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RapidChat: Tammy Hagedorn

In nearly two days, both two-legged and four-legged participants will occupy Riverside Park for the annual glow-in-the-dark 5K, Bark in the Dark. We sat down with Tammy Hagedorn recently to discuss the importance of this event and the awareness it brings to the welfare of animals within our community.
Tammy Hagedorn

In nearly two days, both two-legged and four-legged participants will occupy Riverside Park for the annual glow-in-the-dark 5K, Bark in the Dark. We sat down with Tammy Hagedorn recently to discuss the importance of this event and the awareness it brings to the welfare of animals within our community. 
Rapid Growth: We are only a few days away from Humane Society of West Michigan’s annual fall event, Bark in the Dark. How long has this particular fundraising event been around?
 
Tammy Hagedorn: 2015 is the 3rd Annual Bark in the Dark and we couldn’t be more excited to continue the growth of this event within our community.
 
RG: What inspired the event?
 
TH: Bark in the Dark was inspired by a desire to connect dogs in our community, especially rescue dogs, with their adopters at a fun community based event—with a few twists! It’s held at dark so that participants, both two-legged and their furry four-legged friends, can come together, decked out in glowing gear, to raise funds for shelter animals. Event attendance has doubled each year so we had to move to Riverside Park so that we can expand and grow the event.
 
RG: The Humane Society also hosts a fundraising event in the spring – Paws, Claws & Corks. How does that compare to Bark in the Dark?
 
TH: Paws, Claws & Corks (PCC) is a very social, upscale event that offers an evening to connect with other like-minded individuals and fellow animal lovers. It shares similarities with an event I started and coordinated for 13 years while at another non-profit. PCC is unique, however, in that not only does it showcase over 14 restaurants, a very creative animal focused silent auction, and a truly unique live auction, but it offers wine tasting from “regions” and several local beer options to sample. Paws, Claws & Corks is a wonderful way to network, socialize and support animals in West Michigan.
 
RG: Explain to me what your role as ‘Director of Development’ at HSWMI encompasses.
 
TH: As the Director of Development for Humane Society of west Michigan, I have the platform to join areas which I truly enjoy. I'm allowed the opportunity to utilize my over 20-plus years of non-profit experience to influence HSWM financial success. I feel honored to personally meet and develop relationship with the generous individuals who donate funds to support our mission. Humane Society also relies on a strong and committed team of volunteers - many of which I have gotten to know!
 
RG: What are some of the most rewarding things you experience within your job?
 
TH: I am so fortunate to be able to share my office space to foster many shelter cats and kittens who have struggled with health issues, behavioral “challenges," or have been fearful or stressed within the shelter environment. My office often becomes home for days - to weeks - until positive improvements are made after some love and patience. This often results in successful and tearful adoptions. Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye!
 
RG:  Why is the welfare of animals something people should be concerned about?
 
TH: Responsible pet ownership should be our norm. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. People need to understand the importance of spay or neutering animals to prevent overpopulation.
 
RG: What is the best advice you have for people who are looking to be pet owners?
 
TH: Have an open mind, heart and be patient! You never know what animal is your “perfect pet” if you are not willing to consider options. Animals have their own unique personality and spirit.
 
RG: Could you provide us with some information on how to get further involved with our community’s Humane Society, as well as your upcoming event – Bark in the Dark?  
 
TH: Go to the website www.barkinthedark.org and come glow with us!

Jenna Morton is the RapidChat correspondent for Rapid Growth Media. 
 
 
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