• Homer Animal Shelter to benefit from showings of “Puffin Bay” and “The Roosevelt Tree”
By Naomi Klouda
The Homer Animal Shelter got a call about a cat who reportedly had its leg caught in a hold trap in the dead of winter.
“This poor guy had been out there on his own, dragging this two and half-pound leg trap around, living off rabbits,” said shelter volunteer Brian Smith. “We were able to catch him and get him to the vet; where, of course, it required surgery, medicines, followups. Long story short, Jack was one of the nicest cats you could ever hope to meet.”
Jack, as they named him, got his foot crushed and lost a couple of toes.
When an injured animal comes to the shelter there’s no question that it will receive medical help. But, there’s no separate fund to dip into for vet bills.
Homer Animal Friends helps out as it can and the Homer Veterinary Clinic donates some services. But, there are times when passing the hat is the only way to find funds to help Director Sherry Bess pay for medical emergencies.
That’s going to change, they hope, with a fresh fundraising effort meant to raise awareness and money. Smith, a filmmaker and director of “Puffin Bay” and the “Roosevelt Tree,” will show both movies at 7 p.m. March 28 at the Homer Theatre. The request for an $8 donation per person will go directly into a Homer Animal Shelter Medical Fund to draw from in emergency situations.
As for Jack, he recovered the full use of his leg and lived several more months at the animal shelter, but later tested positive for feline leukemia. Cats get it from being in cat fights – another reason to keep little feline friends indoors, Smith said.
Animals wounded or sick show up at the shelter all the time. Bess explains that they evaluate the cat or dog first, and if it’s minor, they handle it.
“We try and locate an owner. If an owner can’t be found and if it’s something more serious, then we take the animal to the vet,” she said. “The vet has their own intake and evaluation process and Homer Animal Friends chips in a fixed amount, usually. But oftentimes, it can be quite a bit more than that.”
To bring attention to the problem, Smith offered a film showing. The films by Smith, as well as his other works, have gained broad state and national attention over the past year. Smith started filmmaking 30 years ago after studying film in San Francisco, and spent a decade working in Hollywood. His work on film crews throughout the years honed his skills for both creative and commercial productions.
Puffin Bay made its debut on television’s channel 360 North and the Public Broadcasting Service has expressed interest in his production for Jean Aspen and Tom Irons, “Arctic Son,” which also aired recently at the Homer Theatre.
Smith’s commercial credits include seminars for South Peninsula Hospital, commercials for Providence Hospital, work for Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge, Homer Chamber of Commerce, the Pratt Museum, SPROUT, Rotary and political spots.
“Puffin Bay” is billed as a metaphysical-romance-drama, starring Lance Petersen, Dick Sanders, Jen Castellani and Delilah Harris. Smith accomplished the entirely Homer-set, full-length film containing beautiful cinematography and a memorable soundtrack with a handful of characters and a $12,000 budget. Smith is the writer, director, cameraman and editor. The cast of six is responsible for their own makeup and wardrobe. Filming locations were written around what was free and always accessible. Smith’s own home and boat were transformed into major settings, and Two Sisters Bakery has opened its doors carte blanche to the team.
It will show as a double-feature, along with an earlier Smith film,” The Roosevelt Tree.” The film stars Cyrano’s founder Jerry Harper, a long-time mentor in Alaska theater and historic Alaska figure who died a few years ago.
In the case of the films showing at Homer Theatre March 28, Smith said he doesn’t want the focus on himself so much as he wants the community to think about the plight of shelter animals. He volunteers at the shelter and has for several years.
“It’s time to create an ancillary fund – $1,000 would be a great start. We need an account we can dip into when we see these emergency cases,” Smith said. “We don’t turn any of these animals away.”
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