as a non-profit, Davis envisions her organization starting an educational component, especially for children in elementary schools.
“Teaching them compassion for animals now,” explained Davis. She believes that if children are taught to be kind to animals, and maybe even shown images of what abuse can do to an animal, they will grow up to be compassionate toward them. “Show them some animals before and after to show them that it does affect the animal,” she said.
Davis also hopes to eventually be able to travel to places like New York and North Carolina where gas chambers are used to kill animals. She hopes to speak to people there and get them informed.
“People can always stop things if there are a lot of people who know about it; teach them a little bit more about compassion,” explained Davis.
For now, however, Davis is focused on the State Dinner later this month. Tickets will be on sale until Jan. 18 for $25 per person, and can be purchased by emailing Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.