Local pet charity to host golf tournament with a focus on compassion and community

On August 28, Canine Care of Tampa Bay will host its 8th Annual Canine Care Tampa Bay Charity Golf Tournament at the Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor.

The tournament is expected to welcome 150-175 guests, including 15-20 Canine Care volunteers.

For Alicia Jones, IT program director at Tech Data and founder of Canine Care, this annual event is a chance to engage a community that loves pets.

Possessing a deep passion for helping animals, Jones previously was a volunteer at the SPCA in Tampa Bay. In 2012, she saw a gap in pet services in the area so she founded Canine Care with a mission of compassion and care.

“We make it possible for pets to get the care that they otherwise would not get. They’d be surrendered or potentially euthanized,” says Jones.

Most clients come from the senior community with no children or family support structure. Past clients have included homebound clients, on fixed incomes, and disabled military veterans. At times, these clients are faced with paying rent and putting food on the table or affording veterinary bills.

According to Jones, when some clients are approved for Canine Care, they are overwhelmed with “happy tears.”

For Smith, the opportunity to bring care, and compassion, to pet owners is rewarding.

“I’m not just helping pets, I’m helping people,”  Jones says. “For every pet I help, there are people who love those pets and in a lot of cases, those pets are their family.”

Since its inception, Canine Care has helped 942 pets, including cats and dogs. Many clients have recurring needs, therefore Jones estimates a total of 502 pets have been beneficiaries. Every pet that enjoys a healthier life, as a result, gets Canine Care closer to fulfilling its goal.

Canine Cares started as an idea and became a mission, says Smith. It showed that any person can have an impact, big or small, on the community. In 2015, Jones’ long-time employer, Tech Data, nominated her for the Fortune 500 Ranks Heroes list.

The list acknowledges individuals working in corporate America who exhibit, “extraordinary acts of bravery, kindness and selflessness that are changing people’s lives.” The same year, Jones was also recognized as a Bay News 9, “Everyday Hero.”

The recognition, for the work of Canine Cares, inspires Jones to expand charity efforts in the future. For her, clients have become like family and their stories are inspiring her to dream bigger. Volunteers find Canine Cares by word of mouth and the charity has plans to grow in other cities and states.

The 8th Annual Canine Cares Tampa Bay Golf Tournament is an invitation to support the largest fundraiser of the year for Canine Care Tampa Bay.

Another perk of attending? You’ll be greeted by an injured German Shepard. As a beneficiary of Canine Care, he has had a long road to recovery after being shot and left with only three legs. He serves as the ambassador of the event to show attendees how animals can, and do, help humans.

To get more information about Canine Care Tampa Bay and its upcoming golf tournament visit www.caninecaretampabay.org.


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