Little Ben Raises Over $10,000 for ALDF

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director on September 30, 2009

When I first met Ben, he was terrified, cowering and flinching at everything that moved or made a sound around him. His coat, which should have been white, was stained yellow by constant contact with urine from his own, and other dogs’ urine. Ben was a survivor from a horrendous North Carolina puppymill run by Barbara and Robert Woodley. ALDF sued the Woodleys and won freedom for the more than 325 dogs living in the worst conditions imaginable. I met Ben while tagging the dogs coming from the Woodley property to our temporary shelter.

When I saw Ben again on September 18, over three years later, I could hardly recognize him. Ben is a robust, bright-eyed, happy and playful dog, his coat gleaming white, as it should be. His transformation is the result of the loving care he has received from his adoptive family, Michelle and Larry Kownacki.

BenThe occasion for this reunion was Little Ben’s Fourth Annual Cruise for Compassion, a fundraiser for ALDF hosted by Ben himself, as well as Michelle and Larry and their wonderful pet supply and novelty store, Paws pet boutique.

Over 125 human guests, and about 70 of their dogs, enjoyed an evening of music, dancing, food and fun aboard Watermark’s Harbor Queen in Annapolis, Maryland. Michelle and Larry have hosted Ben’s Cruise for the past four years as a way to thank ALDF, raise funds for our much-needed work and bring attention to the issue of animal hoarding and puppy mills. This year they raised over $10,000 for the Animal Legal Defense Fund! Our sincere thanks to Michelle and Larry, and everyone who made this event a success!

Making the evening even more exciting, the $10,000 raised was matched by a generous donation from Nancy Squires and The Squires Group team, meaning the event raised over $20,000! Thanks so much to Nancy Squires and The Squires Group!

Don’t miss these picture and video highlights of the evening. I hope some of you will join us next year!

Photos from the cruise:

Guests enjoy the view of the bay at Little Ben's Cruise for Compassion
Guests enjoy the view of the Annapolis bay
at Little Ben’s Cruise for Compassion.

Guests danced the night away.
Guests danced the night away.

Someone is excited that cake is on the way!
Someone is excited that cake is on the way!

ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells has the honor of cutting Ben's cake.
ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells
has the honor of cutting Ben’s cake.


7 thoughts on “Little Ben Raises Over $10,000 for ALDF

  1. Nola Roden says:

    Thank you for helping those poor dogs in need! God Bless

  2. Jill Hargis says:

    Ben’s Cruise is a great event for a great cause. I am proud to be a member of ALDF!

  3. Cheryl M. Dare says:

    Sure hope Ben’s cake isn’t chocolate as I think it looks very much like it…since chocolate is toxic to many animals, I hope it’s liver or some other kind of edible non-chocolate such as pate’ from the pet food aisle!

  4. Scotty C says:

    How freakin’ cool that is!!! I’m jealous that we live nowhere near MD. (Ca.) but major kudos to the Kownacki family for doing this.
    And of course the cake is dog friendly/edible – they run a pet boutique!

  5. I am the baker of the cake and there is no chocolate – it is dog-friendly carob. The cake is vegetarian and made with human-grade ingredients with no sugar or salt. It’s great to see how Ben has progressed since he has been with Michelle and Larry!

  6. Debbie McDaniel says:

    Thank God for human parents like Larry and Michelle. What would we do without people like them? Ben couldn’t ask for more than to be in a home with compassionate people like Larry and Michelle.

  7. Tracy Miller says:

    So glad to hear that it was such a success. We will definitely be there next year. I’m pretty confident that our Jackson is Ben’s brother.

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