For the last decade, Lily & Co. Jewelers has celebrated its three four-legged friends, Lily, Gracie and Angel while giving back to a good cause.
On Saturday April 22, from noon to 4 p.m., under a big white tent in the parking lot of Lily & Co., 520 Tarpon Rd., a myriad of fun activities will take place to benefit the Animal Refuge Center in North Fort Myers.
"Last year, we raised $13,000," said Dan Schuyler, co-owner of Lily & Co. Jewelers.
Dan Schuyler and Karen Bell, center, at a past birthday bash celebration.
ARC Board Treasurer Betty Hughes said that proceeds from this year's birthday bash will go towards ARC's surgical fund.
"It allows us to pull animals with special surgical needs from low-kill or high-kill shelters. It will also allow us to do heartworm treatments. In 2016, we treated about 15 dogs for heartworm. It's an expensive procedure and a timely one. Once they're eradicated of the heartworms, they get placed in the good homes," Hughes said.
On average, ARC has close to 400 animals in the shelter on any given day. The shelter has 39 dog lodges and 15 cat buildings.
"ARC is deeply appreciative to Lily & Co. for hosting this very popular event every year on our behalf. Dan and Karen are very community-minded people. We appreciate their support and a lot of good deeds will get done because of their generosity," Hughes said.
Lily, who is the store's mascot and namesake, will turn 13 this year. She was adopted by Karen Bell, co-owner of Lily & Co., in 2004. Bell said she contemplated getting a dog for a few years before adopting Lily. After seeing her friend's three-month-old labradoodle puppy, she immediately knew that was the breed for her.
"It actually took me nine months to get a puppy. This was back before labradoodles were popular. Nobody really had them in the states, the only place you could get them was Australia where they started the breed," Bell said. "Lily came along and changed my entire life. She's my greatest gift ever."
Lily appears on many of Lily & Co.'s advertisements and is usually dressed up in elaborate jewels and hats. Schuyler owns Gracie, 14, and Angel, 9.
Vendors for this year's birthday bash include Dr. Mathusa of Beachside Animal Clinic, who will give health tips for dogs, Island Grooming will provide styling insight and demos, Morningstar Dog Training will discuss training tips and Sharon Schuyler of J. McLaughlin will have dog-themed summer fashions on display.
There will also be a handful of local artists on tap. Jan Graham of a Grand Affair Photography will offer pet portraits, Myra Roberts will also have a booth offering professional giclee or oil pet portraits and Rafael Diaz will do pet caricatures.
Liza Clouse and Trasi Sharp of Island Paws will put together goodie bags with gourmet dog treats.
One of the raffle prizes for this year includes a diamond dog bone pendant, which is valued at $900, is being donated from KC Designs. Tickets for the raffle are $5 each or six for $25. The drawing for the pendant will be at 4 p.m. Guests do not have to be present to win.
Sanibel Catering Company will provide hot dogs, snacks and two separate cakes for both humans and their companions. Following the cake cutting ceremony, first, second and third place prizes will be awarded to the best dressed dogs at 2:30 p.m. Schuyler encourages all guests to dress up their pet(s).
In addition to the birthday bash, KC Designs will be hosting their annual trunk show in the parking lot on Friday, April 21-22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All proceeds will benefit ARC.
"All dogs that do show up will get a free doggie bag with lots of goodies in it," Schuyler said.
For more information about the event, call (239) 472-2888 or go to lilyjewelers.com.