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SPCA Dips a Paw into Creative Fundraising

Pups pose and plunge for the cause at family-friendly festival

Mindy Nelson admires the spirit of the thousands of charity-minded fundraisers who cast their warm bodies into the frigid waters of the Bay for Special Olympics every January.
    “I thought, wouldn’t it be fun if dogs could do that?” says Nelson, fundraising and event coordinator for Anne Arundel County’s own Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
    But she preferred warmer weather for the dog day and family festival that evolved from her bright idea.
    So on August 19, two- and four-legged plungers will leap into the South River at Camp Letts for the SPCA’s inaugural Puppy Plunge.
    To attract dog enthusiasts and more, the family-friendly festival includes live music from the Biondi Brothers, volleyball and canoeing, Lego craft tables and a moon bounce. Children under 10 and all dogs are free.
    “It’s going to be just old-fashioned fun, very relaxed and inexpensive,” Nelson says. “Bring your lawn chairs.”
    For the plunge, pups have their pick of two beaches: Muscle Beach for bigger breeds and Petite Beach for smaller.
    After the plunge, dogs and their people show off their teamwork in a disc dog demonstration.
    Pups strut their physical stuff in the spotlight in two contests. The Bikini Contest spotlights impressive physiques. The Ugly Dog Contest celebrates individuality over conventional cuteness.
    “We’re looking for dogs that have a unique characteristic that inspires a second look,” explains Nelson.
    Beyond fun, Puppy Plunge is an occasion to showcase SPCA’s contribution to all of Anne Arundel County.
    “We serve all of the county, not just Annapolis,” Nelson says. “As an independent not-for-profit organization, we need the community’s support, too.”

August 19 from noon-4pm at Camp Letts, Edgewater. $5: 410-268-4388 x142;