We have a lot of really fun stuff planned, but the fun continues even after you leave, if the kiddos come along and participate in all of the great stuff!
1. If you come by between 11 am and 2 pm, they get to take away an appreciation for the less-common animals that are going to be there! Quistorff's Little Bita Everything Ranch has some really cool creatures joining us, and you can learn about all of them in the petting zoo area!
2. If they're one of the first 1,000 kids to come by, we have goodie bags for them! They can use the bags to collect more goodies and prizes as they walk around and talk with vendors and play some of the games that we have! Don't forget - there's no entry fee for the event, and the games and bounce houses are free to play in! (We have grab bags for the first 500 grown-ups too!)
3. The first 1,000 kids to stop by and chat with the volunteers with the American flag get to keep one! Parents get to sign the piece of art we have, and leave a lasting mark supporting our Veterans at the Nest! The flags were donated by Bob Walsh Enterprises in Osakis, MN. Thanks guys!!
4. If you bring a few dollars, they'll leave with a full tummy! The Nest is selling lunch and ice cream as their main fundraising activity for this event. You can show them the love by joining them for lunch right next to where all of the great stuff is happening!
5. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children sent us their Child ID Kits - take one home, complete it, and keep it in a safe place in case of emergency. While you're there, check out the Central Lakes Search and Rescue team's 2:00 safety class so your kids (and you) know what to do if you get lost! They have a 12:00 demonstration happening also!
6. We have a couple coloring crafts that your kiddos can take home also, including a drawing by one of the Nest's own Veterans and volunteers! We also have some really cool paper plate animals ready to draw on, customize, and take home!
Come for all of the fun things to see and do, and leave with a little piece of the magic!
The 1st Annual Nest Pet Expo is just 9 days away. NINE!! We're excited, if you can't tell!
To celebrate how close it is, here are 9 of the many things you're not going to want to miss!
1. Veteran-owned organizations and organizations dedicated to Veterans are joining us, along with many Veterans and their families! So you'll be in good company!
Some of them are:
2. We're basically having a pet adoption extravaganza! Some really great rescue organizations are joining us, with some of their adoptable animals. It will be a great place to meet a bunch of animals if you're thinking about adopting!
3. We have cool stuff for your pets! Handmade goods, treats and great places to shop in our local area, along with some really talented groomers and trainers!
4. We have some cool things for you and your family to see and learn about!
5. We have gifts - spoil yourself or do some shopping for upcoming birthdays! The first 500 adults get a grab bag with some cool stuff inside!
6. You could also win some prizes! We have a raffle table with donated items from some of our vendors! They include:
7. We have activities for the kids! AND the first 1,000 kids get a grab bag at the entrance with some cool stuff inside!
8. We've got your lunch too! The Nest is serving up a great lunch for a small price, and ICE CREAM! $1 gets you a cone AND helps the Nest with their mission of helping Veterans! Come hungry!
9. You can bring your pets! Not many local events welcome animals like we do - if you can leash or cage your pet, they're friendly, and they want to come along, they're welcome! Bring them to enjoy the day with you! We won't allow retractable leashes and unfriendly pets will be asked to leave.
We already posted about why we're putting on this Pet Expo (HERE). We're passionate about this event for all of those reasons, plus one more. It's a big one, and it's hard to talk about.
The painful reason behind the passion that has pulled people together from all walks of life, from all over the state, to a common goal is this: Veterans commit suicide at an alarming rate. The Department of Veteran's Affair's last estimate was 22 per day.
The highest instance of suicides are within the first 3 years after the Veteran leaves military service - for reasons that are pretty easy to understand. In the military, we have structure, a purpose, comrades, we're accountable. Then suddenly, after 4 years or 20 years, we're on our own. Even without the trauma many have seen and experienced, or the injuries many have sustained, the shift to civilian life trips up the best of us.
The Eagle's Healing Nest works to help Veterans through this transition period. They work with Veterans, their families and their loved ones, with one goal - to help the Veteran with transition back to life outside the military. The Nest is an answer. The programs they offer are an answer. The help they provide is tangible, and they do save lives.
Events at the Nest aren't about the event. They're about raising awareness for the Nest, reaching more Veterans, and putting the resources in the hands of the Veterans that need them. They're about raising funds for the campus, which will create more space, which will save more lives. They're about showing the Veterans at the Nest that they are part of our community now, and our community is grateful for their service.
This very passionate "why" is why we're so grateful for everyone that has already made plans to attend the First Annual Nest Pet Expo, and why we're hoping you'll join us as well!
Owner, Off Leash K9 Training, Central MN
Operation Iraqi Freedom Army Veteran
1. When rescues (like the awesome ones we have coming) attend events, their adoptable animals can't stay all day. If it's warm, or if they are greeting a lot of people, the animals get tired. They need breaks like we do! So...if you come in the morning there may be different animals there to meet in the afternoon!
2. We have really cool demonstrations and speakers scheduled throughout the day!
11:00 Police K9 Demonstration by Sauk Centre Police Department
11:30 Lisa Riley Speaking on Behalf of MOVES-Minnesota Outreach for Veterans with Epilepsy and Seizures
12:00 Central Lakes Search and Rescue Demonstration
1:00 Off Leash K9 Training, Central MN Hide and Seek Demonstration
1:30 Bonnie Gallagher Speaking on Behalf of K9s From Carrie
2:00 Central Lakes Search and Rescue Kid's Safety Class
3. We have Quistorff's Little Bita Everything Ranch Petting Zoo coming with all kinds of animals from 11:00 until 2:00! They're bringing animals I've never even heard of, and can't pronounce, so it's sure to be a fun part of the event! Visit their area when you arrive, and then check back again before you leave to learn about the animals and the fun things they do!
4. When you're done visiting all of the crafters, vendors and informational booths, you'll still have TONS of things to see and do! Click HERE to see just 17 of them!
5. The folks at the Nest will be giving tours of the grounds (they're gorgeous!) throughout the day. You can learn about the history of the campus, how they've created the healing environment they have now, and how you can get involved if you like! They'll also be giving tours of the Dog House, the Nest's newest building, which will be home to their Veterans with or working with service dogs! The folks at the Nest will also be serving food (for a fee) and $1 ice cream cones! So you can have lunch, walk around and enjoy all of sights and sounds, take a tour, then go back for ice cream when you're ready!
The Nest Pet Expo is a family and pet friendly activity day celebrating animals and everything they do for us! We have a special focus on kids and making sure this is a fun day for them. Check out 17 of the fun things they can do while they're here:
1. COLORING! Jack, a fellow Veteran, teaches an art class each Monday for the Veterans at the Nest. He was kind enough to design and hand-draw this coloring page for the Pet Expo! Kids can color them during the event and take them home OR leave them with us - we'll put them in a book and give them to Jack to show him some love! We'll also have some paper plate animals for the kiddos to color and take home!
2. ANIMALS! You won't find a cooler collection of animals this close to home! We're talking a bearded dragon, marmoset monkeys, kinkajous, coatimundi, chinchillas, ferrets, hedgehogs, a lizard, a HUGE snake, a tortoise, parrots, an otter, an African porcupine and more! Awesome, right?!
3. MORE ANIMALS! We can't forget the working K9s, Search and Rescue dogs, adoptable cats and dogs, hunting dogs and puppies!
4. BOUNCE HOUSES! Doggie Stylz Grooming and the Sauk Centre Rotary have sponsored two really fun bounce houses! Kruzin' for the Kidz is going to help with them - that's right - BIKERS. How cool!! Speaking of Kruizin' for the Kidz...
5. FACE PAINTING, CRAZY HAIR and TATTOOS?! Yep! Kruizin' for the Kidz is going to give kids of all ages a little style - don't miss this booth!
6. POLICE K9 DEMONSTRATION! There's nothing cooler than seeing a team that protects our community in action - talk about inspiring! Join us at 11:00 to see what the Sauk Centre K9 Unit does for the community!
7. MARSHMALLOW GUNS! Trisko Heating & Plumbing is helping kids make marshmallow guns to take home! Get to this booth early, before supplies run out! But don't worry - they'll still have fun stuff going on, even if they do!
8. ICE CREAM! Your $1 ice cream cone purchase will directly help fund the Nest! Scrounge up some change from the car or the sofa and enjoy a refreshing treat yourself - you deserve it! The Nest will have lunch available for purchase too!
9. DANCING! DJ4U has very graciously donated his talents for the day! He'll have family-friendly jams rocking all day!
10. SEARCH AND RESCUE SAFETY CLASS! Safety can be fun! Especially when there are dogs involved! Central Lakes Search and Rescue will be doing a demonstration at 12:00 AND a safety class at 2:00! They'll show kids what to do if they get lost outside so search teams can find them faster!
11. CANDY! The first 1,000 kiddos get a grab bag at the entrance with some candy, that they get to use to collect more candy, prizes, treats, etc. as they enjoy the day and visit each booth/vendor! We have Coburns in Sauk Centre, Taste of Heaven, and Dog Guard Fence to thank for the sugar highs starting at the entrance! Thanks guys!!
12. GAMES! The expansive yard at the Nest is the PERFECT place for yard games, so that's just what we'll be doing! Giant Jenga and Kerplunk, a ball pit, a rubber duckie matching game, cornhole, ball toss, animal beach balls, and lots more. Too. Much. Fun.
13. BALLOONS! A few great community organizations/businesses donated and allowed us to purchase balloons and the Long Prairie VFW has donated helium, to allow us to give the kids balloons to bop around the event with! Yay!
14. GIFTS! We have crafters and vendors selling all kinds of gifts - even some made by kids! Girl Scout Troop 171 has made paracord dog collars and will be selling them at the event! How cool! Handmade goods, and for great causes!
15. THEY CAN BRING THEIR PETS! Whatever your kids have - if they can be leashed or caged, and they're friendly toward people and other animals - can come along for the event! We love animals!
16. ACTIVITIES! Many of the booths will offer games and activities for the kiddos as they walk around - we don't even know what all of them are yet! We'll be as surprised and delighted as you!
Lastly, the most important one...
17. LET VETERANS SEE WHAT THEY FOUGHT FOR! Some Veterans have anxiety about large crowds, some will get overwhelmed by the day, and you may not get to meet all of them. BUT Veterans (myself included) went to war and fought for our families, friends and communities to be FREE to celebrate events like this! If you don't join us for any other reason, join us to thank the Veterans at the Nest for securing your kids' futures. Don't forget to leave your mark on the huge sign we'll have there showing your support for our Veterans!
It may have crossed your mind...what is this Pet Expo all about (besides just being cool)? I'm glad you asked!
This all started as a way to raise money for the Eagle's Healing Nest's new Dog House.
If you don't know, the Eagle's Healing Nest is a non-profit campus where Veterans can visit or stay to heal from invisible wounds of war. They believe that by embracing our veterans, service members and their families, we can help them reintegrate back into the civilian world and their families. The Pet Expo will be on the grounds of the Nest, and you can take a tour during the event!
The Dog House is a building they're renovating on campus (you can tour it at the Pet Expo!) that will become the home of the Nest's service-dogs-in-training and their handlers. The building is bare bones, and needs everything from flooring to curtains, to walls in some parts, and everything in between. When it's complete, 12 Veterans and the service dogs they're training for themselves or for other Veterans in need will reside there.
The Nest has been working with Off Leash K9 Training, Central MN's owner, Cassie, for nearly a year on obedience training for the dogs on campus. They've also been working with Patriot Assistance Dogs to build on the obedience foundation and advance into service dog training.
Service dogs from Patriot Assistance Dog can help Veterans by:
All of this is at NO COST to the Veterans.
So you can see why this is such an important program! And it isn't just dogs that help the Veterans at the Nest. You'll see the variety of animals - calves, chickens, sheep, horses, and even a few cats that live there, helping with the healing process.
This base idea has since morphed into the event we're advertising today - 35+ vendors and activity booths, demonstrations, games and animals rolled into a great day of family fun! Join us! June 4th, 10 am to 4 pm.
Want some exposure for your business in exchange for donating? We can do that too! We are giving out grab bags to the first 500 adults (and candy to the first 1000 kids) - we can include your business card or brochure if you like!
A few other items we could use, if you have them:
Crayons or Markers
Animal-Related Coloring Books
5-Gallon Buckets (for Pet Water Stations)
Pet Poop Bags (for Pet Clean Up Stations)
Have questions about donating? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
We have a few great Veteran's organizations coming out to show the love at the upcoming Pet Expo as well! There's nothing like the Veteran "family" joining arms to make this a fun and rewarding day for families, kids, Veterans and the Nest!
Want to see what these organizations are all about? Come meet them! We'll be at the Eagle's Healing Nest in Sauk Centre on June 4th from 10 am to 4 pm!
Well, not quite an extravaganza, but close! We're very excited to welcome 4 local rescue organizations to the Pet Expo on 4th at the Eagle's Healing Nest!