The Helen Woodward Animal Center’s (HWAC) Pet Encounter Therapy Program was supported this past Monday, September 30th by The Lucky Duck Foundation and their Swing & Soiree. The Lucky Duck’s proved that it is okay to love and respect all animals – from puppies to bunnies to ducks. The event that they put forth was developed in order to demonstrate animal loving equality.
This is not HWAC’s initial rendezvous with the likes of the big-hearted San Diego based, non-profit organization. This was the 5th Annual Swing & Soiree event. Although termed the Lucky Duck, the event had a lot of animals, from dogs to guinea pigs as fans. For the 3rd year, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Pet Encounter Therapy Program is a very grateful recipient of the foundation’s charitable giving.
The party was held at the Santaluz Club. The event was bigger and better than ever with celebrity emcees Bill Walton and Peter Jacobsen; a shotgun shamble golf tournament; an evening reception featuring a full bar, heavy appetizers and live and silent auctions (including a trip on a private jet, Super Bowl tickets and a signed Modern Family poster); as well as the return of a popular boutique shopping area.
In 2012, with proceeds from the 4th Annual Swing & Soiree, and founders Pat and Stephanie Kilkenny’s matching donation, the Lucky Duck Foundation donated a total of $600,000 to local and national charities. Helen Woodward Animal Center received $100,000 of this donation, a generous total that went directly towards funding the Center’s Pet Encounter Therapy Program (P.E.T.). The P.E.T. program, which has been in place for over 20 years, brings the unconditional love and tactile benefits of animals to people in facilities such as abused children's shelters, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, and senior centers. Staff and volunteers take dogs, rabbits, birds, or guinea pigs to visit more than 45 facilities a month.
“Studies show that animals really bring out the best in people,” said P.E.T. Manager Robin Cohen. “Touching a pet can bring down blood pressure; improve long- and short-term memory; and help with relaxation. During our pet visits, we've seen movement from unresponsive patients and even heard words spoken for the first time. The connection between people and pets is amazing.”
Pat and Stephanie Kilkenny started the Lucky Duck Foundation in 2005 to raise awareness and funds for charitable causes. The name “Lucky Duck Foundation” is a nod to Pat’s Irish heritage and his Oregon roots. One thing is certain, the pets and people who benefit from the financial support the event provides feel very lucky indeed.
Thanks to The Lucky Duck Foundation, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s P.E.T. Program will continue their successful mission. It is because of great donations such as this one by the Kilkenny family’s foundation that keep animals involved for the betterment of society!