Island dog event to share equally with local humane society

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Alison Trazzera, right, and volunteer Terri Barker of Barnegat with dogs Trazzera brought back from Puerto Rico during a March  rescue trip. They were invited to the SPCA mega-adopt-athon in which the Humane Society of Atlantic County was a participant. Alison Trazzera, right, and volunteer Terri Barker of Barnegat with dogs Trazzera brought back from Puerto Rico during a March rescue trip. They were invited to the SPCA mega-adopt-athon in which the Humane Society of Atlantic County was a participant.

ATLANTIC CITY – Hurricane Sandy did significant damage to the Humane Society of Atlantic County’s animal shelter here.

And aid will soon be on the way.

The fifth annual Island Dog Charity Event 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 at Showboat Atlantic City is earmarking half the proceeds to the society headed by Steven Dash.

“In prior years, most proceeds go to Island Dog Inc, with about 10-20 percent going to the Humane Society of Atlantic County,” event organizer Alison Trazzera said Tuesday, Nov. 6. “In light of Hurricane Sandy, Island Dog Inc. has decided to make this a 50-50 event to help the humane society get through this tough period. We need to really rally local support as this event.”

Based on the majority of prior events’ attendance being female, Trazzera said this years fundraiser will be ladies only.

“I have been doing this since 2008,” she said.  “In 2008, I didn’t have any dogs - only two cats. Now I have three Puerto Rican rescue dogs.”

Island Dog was started in reaction to a large number of dogs being abandoned to die on Puerto Rican beaches. Trazzera read about it and immediately got involved, arranging for Puerto Rican rescue dogs to find homes here with the help of the humane society.

“The annual event I created started out at (the now closed Absecon) Rifici’s restaurant,” Trazzera said. Now the event is held in bigger venues - last year at The Pool at Harrah’s with Jerry Blavat, and this year at Showboat in The Mansion.”

The four-hour event will begin with two hours to mingle, eat, drink and shop,” according to Trazzera, who lives in Absecon. That will be followed by a half-hour canine fashion show, a half-hour male revue and an hour of dancing to music provided by a DJ.

“No matter what the venue or the performance we’ve only drawn 120 or so people,” Trazzera said. “And 90 percent of them were always women.”

So, she said, they decided to have some fun with a ladies only theme this year. There will be both canine and women fashion shows, with the women’s show being conducted by Never Too Spoiled of Hamilton Mall.

“Danielle Tustin, an employee at The Humane Society of Atlantic County will be supporting our fashion show, representing an organization she is very involved in called Greyhound Friends of New Jersey,” Trazzera said. “Two greyhounds starting off the fashion show dressed in Mardi Gras garb - in the traditional Showboat spirit.”

There will also be a Tarot card reader, she said.

“We’ve had a huge amount of support from Go Jane News,” Trazzera said. “They’re  at www.gojanenews.com.”

Men can’t attend, she said, but they can donate at islanddog.org or by calling (609) 705-4294.

“I leave for Puerto Rico on Sunday, Nov. 11 for my second rescue trip this year,” Trazzera said. “I’m so excited. We will gauge the adoption climate at that time to determine whether or not I will bring dogs back. With Sandy causing so much devastation, people aren’t really looking to adopt pets.”

That’s why getting word out about this event is important, she said. 

“Granted, it may not be the best time for a fundraiser,” Trazzera said. “However deposits have been made and expenses incurred already - and what better time would there be to give the Humane Society of Atlantic County a big fat check. The tickets are priced super right.  The event will be a blast. We will need a night to let our hair down and support the animals.”

Vendors scheduled for Saturday’s event include PartyLite, Scentsy, Tastefully Simple, Avon, Silpada, Premier Design, Bejou Bags and Slumber Parties. They will rent tables and promote and have products for sale.

Tickets are $65 and include the full event, a two-hour beer and wine open bar, a hot appetizer buffet and desserts.

Island Dog’s biggest current project, according to Trazzera, is a low-cost spay/neuter program on the northeast corridor of Puerto Rico funded with help from PetSmart Charities.

“Residents of Puerto Rico can complete and submit a request on Island Dog Inc.’s website for a voucher,” Trazzera said. “Island Dog mails the resident a voucher card that they take to the veterinarian, and they pay roughly $45 for the spay/neuter and all vaccinations. Island Dog Inc pays the other half.”

She calls it Island Dog’s most significant program.

“Out of all the programs and projects Island Dog Inc has had a hand in – this one by far is creating real change,” Trazzera said. “Residents are actually taking the initiative to spay/neuter - we are changing the culture. Huge.  We spay/neuter on average 30-40 dogs and cats per week through this program.

Also huge, she said was a plug for Island Dog given by singer Selena Gomez on her Facebook page.

Island Dog also has a new Red Collar Project – a catch/release program for dogs that Island Dog Inc has created in Puerto Rico, where dogs are caught, taken to vets for spaying or neutering and vaccinations, then put back on the beaches wearing red collars. The dogs are cared for daily by Island Dog volunteers.

“My last trip to Puerto Rico was in March where I brought back five dogs for the Humane Society of Atlantic County,” Trazzera said. “They were then a part of a mega adopt-a-thon sponsored by the SPCA and held at various shelters. We’ve rescued about 200 dogs this year, sending them to U.S. shelters to be adopted in New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Maryland and Pennsylvania.”

Alison Trazzera and a rescue named Zac from her March  rescue trip. Alison Trazzera and a rescue named Zac from her March rescue trip.


Barnegat volunteer Terri Barker - known as the dog whisperer - surrounded by pups shipped to New Jersey in August from Puerto Rico. Barnegat volunteer Terri Barker - known as the dog whisperer - surrounded by pups shipped to New Jersey in August from Puerto Rico.


Alison Trazzera’s dog Tony Trazzera. Alison Trazzera’s dog Tony Trazzera.


Another Alison Trazzera dog - Bella Bumbatz. Another Alison Trazzera dog - Bella Bumbatz.


Alison Trazzera’s dog Bessy Lynn. She fostered the dog last year and ended up keeping her. Alison Trazzera’s dog Bessy Lynn. She fostered the dog last year and ended up keeping her.



If You Go

Island Dog Inc. Charity Event

Aid Island Dog and the Humane Society of Atlantic County

Ladies Only

The Mansion at Showboat Atlantic City

Tickets $65

Male revue, open bar, food, shopping, Tarot readings, fashion shows

See islanddog.org or call (609) 705-4294.

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