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Canine group holds 1st raffle

Event raises funds to help cover costs of medical treatment

Lilly Campbell of Youngstown, left and Jason Cooke with Healthy Heats and Paws of Brookfield at their annual fundraiser. Campbell's dog, Hercules, was adopted through the organizations.

BROOKFIELD — Wanting to make sure dogs receive proper medical attention, including heartworm checks, a local organization held its first fundraising event this year.

Jason Cooke, president of the Healthy Hearts and Paws Project, said the group held a basket raffle and reverse raffle on 130 baskets over a one-week period at Tiffany’s Banquet Center.

The nonprofit helps treat dogs that are heartworm positive and have other medical needs.

“We have to continually raise funds to help these dogs. We had planned this fundraiser earlier this year, and then of course, everything happened with the coronavirus outbreak. So, we’ve adjusted accordingly, and we’ve done everything we can to have a safe event for the community,” Cooke said.

The average cost of a heartworm treatment is $500, so the event’s goal of raising $30,000 can help about 60 dogs in need.

Cooke said all funds will help get dogs heartworm treatment and other medical treatment, as well as spaying and neutering.

“This is our first major fundraiser that we have held. I was shocked at the generosity of local residents and businesses who have donated items to the raffle,” he said.

Plans are to hold the event each November.

Since opening in August 2018, the organization has helped 260 dogs with medical treatment and found them homes.

Lilly Campbell of Youngstown, a volunteer at the organization, said she was able to rescue three dogs from a kill shelter in South Carolina and then adopted one named Hercules, who is 2.

“Hercules had a broken leg, was heartworm positive and had two tumors. I fostered him and then when he was ready to go, I adopted him,” Campbell said.

She said the other two dogs, Theo and Pixie, also were heartworm positive.

Campbell said after spending time with Hercules on their way back, she knew she wanted to adopt him.

“On our way back to Ohio, Hercules was barking in his crate, and I felt bad since he had a broken leg. So I let him sit in the front seat of the car,” she said, noting she asked Cooke not to put the dog on the adoption website.

Kristen Snyder of Mineral Ridge said Cooke has the biggest heart for animals.

“We have so many donors, and they believe in what Jason has done. They are so willing to support him and donate,” Snyder said.

She said if Campbell had not gotten the three dogs, they would have been euthanized.

Shannon Arkwright of Austintown, who has been a volunteer for over a year, adopted Theo, saying he caught her eye and she wanted to help.

“He came up with Hercules from South Carolina. I was volunteering that morning when the dogs arrived; I wanted to adopt him,” Arkwright said.

In order for people to see the basket items, the banquet center opened a few days ahead of the event as a preview.

Cooke said he wanted to make sure the event followed all health guidelines, with everyone having temperatures taken and mask wearing required.

“I am grateful to be able to have this event with all that has been going on,” Cooke said.

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