Tri County Fund Drive Steps Off With Pet Parade, Reception

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By: Joanie Cox-Henry and Dale King Contributing Writer

Pets awaiting adoption at Tri County Animal Rescue in Boca Raton got a chance to strut their stuff and promote donations last month when TCAR held a pet parade and luncheon reception to launch a $10 million “Big Dig” capital campaign to expand, renovate and spiff up the no-kill shelter at 21287 Boca Rio Road.

Following the announcement, dogs on leashes and cats paraded around the grounds with humans holding signs on their behalf to celebrate the expansion plans. They circled a tent where lunch was served to those in attendance.

The event is helping to fulfill a longtime dream of the late founder of Tri-County Animal Rescue, Jeannette Christos, that is finally coming true. The no kill shelter and non-profit, which has saved the lives of more than 63,000 dogs and cats is finally undergoing an essential expansion with a canine and feline adoption center, long-term housing, a veterinary surgical center, care and isolation areas for rescues and Hospets for animals with medical needs. Tri-County Animal Rescue announced its expansion Oct. 3 with a pet parade.

“Our dream was always to have a veterinary center,” Tri-County Animal Rescue Co-founder and Executive Director Suzi Goldsmith said. “Jeannette passed away eight years ago and today our dream is coming true.  This is the start of helping the community in ways we couldn’t before. God-willing, we’re hoping to be up and running by Feb. 1.”

The 64,000-square-foot, $10 million expansion will also offer a mausoleum with a serenity garden, increased in-ground burial plots, an agility course, in-ground pool, dog park, boarding and grooming services and public spaces for education and training programs.

“We started this project two years ago but had a hurricane,” Goldsmith said. “We’re very excited the first phase is underway and it’s the first of many buildings.”

Construction has already begun along the west edge of the campus where a new building is rising.

Christos’s spirit remained a central part of the celebration as her photo proudly sat in the center of the event tent.

“Jeannette had a passion, love and determination like I’ve never seen before,” said developer Craig Perna. “She was taken from us way too soon and would’ve been so proud of this expansion.”

Boca Raton philanthropist Barbara Schmidt, who is also trustee of the Schmidt Family Foundation, is a longtime supporter of Tri-County Animal Rescue and is thrilled to see the facility growing.

“I’m a huge animal lover and I love that this is a no-kill shelter,” said Schmidt, who also previously adopted animals from the shelter. “The love, care and attention they give the animals here is top notch and it always amazes me that there’s always one more rescue story regarding this facility I haven’t yet heard.”

While the road leading to this expansion has been a long one, Goldsmith couldn’t be more pleased with the support she’s been receiving from the community. “We go to Puerto Rico—we go wherever we’re needed to help cats and dogs in need. Tri-County truly has no borders.”

TCAR’s financial drive got a major boost on the day of the pet parade. A long-time donor who asked not to be identified pledged $350,000 a year. Also, Kyle and Robert Finizio donated $2 million, according to TCAR officials.

Tri-County Animal Rescue is a 100 percent no-kill 501(c)3 nonprofit animal shelter working to prevent the killing of unwanted animals in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties each year.  Since its inception, Tri-County has saved more than 55,000 domestic animals from being euthanized, placing them in homes through their adoption program.

For more information about Tri-County Animal Rescue, visit tricountyanimalrescue.com or call 561-482-8110.