Enjoy a bite of brunch and beats to benefit PALS

Food, music and a little hair of the dog are on offer this Saturday morning, with proceeds going to the local pet therapy charitable organization.

It’s giving a whole new meaning to the term “dog’s breakfast.”

Although, technically it’s brunch. And it’s not just the canines who will be celebrated and are the beneficiaries of the meal — it’s the kitties, bunnies, guinea pigs, ferrets and all of the other animals who participate in the Pet Access League Society (PALS) as well as all of the folks they visit and help.

On Saturday morning at the Roosevelt Food & Drinks (933 17th Ave. S.W.), the PALS Beats & Brunch charity event will take place, raising money for the local organization that has, for the past 30-plus years, provided animal therapy visits to hospitals, libraries, care, seniors and nursing homes, and wherever else pets and their unconditional love are needed.

Organized by PALS volunteers Jillian Lam and Lauren Oswald, the event will feature food, music, mimosas, auction items and more all to raise money for the worthwhile cause.

Lam says they wanted something different, a fundraiser that was actually fun, and unlike others, not one where people close to the hosts — namely friends and family members — felt obligated to buy a ticket and attend.

“We were just tired of going to our friends’ fundraisers because you have to, and they’re all galas and tickets are $100,” she says. “You did in the end because you wanted to support your friend.

“So it’s always been a bucket-list of mine to do a fundraiser for a charity that’s important to me and … that’s fun and something that’s not too expensive and something that could really sell itself.”

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Animal therapy provides comfort for many.

It already has, actually, as all of the $33 advance tickets have already sold out, with a limited number available for $38 at the door.

It will, of course, be worth it, as that price includes your choice of one of five “soul food-inspired” brunch items, one mimosa, soul and hip-hop tunes provided by local DJ Geoff Brown as well as the opportunity to bid on items such as WestJet tickets, a dog daycare package at Sleep Rover and a private wine tasting at Bricks Wine Company.

There will also be a special boozy charity concoction for the event, called the Caribou Lou, from Calgary’s Secret Barrel Distillery.

And, if you’ve had too many of the Lous or ’mosas, the price of the ticket also includes up to $15 off an UBER ride from the party.

With everything — tickets, raffles, booze, etc. — Lam and Oswald are hoping to raise between $10,000 and $15,000 for PALS, a charity, like most others in the city, that has suffered during the recent downturn.

That, actually, is one of the main reasons Lam wanted to put on the Beats & Brunch party, as she has three dogs of her own, and one of them, Maggie, is a pet therapy dog, so she’s seen how valuable it is.

“It’s a non-profit that’s important to me, especially for some of the centres that they go to,” she says, noting the work they do with children, those with autism, victims of sexual abuse or other human-inflicted traumas.

“Therapy with a dog or a cat or a rabbit really, really does make a difference in their lives and they really can express themselves or have some comfort (with) an animal … It’s just a charity that I think is important.”

And, again, with the response so far, she sees how important others view it.

Lam thinks it could be an event they do once or twice a year, perhaps switching it up with a bluegrass brunch or something else.

That, though, is for the future.

She’s still focussed on seeing the inaugural event succeed as well as fielding perhaps the most obvious and asked question about it: Can I bring my four-legged friend?

“No,” Lam says with a laugh. “If they ever change the bylaws, that would be great.

“But no.”

PALS Beats & Brunch takes place at Roosevelt Food & Drink Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information click here.

Mike Bell has been covering the Calgary music scene for the past 25 years with publications such as VOX, Fast Forward, the Calgary Sun and, most recently, the Calgary Herald. He is currently the music writer and content editor for, and the co-host of the show Saved By the Bell, which airs Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m. on CJSW 90.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter/@mrbell_23 or email him at He has a dog named Lou who was rejected by PALS because crutches frighten the poor animal. Sad.