Thursday, April 22, 2010

Party to go to the dogs at Lily’s Jewelers

Dan Schuyler and Karen Bell, co-owners of Lily & Co. Jewelers get ready to party with their dogs Lily, a Labradoodle, and Gracie and Angel, yellow labs. Schuyler and Bell are throwing a community birthday bash in honor of Lily who will be turning six. The birthday party is also a fundraiser for The Animal Refuge Center in North Fort Myers.
What: Lily & Co. Jewelers annual dog birthday bash
When: Saturday, April 24 from noon to 4 p.m.
Where: Lily's Jewelers on 520 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel - across from Bailey's Shopping Center.
Here on the islands living a dog's life is a good thing.

Many businesses allow pets to be carried in by their human caretakers. Dogs are allowed to frolic on the beaches provided they are tethered to leashes. And the nearly 30 miles of sidewalks and trails helps ensure that four-legged friends get a chance to have a traffic-free walk.

But nothing seems to say good canine living quite like Lily & Co. Jewelers' annual community birthday bash for their mascots, Lily, Gracie and Angel.

The annual birthday celebration (this is the third) - which honors the dogs of co-owners Dan Schuyler and Karen Bell - has become a not-to-be-missed community event for dog lovers.

Last year, more than 125 dogs showed up with their owners in tow to nosh on pupcakes and socialize.

"This is an annual event that people wait all year long for," Schuyler said.

In fact because of the event's growing popularity, Schuyler and Bell decided to move up the event from early May in order that more snowbirds can attend before they leave to go back north.

The event will be held on Saturday, April 24, from noon to 4 p.m.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes are invited to mingle with their fellow canines and human pals and celebrate the birthdays of Lily - owned by Bell and Gracie and Angel - owned by Schuyler.

During the event, pooches will enjoy spring water and gourmet dog biscuits from Island Paws. Additional refreshments will be provided for their two-legged friends by Bailey's General Store, Schuyler said.

Schuyler and Bell urge pet owners to dress their dogs in outfits for the costume contest portion of the event. Last year a pet owner created a hand-made corvette that his dog fit into. He won first place.

"You had to be here to see it," Schuyler said.

Additionally, there will be a fundraiser in the form of a raffle to benefit the Animal Refuge Center in North Fort Myers - items such as a basket of goodies from Island Paws valued at $500, and a piece of diamond doggie jewelry valued at $800, according to a press report. All proceeds will be donated to ARC, a non-profit organization in North Fort Myers dedicated to caring for unwanted and neglected dogs and cats. Tickets are available in advance at Island Paws and Lily & Co. for $1 each or six for $5; one need not be present to win.

Last year Lily's raised $4,500 after Schuyler raffled his own vehicle. This year they hope to raise more. The money helps ARC in its mission to save animals.

"As Southwest Florida's largest no-kill shelter, ARC is grateful for the opportunity to highlight our programs and mission with people who might not be aware of the vital service we provide to animals in our community." said Betty Hughes, a member of ARC. "Lily & Co, Bailey's General Store, and Island Paws really know how to host a party so we encourage everyone to mark their calendars and stop by! The funds raised at this annual event are a vital source of support for five hundred orphaned pets that call ARC home."

Food, costumed canines and lots of laughs make this event a crowd favorite.

"It's a fun day," said Marcia Kimball. "The dogs get out to see each other."

Last year Kimball and her pooch Doodle took second place with Doodle's tutu costume. Kimball's fretting a bit this year though. What can she create to outdo last year's get up? "There's alot of pressure to get the costume right," Kimball said chuckling.

Robbie Roepstorff said she enjoyed bringing her retired greyhound and two miniature poodles last year. "It's one you don't want to miss," she said. "It's really unique."

There is no charge to attend the event.

"It's just a fun-filled day for the owners and their pets," Schuyler said.

Dogs are encouraged to wear costumes, with prizes awarded for the crowd favorites. Caricatures will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis for a donation to ARC.

For more information about Lily & Co. or the celebration, call 472-2888 or visit

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