ONE of the quiet diamonds of the county, the Kildare Animal Foundation will mark an extraordinary quarter of a century in existence next Sunday 14 July from 1pm with a gala, family open day at its Southgreen Road, about 2kms north of Kildare town.
From puppies to pigeons, from kittens to crows, the foundation has, for the last 25 years, opened its doors to many thousands of sick, injured and abused animals at its seven-acre site which was founded by Geraldine O’Hanlon in 1994.
However, with an average occupancy of 200 animals and food and veterinary bills in the region of €60,000 a year, their open day is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, alongside private donations.
“We have survived broken hearts, broken bones, broken spirits and just plain ‘being broke’ but then just around the corner comes the joy of the recovery of an animal or the arrival of a donation to keep us open for another day,” said spokesperson Michelle Keenan, herself a 22-year veteran with the foundation.
“The 25 year rollercoaster is cause to celebrate the survival of the shelter but more importantly to honour the lives of the animals that we have been privileged to care for and accordingly, we invite you to our Open Day – lovely way to spend the day in the beautiful countryside amongst our beautiful rescue animals,” said Michelle.
Admission is free and there will be something for all the family, whether its plant stalls, kiddies’ games, antiques, bottle stall, face painting, a barbeque and much more, however, Michelle stresses no private pets are allowed at the open day.
She wanted to mention the importance of, and offer her thanks for the 40 people who volunteer at the centre.
“They’re the best group of volunteers, and they come from all four corners of Ireland. There’s fundraisers, and cleaners, and handlers, and painters. They’ve all been with us a long time, and they’ll all show up [next week] for the most important event of the year. It gets us through the winter months,” she said.