Comedy night to benefit Guardians for Animals

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published January 31, 2018

 During the 2016 Guardians for Animals Pet Expo in Madison Heights, Ivette Fernandez does a trick with Aja the dog. Fernandez was there with Sit Means Sit — The Go Team Therapy Dogs. This year, Guardians for Animals will be holding a fundraiser at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak Feb. 11 to support its no-kill animal rescue affiliates.

During the 2016 Guardians for Animals Pet Expo in Madison Heights, Ivette Fernandez does a trick with Aja the dog. Fernandez was there with Sit Means Sit — The Go Team Therapy Dogs. This year, Guardians for Animals will be holding a fundraiser at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak Feb. 11 to support its no-kill animal rescue affiliates.

File photo by Donna Dalziel

 Emma Hopkins gets emotional about a foster cat from Best Buddy Pet Rescue during the Pet Expo in 2016.

Emma Hopkins gets emotional about a foster cat from Best Buddy Pet Rescue during the Pet Expo in 2016.

File photo by Donna Dalziel

ROYAL OAK — For the no-kill rescues backed by Guardians for Animals, or GFA, saving lives is a serious business. Every dollar they bring in goes to the homeless animals — paying for food, vaccines, emergency surgeries and more. 

But that doesn’t mean they can’t have some fun along the way. GFA will be holding its annual comedy fundraiser, Open Your Heart for Homeless Animals, on Sunday, Feb. 11, at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, 310 S. Troy St. in Royal Oak. The show is for people ages 18 and older, and will be headlined by comedian Mike Green. Doors open at 5:15 p.m., and the show begins at 7:40 p.m. 

Guests will enjoy dinner provided by Hungry Howie’s, with several types of pizza and salads, as well as raffles and a 50-50 drawing prior to the show. Seats are limited, so it’s recommended to purchase tickets in advance by visiting www.guardiansfora
nimals.org or by calling Comedy Castle at (248) 542-9900. Tickets cost $25 per person. 

This will be the seventh year that GFA, a nonprofit organization, has held this fundraiser.

“The event is very popular with both animal lovers and good people who enjoy supporting a charity event,” said Alex Whitney, GFA founder. “It’s a fun night out at a very affordable price.” 

GFA uses the money raised to support its 15 no-kill rescue groups. GFA affiliates saved 1,700 animals last year. Over the years, they’ve saved more than 28,000 animals.  

“Nearly all donations go toward emergency medical, food and supplies,” Whitney said. 

Brenda Estes, of Best Buddy Pet Rescue, said that GFA’s support has been invaluable.

“Our rescue has worked with GFA since we started up, which is going on 10 years. Alex has been there supporting us and lending a hand from the beginning. When we are in need of food or medical help, she is there,” Estes said. 

She noted that her rescue attends events put on by GFA, both for fundraising and adoptions.

“It’s been wonderful working with such a caring person as Alex,” Estes said. “GFA has helped us help needy dogs and cats that would otherwise not have had a chance to have a family.”

GFA’s largest event is the Pet Adoption Expo held at Madison Place in Madison Heights each year in the fall. Whitney said they’re looking to add more events this year. Additional fundraising comes from corporate and private donations, as well as special fundraisers on social media. 

“Rescues have very limited funds, yet are often contacted by shelters as a last-chance effort to save the animals,” Whitney said. “A misconception is that rescues receive state or local government funds as shelters do, and that it’s the rescue’s job to take an animal from someone who no longer wants or can no longer care for their pet. But GFA and our affiliates are all volunteers. Most (volunteers at) rescues work and have families of their own, but still find time to help. They have huge hearts for the plight of homeless animals.”