An inaugural kickoff fundraising event for Pets for Vets Cleveland Chapter drew a crowd of more than 150 people to the Tanglewood Club in Bainbridge.

Guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, followed by a dinner presented by Normandy Catering. There was an expansive Silent Auction, featuring sports memorabilia, works of local artists and vacation packages, as well as 50/50 Raffle Boards throughout the evening.

Top sponsors were Merrill Lynch and Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism, among other generous donors. The kickoff and fundraiser was chaired by Joan Tiefel, chapter director and president. .

Pets for Vets, which recently became a non-profit 501 (c)(3) chapter, works to change the lives of veterans and rescued pets. The organization makes positive change by linking deserving shelter dogs with veterans in need. Brave troops who return home with physical or emotional needs are paired with the perfect pet to help in the transition back into civilian life.

Open to any U.S. veteran who lives in one of the organization’s chapter areas, Pets for Vets presents a unique process that ensures the veteran and his or her pet fit seamlessly together. Pets for Vets searches shelters for a perfect match based on personality and temperament and the animal is trained specifically for the veteran. They are brought together on “Match Day.”

Funds raised at the inaugural event benefit the ongoing mission of the organization. Pets for Vets also looks for people interested in fostering their dogs for six- to eight-week periods of time. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY SUE REID

Kris and Kim Aigner with Donna Bernsdorg

Kristy Hull and Janice Stevenson

Sally Terrell, Cheryl Ogden, Joanie Belair and Barb Wynveen

Joan Tiefel and Lynn Meldon