The Andover Townsman
---- — The abandoned, undernourished mixed-breed pup who became the inspiration for the annual “Hair of the Dog” fundraiser to benefit the MSPCA of Nevins Farm will be honored when the wine and art show once again fills Essex Art Center in Lawrence on Friday night, May 2.
Michael and Sheri Helman, the owners of Shawsheen Village Liquors in Andover, launched “Hair of the Dog” in 2005 after adopting Jake, who they discovered sitting in an outdoor cage at Nevins Farm. They had taken Michael Helman’s daughters there to help them overcome their fears of dogs when they immediately bonded with the young pup.
In an effort to repay the MSPCA, the Helmans staged “Hair of the Dog.” What began as a wine tasting in 2005 has become a popular annual event featuring an exhibit of works by local artists and artisans, including jewelry makers, potters, sculptors, textile artists and more, who donate 10 percent of their sales from the evening to the MSPCA.
Like the event, the MSPCA at Nevins Farm has grown over the years, the Helmans say. When the couple adopted Jake in 1998, they say the place was “just a broken-down, old house.” Today it cares for nearly 7,000 animals each year — all without government funding. That’s why fundraisers such as “Hair of the Dog” are so important, Sheri Helman says.
Jake, who was considered the official mascot for “Hair of the Dog,” passed away last year at age 15 1/2. The Helmans say he is missed by his many fans, including those who would visit him at Shawsheen Village Liquors. But they say he will never be forgotten thanks to all the money raised for the MSPCA at Nevins Farm.
This year’s event goes from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday. More than 50 wines will be offered for tasting as well as beer, courtesy of the Clown Shoes Beer. Whole Foods Market will supply the food.
Proceeds will in part support the Angels for Animals Fund, which pays for medical care of animals in need before they are adopted. Almost every animal that is surrendered to the MSPCA at Nevins Farm is in need of some type of medical care, the couple says.
Photos taken by Kaylee Greer of Dog Breath Photography of animals who have received care through the Angels for Animals Fund will be displayed at Friday night’s fundraiser. The Boston-based artist volunteers her time to take photos of the adoptable animals at Nevins.
Tickets for “Hair of the Dog” are $35 in advance, $45 at the door. They are available at Shawsheen Village Liquors, 4 Poor St., Andover, 978-475-3636; at MSPCA, Nevins Farm, 400 Broadway (Route 28), Methuen, 978-687-7453, or online at www.mspca.org/hairofthedog.
All ticket, raffle and bar proceeds go directly to the MSPCA at Nevins Farm. Ten percent of all wine and art sales will also be donated to the shelter. For more about the MSPCA at Nevins Farm’s events, programs and animals awaiting adoption, visit www.mspca.org/nevins or contact Julia Pesek at 978-687-7453, ext. 6161, or email@example.com.