Detroit Loves Dogs may be a night of literal puppy love that organizer Kimberly Jackson describes as “a Valentine’s Day dance you can bring your dog to,” but underneath the fun is a much bigger purpose.
Jackson, who runs PetCalls, an in-home vet service, created the event after attending a 2016 Christmastime fundraiser for Detroit Dog Rescue. After hearing DDR executive director Kristina Millman-Rinaldi tell stories of the city’s hard-luck stray pooches, Jackson was inspired to take action. “I usually think of myself as a pretty tough cookie, but I started crying, so I went up to her and said, ‘I want to raise money for you.’ ”
Jackson started planning a fundraiser for the next holiday, which happened to be Valentine’s Day. That gave her and her three-person planning committee just six weeks to book a venue, hire a caterer, plan a dance, and try to find sponsors. Despite the challenges, the inaugural event, hosted at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, managed to raise $3,000 for Detroit Dog Rescue.
This year, PetCalls has more planning time, a larger staff, a growing list of sponsors, and a more ambitious goal of $20,000. Everyone is invited to attend — with or without a four-legged friend. The night features a full dinner and open bar for people, as well as treat and water stations for canine companions. Dogs and their dates can dance to a DJ, see a pet psychic, or visit a doggy kissing booth. Human attendees are also free to roam the galleries at MOCAD.