A Real Shaggy Dog Story With a regal name like Winston Niles Rumfood, it’s a given that he would also have an equally regal bearing. And yet, Winston puts on no airs. All four feet are planted firmly on the ground as he helps the Lake St. Louis Lions in Missouri raise funds wearing his yellow-and-blue “vest” and lion headpiece. Winston’s owner, John Ratcliff, says that people are so taken with his 2-year-old dog that when he’s around, his presence has sometimes raised four times as much money when Lions collect for Candy Day. Winston is a golden Pyrenees, which is a cross between a golden retriever and a Great Pyrenees. Ratcliff acquired him as a rescue pet when he was only 6 weeks old. Well-mannered but with no special training, Winston promotes the club while wearing a lion mane Ratcliff made from a giant stuffed animal. His wife, Terry, a past club president, created the apron vest. “I am generally uncomfortable with fundraising events that involve just holding out a cup and asking people to donate,” Ratcliff says. “People have busy lives, and nowadays many people don’t even carry that much cash on them. When you stand outside a store, cup in hand, many people avoid eye contact and move quickly past. But with Winston by my side, the tables are turned. “Nearly every single person entering or leaving the store stops to pet him. It brings a smile to everyone’s face as he calmly wears his lion’s costume and soaks up the attention from adults and children alike. Many people stop to take his picture and most of those people also make a donation as well. It engages the public. It makes it more fun for them. It makes it more fun for me because I’m basically providing entertainment. Everybody falls in love with him; he’s just a sweet dog.” Digital LION A costumed dog is one way to draw attention. Learn more tips on public relations strategies (April 2011 LION) at www.lionmagazine.org. Ducks Deliver as Fundraiser When it comes to fundraising, Lionesses in Cannington, Ontario, Canada, have all their ducks in a row. That is, until the little rubber ducks begin their river water scramble downstream. Cheering, screaming crowds watch the action and wait for a winner. The excitement comes from buying a ticket and hoping a duck’s number is lucky. The 25-year-old race benefits approximately nine or 10 local youth groups, says Debbie Robinson. The Lioness club does have help from volunteers and Lions. “Cannington Lions help us out each year by setting up the finish line, judging for the first-, second- and third-place finishers and collecting the ducks from the shallow river so we can clean and put them away,” Robinson explains. Some Lionesses and their daughters also jump right in—literally. “They walk down the river behind the ducks to encourage them along and catch any strays. This can be a fun but dangerous job as there are many deep holes in the river, and it’s not always that warm,” Robinson says. Trailing the rubber duckies may be hazardous, but it apparently has some perks, too. She adds: “They always seem to be laughing by the time they get to the end of the race.”
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