MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Mariners to host ‘pints for paws’ benefiting animal rescue shelters

Sep 11, 2023, 7:34 AM | Updated: 4:24 pm

Hundreds of four-legged fans will attend Monday night’s Mariners game at T-Mobile Park for the final Bark at the Park of the season. It’s not the team’s only dog-friendly event of the week, as the M’s prepares to host “Pints for Paws,” a fundraising event at Seattle’s Queen Anne Beer Hall.

“I’m going to bring myself, a few of the Mariners players will stop in,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.

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They’ll be serving up a special beer on tap called Dog Parade by Seattle-based Hellbent Brewing Company.

“JP Crawford’s a huge dog lover. Ty France. George Kirby,” Scott Servais said. “A number of our guys [will] sign a few autographs, pour a few beers for fans and have a good time and hopefully, along the way, raise some money.”

The event this Wednesday night, sponsored by CARA Veterinary, is aimed at supporting dogs in eastern Washington’s Okanogan County. It’s an area about the size of Connecticut with only a patchwork of private rescue groups but no countywide animal control.

Servais’ wife, Jill, is spearheading the fundraising event to build a shelter as part of her nonprofit, Team Okanogan Animal Rescue.

“It’s a very small group, but we’re pretty mighty,” Jill Servais said. “We’ve already sent over 20,000 pounds of dog food, and we’ve done a bunch of spay/neuter over there. Last October, we did 250 animals in three days.”

Jill Servais got into animal welfare about 30 years ago while Scott was playing in the minor leagues in Tucson, Arizona. That’s where she worked at one of the city’s municipal shelters.

“The first month that I was working there, they got in 1,700 animals, and we euthanized 1,300 of them,” Jill Servais said. “And that was abhorrent, of course. I just decided at that point that that was going to be my passion in life.”

When the Servaises came to Seattle, Jill continued that passion by volunteering at local shelters. It was there that she heard about a mom-and-pop pup shop on the other side of the state in Cashmere, Wash.

“Everyone kept saying you have to meet this guy. He’s a retired pilot. He’s basically turned his entire house into a dog rescue,” Jill Servais said. That guy is Tom Short, president of Okandogs, a private animal rescue organization in Cashmere.

A retired Air Force pilot, Short started Okandogs with his wife after years of volunteering with the Humane Society.

“And the more we did that, the more we would walk dogs, and it kind of grabs your heart after a while,” Short said.

Since founding Okandogs nearly 10 years ago, the Shorts have opened their home and hearts to about 7,000 dogs. That includes a yellow lab/golden retriever mix named Tucker.

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“Tucker was going to be put down. He’d swallowed a rock, and people didn’t want to pay for vet bills. So, we took on the responsibility,” Short said. “And then in our interaction with Jill Servais, the Mariners took an interest in him, and lo and behold.”

Tucker joined the roster of the Mariners, serving as their clubhouse dog. Manager Scott Servais said Tucker has really made himself a part of the squad.

“Tucker is in the clubhouse here every day,” Servais said. “Most of his time is in the cafeteria looking for scraps there, but he’s been a nice addition to our team.”

He’s also inspired first baseman Ty France to add a second dog to his family. He went through Okandogs.

“Okandogs had posted Buddy on their Instagram, and I told my wife, ‘I think this is a sign. Like I think we should just… apply for it and see how it goes,'” France said. “We had to do a meet and greet with our other dog and make sure everything went smooth, and thankfully it did, and now he’s with us.”

Fans at Monday’s Bark at the Park also have a chance to adopt. The Mariners are hosting several shelters to showcase their rescue dogs.

Follow Aaron Granillo on Twitter or email him here.

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