The annual Tears Sleepathon is a not-to-be-missed event that allows animal-lovers to get involved with the rescue, sterilisation and support of homeless dogs and cats, or those in impoverished areas.The Emma Animal Rescue Society (Tears) is an animal welfare organisation that homes, provides sanctuary for and sees to the medical needs of dogs and cats in Vrygrond, Redhill, Ocean View and Masiphumelele. The Sleepathon will be held on three consecutive Saturdays – 16, 23 and 30 November – at the Tears Animal Rescue shelter in Sunnydale. During the event, participants will get to curl up next to a homeless hound or cute kitty for the night, make them feel loved and also enjoy an evening of festivities. The aim of the event, according to the organisation’s marketing coordinator Luke Kruyt, is fourfold. “It’s to raise awareness, raise money – because we desperately need it – find homes for dogs and cats, and we’re always looking for volunteers,” he says, adding that the more volunteers the Tears shelter, hospital and veterinary clinic has, the more animals it can take care of.Tickets to participate in the furry fun cost R200 per person and can be bought online. Entrants can sign up as individuals, a corporate team, or as a family or group of friends. Once tickets have been purchased, a welcome pack will be emailed to recipients who are then tasked to raise funds – either through social media, by pledging donations or through the sale of goodies – in support of three causes at Tears.“There’s the rescue, rehab and rehome cause – that’s for the shelter and rescue dogs, and making sure they get all the veterinary care they need to become well-rounded and get homed. The other cause is to help to offer free sterilisations in the communities we work in. And the last is to support the welfare and mobile dog clinics which offer subsidised veterinary care,” explained Kruyt.Last year the shelter was able to raise more than R500 000 (which was highly appreciated) but its monthly running costs are currently standing at more than R1 million, due to the fact that it services communities who can’t afford the care their animals need. This year, Tears is hoping to generate even more money with the help of the “pawsome” fundraisers.On the day they’ve booked, participants will check in at 17:00 at the shelter where they will receive much more than just 14 hours with man’s best friends. A statement on the event read: “Sleepathoners will enjoy a festive evening of celebration, live music and socialising in a chilled and comfortable space. One of three gourmet plant-based meals, hot cocoa and s’more kits are on the menu for dinner and everyone is encouraged to bring sleeping bags and camping gear, as well as snacks and treats to make their sleepover as memorable as possible.” Participants will be able to choose a special fur baby they feel a connection with, or they will be allocated one. According to Kruyt, the cattery can accommodate about 15 to 20 people and the dog kennels can take about 80 to 90; adding up to about 360 people who can participate over the three Saturdays.The only downside, according to Kruyt, is saying goodbye at 07:00.“It’s very emotional in the morning,” he said.All funds raised will be used to assist the shelter with its various programmes. “The more funds you raise, the more animals you will help,” the Tears’s statement read.Call Tears on 021 785 4482 or visit its website: www.tears.org.za/sleepathon for more information. For tickets visit: https://bit.ly/34AnSQk.