Pets and bets aids animals

The Michigan newspaper Hometown Life featured James Labadie’s Self Expression and Leadership program in a recent article. Labadie’s project involves raising money for no-kill animal shelters, using Texas-Hold em’ poker and other events and a raffle at a day long extravaganza on Saturday, April 25. Details are in the article below.

Play poker, walk, bowl to help animals

Pets & Bets started with a “grand idea” last fall and has grown into a day-long fund-raiser for no-kill shelters, with activities for kids, adults, pet owners and pet seekers.

“We recruited a few friends, started with contacting a few shelters and in the last several weeks, they’ve been contacting us,” said James Labadie, of Labadie Graphics, in Waterford, one of the event’s sponsors.

Shelters that will benefit from the event on Saturday, April 25, at Bentley’s Restaurant, 5586 Drake, south of Walnut Lake Road, in West Bloomfield, include Almost Home Animal Rescue League, which runs a shelter in Southfield; Rainbow Feathers Bird Club and Rescue, in Garden City; Guardian Angels Animal Rescue, in Livonia; K 9 Stray Rescue League, in Oxford; House of Critters Animal Rescue, in Commerce; Michigan Ferret Rescue & Adoption Network, in Warren; Furry Friends Rescue in Brighton; GreyHeart Greyhound Rescue, Canton; and Project Kitty Connect.

Admission is free from 1-6 p.m. when family-friendly activities will include a pet adoption fair, pet photography, antique appraisal, raffles, chair massage, face painting, a pet fashion contest and tarot card readings. A speakers forum from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., will feature Deborah Schutt of Michigan Pet Fund Alliance on making Michigan a no-kill state; Royal Oak veterinarian John Simon on pet nutrition; Rebecca Godo of Project Kitty Connect on the importance of spaying and neutering pets; Eric Glick on estate planning for pets; and Amy Johnson of Rochester Hills, the founder of Teacher’s Pet, a program that brings at-risk children and shelter dogs together. Pets are welcome at daytime activities.

The evening session, from 6 p.m.-midnight, offers a silent auction, chair massages, tarot card readings, dinner, cash bar, appetizers and casino games, including Texas Hold ‘em. Tickets are $20 for casino only, $30 dinner only, $50 per person for both dinner and casino and $75 per couple for dinner and casino. Buy tickets in advance at (248) 636-PETS or visit

“One major goal is awareness of shelters and the second is finding homes for animals,” said Labadie. “We didn’t want to charge people to come to the adoption event. We did what we could to make if family-friendly. The fund-raiser is the third major goal of equal value to us.”

Mark Blondy, another major sponsor of Pets & Bets, created the event as a project for his coursework at Landmark Education development and training company in Livonia.

“He recruited me and I put my heart into it,” said Labadie, who has both adopted shelter cats and brought strays into his home.

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