Local firefighters and furry friends are featured on a 2019 calendar that will benefit PetFix, an organization that was founded in Bainbridge to provide low-cost spay and neuter services for pets. The Chagrin Falls Fire Department Firefighters in the calendar include Jim Alunni, Jake Fried and Mike Hageman.
Photos for the 12 months were taken by Pultizer Prize winner Amy Sancetta of Moreland Hills, an Orange High School graduate.
PetFix, a nonprofit organization, offers its services to help end pet homelessness and unnecessary euthanasia, said founder Timy Sullivan, a Bainbridge resident who was the former director of Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village in Russell Township.
Mrs. Sullivan founded PetFix with Megan Volpe, a veterinarian at Rescue Village.
“We started with a mobile van,” Mrs. Sullivan said. The goal was to offer low-cost, high-quality services.
“Spaying and neutering is the most important part of keeping animals out of shelters,” Mrs. Sullivan said. “It is a big part of ending euthanasia of healthy and adoptable cats and dogs in shelters.
“We did 30,000 surgeries on the mobile clinic and realized we could do more with a clinic,” said Mrs. Sullivan who headed PetFix for nine years. That led to a clinic now in Euclid where there have been more than 67,000 surgeries, preventing thousands of animal births. It serves several counties.
Mr. Alunni said firefighters were glad to volunteer to help support the cause. “We heard they were looking for firefighters for the calendar.” He put out a text and several firefighters volunteered, he said. The calendar features firefighters from Chagrin, Orange, Euclid, Parma and Newburgh Heights.
Posing with the first responders were adoptable cats and dogs during the June photo shoot.
Mr. Alunni and Euclid firefighter Jay Womak are sitting on the bumper of a fire truck with a dog for the month of March while Mr. Fried is on the cover with a dog and Mr. Hageman is with a handicapped pit bull.
“Hopefully this project will raise funds to help (PetFix) them continue their good work,” said Ms. Sancetta, an AP photojournalist who took photos at the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center Twin Towers.
“We had a great time making the calendar,” Ms. Sancetta said, adding that the firefighters were happy to be a part of the project. Firefighters were “playing with the puppies and delighting in the kittens, and they are the same brave men who would run straight into your house to save a pet or family member if the place was on fire.”
She noted that they had lots of help in the photo shoot from Carol Peter of Cold Nose Companions in Chardon who arranged for all the animals that participated. Denise Reynolds and Jenny Campbell acted as “small pet wranglers and photo assistants,” Ms. Sancetta said.
Christie Lucco, director of PetFix, said the board members noted that other cities have done a similar calendar for raising funds. “Amy has been a longtime supporter of PetFix and she agreed to do it,” she said of Ms. Sancetta. “This is a first for us and what’s better than firefighters with dogs and kittens?
“I reached out to different fire departments,” she said adding that the photos were taken at the Euclid Fire Department.
“All the proceeds from the calendar sales will go to our low-cost spay and neuter clinic to prevent pet homelessness and euthanasia,” she said.
Through fundraisers and grants, PetFix is able to offer reasonable fees for services, she said. Surgery fees range from $45 to $105.
Anyone can make an appointment for a pet and those who are on government assistance are given reduced prices, Ms. Lucco said.
“We work with animals in shelters and we have a transport van program,” she said. PetFix has worked with Rescue Village in a program in which animals were picked up from Middlefield and taken to Rescue Village for medical procedures and then returned home.
PetFix has two licensed veterinarians, two veterinarian technicians and a medical assistance staff. It does not receive any government funding. The clinic relies on donors to help keep its services affordable and to continue its lifesaving efforts.
The calendars are $20 each, plus $3.75 shipping if purchased online. The website is http://www.petfixnortheastOhio.org/ and the calendars are available at the clinic, 885 E. 222nd St. in Euclid. It is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.