Cause for Paws Oakville, began as a way to donate money to the Oakville & Milton Humane Society in return for the Town Of Oakville making Post Park an off-leash park. The first event was a tag sale at one of the R-Dog’s Post Park Off Leash Committee’s homes and raised approximately $250.
Our Founder, Beverlie Rockliffe, had rescued a Canadian Eskimo Dog, a little white canine who needed a great deal of exercise.“I was looking for a place to run him,” Rockliffe said. “I remembered seeing a bunch of women at the Post Park soccer field and took him over there.”
Some of the residents near Post Park weren’t too pleased with it being an unofficial off-leash area, so Rockliffe, along with four other women, formed the first leash free area in Oakville. All they needed, once they had Town approval, was to pay for the fencing – and that was the group’s first fundraising endeavour. “We had a garage sale in the parking lot of Post Park and raised enough money to get it all fenced.”
Cause for Paws Oakville then began fundraising for the Oakville & Milton Humane Society (OMHS).
“Thirteen years ago I was driving from a meeting in Toronto and thought, ‘Oh my, it’s April and we haven’t planned anything for the Humane Society yet.’ And then a crazy thing came into my mind…martinis on my front lawn!”
With the help of Billy the Butcher and a few other community members, the recently-formed Cause for Paws Oakville Committee held their first event. “We didn’t make much money. But from there, that’s where it grew. We were having around 350 people and it outgrew my lawn.”
After meeting with Appleby College, the event was moved to their beautiful facilities on Lakeshore Road six years ago. Since then, Cause for Paws Oakville has raised over $500,000 for the Oakville & Milton Humane Society.
As a result, an animal behaviour coordinator was hired by the OMHS, a position that was desperately needed to help dogs and cats find true forever homes. The funds were also used to assist the “Charlie Fund” – a special contingent of money to help pay veterinary bills for animals – and the low-cost spay/neuter program.
“It makes you sort of feel good,” Rockliffe said. “But you always want to do more… I don’t know what ‘enough’ would be.”
But to the Oakville & Milton Humane Society, the efforts of Cause for Paws Oakville are miraculous in themselves. “To have a group like the Cause for Paws Committee take on and grow an event like Cause for Paws for 12 years is almost unheard of,” said former OMHS spokesperson, Brenda Dushko. “They’ve taken the event from a small party at Beverlie’s home to one of the biggest events of summer and have saved the lives of thousands of animals as a result.”
As we approach our 14th Annual Cause for Paws Martini Party on Thursday, June 25th, with your help, we look forward to making it the most successful event yet! “It’s All for the Animals!”