By Stephen Kindland / Times-News Correspondent

Posted Oct 5, 2019 at 10:48 PM at www.blueridgenow.com

Four-legged artists painted with the passion of Picasso at Southern Appalachian Brewery on Saturday, unaware that the masterpieces they created will help rescue their fellow canines. Polly Angelakis and her 1-year-old lab mix, Finn, were among those who stopped by a “Pawcasso art studio” set up outside the craft brewery as part of an inaugural “Pup Crawl” fundraiser for the Blue Ridge Humane Society held in Hendersonville’s Historic Seventh Avenue District. “I’m a volunteer with the humane society and I adopted a dog there,” said Angelakis as Finn painted a portrait by walking back and forth across a large sheet of paper after his paws had been dipped in paint. “They’re a wonderful organization.”

Meanwhile, dozens of other Pub Crawlers paid up to $20 for tickets that entitled them and their dogs to receive treats and take part in activities at three other pet-friendly businesses, including “paw readings” and dog-face painting at Triskelion Brewing Company; dog massages at Guidon Brewing Company and an outdoor “pool party” at The Brandy Bar. Each of the four businesses also donated a portion of their drink sales to the humane society. Katherine Pelsang of Boiling Springs said Triskelion owner Becky Ayers — who played the role of a gypsy paw reader — was “spot on” with her take on Beckett, her 10-month-old Louisiana leopard dog. “She knew he was a rescue dog, and that he’s been through a lot,” said Pelsang, who learned about the fundraiser on Facebook. “He’s had some trauma, but he’s getting better.”

Laura Rice, Blue Ridge Humane Society’s development and event manager, said the Pup Crawl doubled as a chance for people to become more acquainted with the Historic Seventh Avenue District and what it has to offer. “It’s definitely a win-win,” Rice said. “We have a great relationship with the breweries and The Brandy Bar. It’s been a collaborative effort, and the businesses have been part of the planning process since day one.” She also said she was pleased with Saturday’s turnout, especially for a firsttime event. “Everyone seems really excited to be out here,” Rice said. “We had 35 people pre-register, and there’s been about 20 more, so we’re very happy.”

Southern Appalachian Brewery co-owner Kelly Cubbin said she is always glad when a public event is held in the Historic Seventh Avenue District, including a recently held “Tails In Town” dog pageant and festival that doubled as a pet adoption event.

“It’s the first time anyone’s really done anything focused on the Historic Seventh Avenue District,” Cubbin said of Saturday’s Pup Crawl. “I think the exposure is really nice. Anytime you throw animals into the mix, it just gets so many people interested.” Cubbin has long supported the humane society, and adopted two sibling kittens from the agency last year, after one of them found her way into the brewery.

“We brought her into the bar, and everyone was playing with her,” Cubbin recalled. “She ended up sleeping in the tip jar for about an hour. Everyone wanted to adopt her, but I kept saying, ’You can go to the shelter — this one’s mine.”

Rice said her agency could use the public’s help because its two cat rooms are at capacity.

“Even though our event is focusing on dogs, we have a lot of cats currently waiting for adoption,” she said.

Information about pet adoptions can be found online at www.blueridgehumane.org, or by calling (828) 692-2639.

First Citizens Bank also served as a sponsor for the inaugural Pup Crawl.

Stephen Kindland is a freelance writer, photographer and author of an award winning children’s book titled “I Beg Your Pardon, But This Is My Garden!” He can be reached at stephenkindland@gmail.com.