Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Golf tournament to benefit animal rescue groups

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Bethesda residents Ann and Robb Hill first met their dog Jack during last year’s Potomac Day festival. The couple had talked for several years about getting a dog, but still weren’t quite sure about it.

Then, they saw the display from Potomac organization PetConnect Rescue, which rescues animals from high-kill shelters in the south and transports them to foster homes in the area before matching them with a family. The group had brought several animals in need of homes to the festival that day.

Ann Hill said she fell in love with Jack right away, but quickly learned that Jack had a sister, Jill, located with another rescue organization. PetConnect had been hoping to adopt the two dogs together, but wasn’t sure if it was possible.

‘‘We went home that night and decided we wanted both of them,” Ann Hill said.

Ann Hill said adopting through PetConnect made her feel more comfortable bringing home her two new dogs. ‘‘What we thought was so cool about PetConnect is because they foster all the animals before people get to adopt them, you really know what you’re going to get and what type of an animal he may be.”

Next week, a golf tournament and live⁄silent auction is planned to benefit area animal rescue organizations, including PetConnect. The 2008 ‘‘In the Ruff” Golf Tournament, set for Monday at the Manor Country Club in Rockville, will also benefit Russell Rescue in Lutherville, Md., and the Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington, D.C.

Russell Rescue Inc. matches displaced Jack Russell terriers with permanent homes, and the Washington Animal Rescue League houses homeless animals in its shelter and matches them with families. All organizations are volunteer-based.

‘‘We wanted to get involved with groups we felt were in the best interest of the animals,” said event chairwoman Mary McAndrew.

The tournament will draw in golf and animal lovers alike to take part in the day, and participants will also be able to bid on donated items at a live⁄silent auction including sports tickets, weekend trips, and even a ride in a 1914 Model T through Potomac.

The golf tournament was started by Jovi McAndrew, Mary’s husband. ‘‘There’s a golf tournament for everything, but there wasn’t one for animal rescue, so he decided to start it,” Mary said.

For PetConnect, the money raised will go toward providing veterinary care, including spaying and neutering, to the animals. ‘‘What this tournament will allow us to do is fund our commitment to the animals,” said Lizette Chanock, co-founder of the organization.

The group also hopes to use some of the money to help fund some of the medical treatments for Blue, a hound dog adopted by Potomac resident Laurie Beck. Beck said that among several other health problems including severe irritable bowel syndrome, Blue has trouble absorbing vitamin B-12, and needs regular injections that cost about $250 a year.

‘‘Even after everything he’s been through, he’s kind and gentle, and wants to be loved,” Beck said.

Blue was rescued from a rural shelter in Virginia, Chanock said.

Potomac resident Allen Singer, who volunteers for PetConnect, said he will take part in the tournament. He is a regular golf player.

Singer, who is currently fostering a dog, Babette, helps out the organization by driving to Northern Virginia to pick up animals that have been transported from the south and bring them back to Potomac.

‘‘It’s like playing Santa Claus,” Singer said. ‘‘It’s very satisfying to see how happy the families are ... once [the animals] reach their destination.”

IF YOU GO

The 2008 ‘‘In the Ruff” Golf Classic will begin at 10 a.m. Monday at Manor Country Club, 14901 Carrolton Road, Rockville. A silent auction will be held at 5 p.m., followed by a dinner and live auction at 5:30. For more information, visit www.intheruffgolf.com.