‘Belly Rub Recipes’ benefit shelter pets

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Posted October 1, 2021 | By Rosemarie Dowell
Special to the Gazette

A new fundraising cookbook offered by the Humane Society of Marion County (HSMC) has a lot of doggone delicious recipes and purr-fectly sweet stories from previous adopters about their beloved pet.

The 150-page book, “Belly Rub Recipes,” is the brainchild of Amanda Thurber, HSMC director of humane education, who took the idea of a fundraising cookbook and put a tailspin on it.

“It’s more than just a typical cookbook,” said Thurber, a native of Philadelphia who created and designed the book from start to finish using the graphic design platform Canva. Phillips Graphics of Ocala handled the printing. “I thought it would be cool if we could get previous adopters to submit recipes and write a story about their pet too.”

“Besides great recipes, there’s also a lot of heartwarming stories of love in it,” she said. “They will make you laugh, cry and give you overall joy knowing how much these rescued pets are loved by their families.”

Thurber, who’s been at HSMC for six years, started the project last November amid a slowdown in outreach programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it didn’t take long for her to find people willing to contribute to the book.

“It was amazing,” she said. “So many people were willing to participate; they wanted to share their story with others.”

Quite a few of the entries were from people the Humane Society hadn’t spoken to in a couple of years, but they had left an indelible mark on staff members, said Thurber.

Addie Clow was one of them. The retired teacher adopted her beloved mastiff, Oakley, from the shelter in 2012, when he was just a few months old and part of a litter. She says Oakley picked her.

“He walked over to me with his tail down in a submissive way and looked at me, and that was all it took,” said Clow. “Those eyes just melted my heart.”

Since taking him home, the Ocala resident says Oakley, who now weighs 100 pounds, has given her nothing but joy. You can read Clow and Oakley’s story, and see her recipe for guacamole, on page 93 of “Belly Rub Recipes.”

“He’s part of my family; I can’t imagine not having him,” said Clow. “I call him My Little Pony because he’s so big and tall.”

The book officially debuted Sept. 1, and features traditional and vegan recipes. Each entry features a picture of the contributor’s rescued pet along with their favorite recipe on the opposite page.

The Humane Society will celebrate the book’s release with a party from Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 at Kimberden Farm. The event will include a buffet featuring recipes found in the book. Animals will be available for adoption and the book will be on sale.

Katrina Roberts, the author of the children’s book “How We Met our Mommy,” who’s also a sensation on Dodo, a YouTube channel for animal lovers, will be a special guest at the event, said Thurber.

“She adopted her two dogs, Kairo and Willow, from us and the book is about them,” said Thurber.

Monies raised from the sale of the cookbook will go towards humane education programs and activities through its mobile education unit, The Magic Bark Bus, said Thurber.

“Like so many other nonprofits, we had a significant drop in donations over the past year due to the pandemic,” she said. “Sales of the cookbook will help us fund our programs.”

The organization also has two other upcoming fundraisers. Its 3rd Annual Trunk or Treat will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion and will feature games, costume contests, and more.

“The decorated trunks are always amazing and the kids always have so much fun,” said Thurber.

Also, a dinner and magic/comedy show, featuring the 2018 Florida Magician of the Year, Todd Bogue, will take place Nov. 13 at the Ocala Moose Lodge.

Meanwhile, Thurber said she hopes the book adequately conveys the vital role the Humane Society plays in matching up animals with their fur-ever homes each year.

“There’s a lot of love behind what we do,” she said.

For more information about the Humane Society of Marion County, visit thehsmc.org.

If you go:

The book release party will be Noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 at Kimberden Farm, 5400 NW 110th Ave. and will include a buffet featuring recipes from the book. Animals will be available for adoption and the book will be on sale.

The Trunk or Treat event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 2232 NE Jacksonville Road. The cost is $5 per person; kids 12 and under are free.

The dinner and magic/comedy show will be 5 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Ocala Moose Lodge, 10035 U.S. Highway 441, Belleview. Tickets for the event are $20 each and will include a chicken dinner. A kid’s meal will also be available.

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