In the Community: June 2020

AAHA-accredited Tennessee Avenue Animal Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, donates time and goods to the Bowling for Rhinos fundraiser.

Tennessee Avenue staff enjoy Bowling for Rhinos.
(Photo courtesy of Tennessee Avenue Animal Hospital)

Bowling for Rhinos

“Between 1960 and 1995, black rhino numbers in Africa dropped by a sobering 98%, to less than 2,500,” notes the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) website. But they are slowly making a comeback and today they number almost 5,500 because of conservation efforts, notes WWF.

But conservation efforts take resources, and that’s where Bowling for Rhinos, a community service project of AAHA-accredited Tennessee Avenue Animal Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, comes in.

“We have been involved with Bowling for Rhinos for several years now,” Janet Huschart, practice manager at Tennessee Avenue, told AAHA. “One of our clients is a zookeeper and she takes care of the rhinos at the Cincinnati Zoo. She invited us to take part in the program.”

The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) sponsors the annual Bowling for Rhinos event internationally to benefit all five species of rhinos. This includes the black and white rhinos in Africa, the Javan and Sumatran rhinos in Indonesia, and the Indian rhinos in India, notes the AAZK website. (According to the African Wildlife Foundation website, rhino horns are used both ornamentally and to allegedly cure hangovers, cancer, and impotence.)

The money raised provides animal keepers with a way to raise funds and public awareness for rhino and habitat conservation, notes the AAZK website. But raising those funds has its own hidden benefits for Tennessee Avenue.

For time-strapped practices, community service events can take the place of more formal team-building activities, all in the name of a good cause. For Tennessee Avenue, the Bowling for Rhinos event is such an experience. “It is a great team-building activity,” noted Huschart. “It’s also a lot of fun.”

The Bowling for Rhinos event is held in the fall. It lasts two hours and includes supplemental events, such as a silent auction and raffle. “Our practice pays for the lanes,” said Huschart. (Lane fees are $120 for an entire lane for up to six bowlers, and shoes are included.)

Tennessee Avenue also donates a gift basket for the silent auction. Its cat gift basket included the container itself, a bottle of wine, a cat-shaped bottle, several toys, cat sticky notes, treats, a blanket, and a bed.

While attendance at the event is not mandatory for Tennessee Avenue staff, they are happy to attend (as you can see from the photo). Staff time is unpaid.

Is the event popular in the local community? It appears so. Indeed, the event had to be moved to a larger venue, Walt’s Center Lanes in Newport, Kentucky, because it outgrew its original space.

Not to exclude local community service, Tennessee Avenue, along with its clients, also collects school supplies for the nonprofit Crayons to Computers and its Push 4 Pencils program. Push for Pencils offers a “free store” for teachers and serves 16 counties in the greater Cincinnati area. Its success is evident in the numbers: In 2018, the Push 4 Pencils program collected tens of thousands of school supplies with an estimated value of $140,722.

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