‘It’s really emotional’, advocates aim to save animals in distress with virtual fundraiser in Nashville


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Nashville Humane Association is hosting one of their biggest fundraising events Saturday.

It’s called Unleashed: Dinner with your Dog. It is one of four signature events put on by NHA officials. This year, it will be a virtual celebration.

News 2 spoke with NHA Executive Director Laura Baker who says they have to pivot from doing an in-person event to a virtual one this year.

“We are celebrating our dogs at work. This past year they have really come through for us. They have really helped humans during COVID so it’s our time to celebrate them.”

The event will begin streaming on social media and consist of a 45 minute show including dogs, cats, music and ways to engage in our community.

“Unleashed is one of our four signature events for the year. That’s the way we bring in money and the way we can continue to do our mission. During COVID.. animals don’t know it’s a pandemic and actually their owners are now more in need than ever. Losing jobs, losing houses.. we are providing services more than we did last year. Events like unleashed allow us to do that.”

Baker says they have $10,000 worth of matching funds for the event and encourages everyone to just watch the stream…if even for five minutes. She says these donations go toward animal cruelty situations as well.. something they recently dealt with in Giles County.

“We helped close to 16 animals from a cruelty case. Predominantly chihuahuas and cats. It’s going to be a long road. They were living in deplorable conditions. No food.. no water, they don’t even want to be touched. Some have medical needs, and the only reason we can step up and be partners is because we have these donations from our community.”

Baker says these cases happen about once a week and there are a lot of these unfortunate situations in Tennessee.

“It’s really emotional.. Tennessee has come so far with how seriously we take these cases. We can get these calls and say yes because we know we have the community’s support. It’s the biggest thing, for us to have a community that supports us and allows us to continue this work because it is absolutely shocking to go on scene.”

Baker was the NHA representative who went to the Giles County case. She says it is related to other issues in our community as well.

“This work is really important and it’s linked to child abuse, linked to elder abuse. It’s happening out there. The more we can make the community aware, the more we raise awareness.. it really benefits the human community and the animal community.”

Baker says the animals are doing much better now.

“Just being here for the past week.. they are opening up just by getting food and love and basic care. Animals are so resilient and have no reason to like humans… yet they do.”

Woof Force advocates raised more than $25,000 toward the cause so far.

If you’d like to watch the Unleashed event, click here. The stream will begin at 7 p.m. on Facebook and Twitter.

To donate, click here.

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