MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Wet noses, wagging tails and fluffy fur are all welcome to the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Veterinary Treatment Facility’s upcoming Holiday Pet Parade, where contests, raffles and much more will be held to benefit retired military working dogs and homeless pets in Onslow County Dec. 8 from noon to 3 p.m. in front of the veterinary clinic in Tarawa Terrace.
“It’s a fundraiser and a community event,” said Army Sgt. Dawn Torrisi, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the MCB Camp Lejeune Veterinary Treatment Facility.
Pets will be paraded with prizes for the best-dressed, coolest tricks, best singers and pets that look like their owner.
Veterinarians will be available to answer questions and clinicians will be on hand to trim pets’ nails for free and microchip pets with all fees waived except for the microchip companies’ lifetime registration fee. However the first 10 participants will receive the registration for free.
A raffle is scheduled with prizes such as jewelry, horse rides and gift certificates for local pet shops. Tickets can be purchased now at the vet clinic and participants do not have to be present to win.
Military working dogs are important to the clinic. They take care of the dogs and work with their handlers every day.
“Many military working dogs do five or six tours to Afghanistan or Iraq before they retire,” said Torrisi. “When they retire they usually have health issues. When we find a home for them it can be expensive to take care of them. This fundraiser will help provide financial assistance for medications. A lot of the people who adopt working dogs have worked with them. After deploying three or four times with their dogs some handlers want to take them home, but a corporal can’t afford some of the medications, so the idea is to raise money to help them pay for them. We don’t want to separate them because of finances.”
Money will be donated to homeless pets so they can be spayed and neutered along with taking care of health concerns to reduce the financial burden to prospective owners.
“We want to be able to help people responsibly adopt their pets,” said Torrisi.
The area will be roped off, but there will be no fencing, so pets must be on a leash or in a crate.
“We want everyone to have fun while gaining an awareness of military working dogs,” said Michelle Cribb, the office manager of the clinic.
Pamphlets and booths will be available as well as veterinarians and veterinarian technicians to answer questions. Torrisi said she want people to learn about responsible pet ownership through the event.
Pet food, toys, treats or any other pet items can be left at the clinic throughout December to donate to local shelters.