Barkitecture aids animals with style, doghouse auction

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Tami Michalik, Veronique Michalik and Kelly McBride, members of the Animal Lovers of Austin board of directors, prepare for Barkitecture on Saturday. The event will raise money for rescue groups and other animal organizations.

Photo Credit: Taylor Barron | Daily Texan Staff

Months of preparation by the members of nonprofit Animal Lovers of Austin will culminate Saturday in a two-block-wide event, Barkitecture, which will raise money for and awareness of rescue groups and specialty animal organizations. Barkitecture will take place on Second Street from the corners of San Antonio Street to Lavaca Street from noon to 4 p.m.

There will be 25 custom-made doghouses that will be put up for auction as well as a puppy playground, a “Fashound” show, an entire silent auction made up of local offerings and other activities.

While 2 might seem like a display of Austin’s pet-loving quirkiness to the extreme, it is all put on for the noblest of reasons. Veronique Michalik, the director of Animal Lovers of Austin and owner of Lofty Dog stores, said that this event is helping all of Austin’s shelters become no-kill homes.

“Local rescues play a pivotal role in obtaining and maintaining no-kill status. The groups that Barkitecture will benefit work tirelessly to care and foster pets tt may not have a good chance of being adopted in a traditional shelter,” Veronique Michalik said. “This helps greatly to reduce the population in shelters and helps take the dogs out of the danger of being killed for space-related reasons.”

Over the last six years, Barkitecture raised funds for critical vet care expenses, spread awareness to local rescue groups and shelters and brought together architecture and philanthropy. In 2011 a total of $20,000 in grant assistance was given to seven animal welfare groups, including Meals on Wheel and More, an assistance program that provides free spay/neuter services along with preventative care.

Kelly McBride, a member of Animal Lovers of Austin’s board of directors, said funding spay and neuter programs integral to maintaining a low stray and shelter population in Austin.

“Having animals [spayed and neutered] plays a huge role in Austin maintaining animal welfare. The funds we raise and grant to many of these organizations are largely used to cover medical expense, and the largest cost for the group is the cost of spay/neuter surgery,” McBride said. “Many of the animals that these organizations work with have other medical conditions that can be quite costly to cover, and our funds give them a little bit of breathing room by lessening their financial burden and allowing them to continue to take in other animals in need.”

Tami Michalik, Lofty Dog store manager and board of directors member, said Saturday’s event will be about fun and pup love.

“This event helps a lot of organizations and brings awareness to some serious animal issues, but we want everyone to come out and have a blast,” Tami Michalik said.

Printed on Friday, November 9, 2012 as: Barkitecture raises bucks for pups