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CMU Students Raise Money for Animal Shelter and Practice Event-Planning Skills at “Puppy Palooza”

The end of the school year at Central Michigan University coming up means students are stressing over finals and writing papers. But five students in CMU’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure took a brief “PAWse” to hang out with ‘Man’s Best Friend’ as their end-of-the-year project came to life.

“Puppy Palooza” is a puppy fashion show that also featured carnival games, cotton candy, popcorn, and dogs of all ages and sizes. The day was the result of a semester-long lesson in event-planning through CMU’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure.

“We start from scratch,” says Rosie Ashworth, CMU student and one of the event organizers. “We don’t have a budget or plans or anything at all. We’re just told to make an event. For most of the people in the class, this is the first event they’ll ever plan. But the class really walked us through step by step everything that we would need to do.”

That includes decoration, arranging the food vendors and games, and promoting the event. Madyson Sniecinski says she was in charge of risk management.

“I had to think of anything that could possibly go wrong and how to prevent it and if it did happen, how to handle it and what to do,” she explains.

The student organizers say the Puppy Palooza event was special for a lot of reasons. Proceeds from events will go to the “Almost Home Animal Rescue League,” a “never kill” animal shelter in Southfield, MI. Ashworth and her family volunteer at the shelter when she’s not at CMU so she knows the organization well.

“They always ensure that every single dog at the shelter is going to the perfect family for them,” Ashworth says. “They know the dogs. They have the descriptions of them online. They’re really, really good to their pets.”

Overall, the Puppy Palooza fashion show brought a lot of animal lovers to CMU’s campus.

Julie Pepper and her family were on hand to enjoy the event.

“Our kids just love animals,” Pepper says. “We decided to come out and have a good time with the family.”

CMU grad student Alexa Suchner brought her four-legged friend to compete in the fashion show.

“She’s a miniature dachshund--chocolate and tan--and her name is Godzilla,” Suchner says with a laugh. “She is 8 pounds of fury so I couldn’t imagine life without her.”

Attendee Kathleen Pigott says she’s just hoping her dog behaves.

“His name is Maestro,” she explains. “He’s a standard poodle. He looks like the horse around here. He’s so big!”

And while these dogs didn’t take home the prize of ‘Top Dog,’ the day was still a win: Puppy Palooza raised over a thousand dollars for “Almost Home Animal Rescue League.”

Organizer Madyson Sniecinski has some good advice if you’re looking to adopt a pet: make sure you know which dog will work for you and your family.

“Definitely do your research,” she says. “Know what kind of dog you want because dogs are very different, and you’ve just got to know how to take care of them.”

You can learn more about the Almost Home Animal Rescue League by visiting: