Eliza Walker has been involved with the RSPCA since she started volunteering at the Coffs Harbour shelter as a teen. So when she met Mark and Kelly, the managers at Reflections Holiday Park Moonee Beach and also keen dog lovers, they immediately started brainstorming how they could work together to bring the Coffs Coast community and fellow animal lovers together and raise funds for the RSPCA at the same time. And so, Doggy Date Night was born! We asked Eliza to tell us all about the event and how it will benefit both the people and animals of the Coffs Coast.
Hi Eliza. What is your connection to the Coffs Coast?
I was raised in the Clarence Valley and returned to the area six years ago. My family still live in the area, so it was like coming home. We’re very lucky – it’s a magnificent place to live!
How long have you been involved with the RSPCA?
I started volunteering at the Coffs Harbour Shelter when I was in my teens and have been employed by the organisation for over 20 years now. Before moving into a senior management role, I managed the animal shelter located in the Hunter Valley for many years.
What role does the RSPCA play in the community?
The local RSPCA works to keep pets in their homes by providing guidance and support to pet owners, but we also accept surrendered animals where the owners can no longer keep their pet. We always have a range of lovely pets looking for their forever homes; visit adoptapet.com.au to see the animals available – the friendly team at the shelter will assist you in finding your perfect match.
The Coffs Harbour facility also offers holiday accommodation for pampered cats and dogs, and currently manages impounded companion animals on behalf of Coffs Harbour City Council.
RSPCA NSW has developed a range of targeted community programs to support more vulnerable members of the community, including pet owners experiencing homelessness or escaping domestic violence, and we have developed strong relationships with key local stakeholders involved in animal and human welfare.
RSPCA NSW and Reflections Holiday Park Moonee Beach have joined together to host an event to raise funds for the Coffs Harbour RSPCA. Can you tell us how the idea for this event came about?
Mark and Kelly, the managers at Reflections Holiday Park Moonee Beach, are keen dog lovers and very community minded. In May of this year, destiny stepped in and introduced us, and we immediately started exploring ways to work together.
The RSPCA encourages people to enjoy an active and social life with their pets, and we felt a gentle evening stroll followed by a dog-friendly open-air cinema experience would be well received by Coffs Coast locals and visitors.
It’s a great opportunity for the community to come together and have some fun! We’re hoping the event becomes a regular feature on the Coffs Coast social calendar.
What will the Doggy Date Night event consist of?
The event will kick off with a walk up to beautiful Green Bluff then participants can take in the stunning Moonee Creek estuary and parkland while enjoying an evening picnic. An open-air screening of The Secret Life of Pets will begin after dark. There will also be a great raffle and lucky door prizes, and for a gold coin donation children can have their face painted or ride on the giant slide. Be sure to bring along chairs or a picnic blanket, so you can enjoy the movie in comfort!
The event will be held between 5pm – 8:30pm; will there be food options available at the event?
The NSW Rural Fire Service will put on a barbecue to raise funds for their vital work in the community, and local supplier of all things delicious, Moreish will also have a range of food available. And what movie would it be without popcorn! Participants are also welcome to bring along their own picnic fare.
Can people bring the whole family along to this event, including the canine family members?
For sure! Sociable, well-behaved dogs are very welcome to attend; they must be kept on a leash at all times. Families without a canine companion are also very, very welcome!
What will it cost to take part in Doggy Date Night?
Registration fees will go directly to supporting the local RSPCA: adults $10, children $5, family (two adults, two children) $25, children three years and under can participate free of charge. Each paid entry gets a lucky door prize ticket. Participants can register at the event.
What are you hoping the funds raised at this event will do for the RSPCA Coffs Harbour?
Funds raised will go towards our environmental enrichment program – buying toys and equipment to give animals in care additional constructive stimulation. We also need some more tub-style beds for the dogs, to ensure they are comfortable.
For those unable to attend Doggy Date Night, how else can they contribute to the RSPCA?
RSPCA NSW relies on the generosity of our supporters for 98% of our funding. Supporters contribute by participating in events such as the Million Paws Walk and Cupcake Day, or by making regular or special donations. Adopting from us is another way to lend support.
In coming months we will also be recruiting for more volunteers to support our day-to-day operations. Visit rspcansw.org.au to find out more about how the RSPCA NSW helps people and animals.
Where can people find out more details about Doggy Date Night?
Call the friendly team at Reflections Holiday Park Moonee Beach on 6653 6552 for more details.