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Comedy Castle to host Guardians for Animals fundraiser

Feb. 10 event will feature big prizes and plenty of laughs

By: Andy Kozlowski | C&G Newspapers | Published January 25, 2019

ROYAL OAK — Guardians for Animals proves there is strength in numbers.

The nonprofit network supports 17 no-kill animal rescues. Together, they have saved nearly 33,200 animals over the past 15 years, including more than 1,700 in 2018 alone.

Also proving there’s strength in numbers is the source of the group’s support: the people who attend GFA fundraisers. The money raised is critical to providing emergency medical care, spaying/neutering, food, supplies, networking and adoption venues for the homeless animals.

The next fundraiser will be held Sunday, Feb. 10, at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, located at 310 S. Troy St. in Royal Oak. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. The comedy show starts at 7:40 p.m., featuring headliner Bill Hildebrandt. The event is for people ages 18 and older.

Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at or by calling the venue at (248) 542-9900. Seats are limited, so organizers recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

In addition to gut-busting laughter, attendees can look forward to delicious food, raffles, silent auctions and a 50-50 cash raffle. Among the prizes will be a 50-inch 4K HD TV.

The event is now in its eighth year. Alexandria Whitney, GFA founder, recalled how it started.

“Some caring friends thought I could use a fun evening out, so we visited the Comedy Castle,” Whitney said. “While there, I thought about all the hard work our GFA affiliates do each and every day to save homeless animals, and I figured the rescues could use some fun too. We could also invite their supporters and adopters — like-minded people who love animals.”

She said the event is perfect for Valentine’s Day, but singles enjoy it as well.

“No valentine? No problem,” Whitney said. “Join us and meet wonderful people coming together to support a great cause, saving innocent animals.”

 Whitney said the proceeds will go a long way.  

“In our 15 years of service to the rescues and shelters, we have never had to say ‘no’ when asked to help,” Whitney said. “Without the public’s support, we wouldn’t be able to fulfill our mission. Every dollar is lifesaving.”

And there are so many lives to save, she said. She described a case where kittens were being used for target practice until a good Samaritan witnessed the crime and scared off the offenders, rushing the kittens to the vet. A GFA affiliate, AARM (Abandoned Animals Rescue of Michigan), was called in to take them. Those kittens now have loving homes as of Christmas.  

Then there’s the case of Moxie. An animal control officer was dispatched to a found dog call, where he observed a man pulling a small dog from the trunk of his car. The dog was filthy and covered in black dust. The dog was taken back to the station for treatment and a bath. That’s where Moxie refused food due to stomach distress.

It turns out she had eaten a piece of a tire. With funding from GFA, emergency surgery was performed to remove the tire pieces. A GFA affiliate, PAAW (Pet Adoption Alternative of Warren), then stepped in to find Moxie a home.

Another success story is that of Bentley, a small dog suffering from severe hip arthritis who couldn’t put any weight on his hip. Best Buddy Pet Rescue, another GFA affiliate, was able to cover the surgery bill with support from GFA.

“Without the help of Guardians for Animals, AARM would not be able to help animals in need of rescue and the many in need of emergency medical care,” said Lisa Vawter, of AARM. “GFA’s support of emergency medical, spay/neuter, food and supplies has helped us to save hundreds of cats, kittens, dogs and puppies. GFA is hope when all seems hopeless, the light when all seems darkest.”