TJO animal care fundraiser benefit

September 28, 2022 | Misha Lee

LUDLOW – The Foundation Party for TJO Animals’ Ride Like an Animal Challenge is taking place at the Ludlow Elks at 69 Chapin St. on October 1 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Guests can enjoy live music from the band Last Minute, raffles, great food, games and more. Event sponsors include Kitchen & Bath Design Center, Florence Bank, Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation, Teddy Bear Pools & Spas, Keller Williams and Paw Street Barkery.

Proceeds will go directly to the medical care and treatment of animals in need at the Thomas J. O’Connor (TJO) Animal Control and Adoption Center.

“We want to raise community awareness of the TJO Foundation,” said Jill Carra, communications and marketing manager. “What we do and what we provide to all those animals in need at TJO. We want people to come out, celebrate and support our TJO animals.

Founded in 2007, The Foundation for TJO Animals is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for local homeless animals at the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center. With a focus on financial assistance and grants for veterinary care, the Foundation has a direct impact on saving the lives of animals in the shelter.

The Ride Like an Animal event itself has been one of the foundation’s flagship events for over 10 years. It’s usually a one-day event, a motorcycle ride through western Massachusetts during the day, and then they all get together for a big party at the end.

Due to COVID-19, Carra said Reminder publication they haven’t had it for a few years but wanted to start doing something again because they have so many people loving this event. The foundation decided to do a different twist on the event and came up with the Ride like an Animal Challenge, a western Massachusetts scavenger hunt that ran from early summer through Labor Day. They chose 13 locations in the Western Masschusetts area for participants to visit.

This year’s event was not just for motorcycle enthusiasts, anyone could participate, with any mode of transportation. Some of the spots included: the Basketball Hall of Fame, Randall’s Farm, The Good Dog Spot in Chicopee, the River Valley Coop, TJO, and a Super Challenge at Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, VT. Participants were required to stop at these locations, take a selfie and submit it to the foundation to show that they had completed that particular stop. Once the scavenger hunt is complete, they will host a party to celebrate the completion of the challenge throughout the summer. To date, the foundation has nearly 90 registered people who have done the treasure hunt.

“We didn’t know what to expect because it was a new way of doing the event,” Carra replied. “We wanted to do something for our supporters who love this event, and it was a great way to open up the event to new supporters as well. Even though it was different from what we normally do, we wanted to organize the event, and we’re so thrilled with the responses we’ve received.

Advance tickets are $15 online. Tickets at the door on the day of the event are $20. Register online at For more information, visit, email [email protected], or call 306-5161.

Benjamin M. Yerger