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Potters' Guild offers helping hand to Helping Paws

March 15, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Pine Island Potters' Guild held its March show Saturday. The monthly event is an island favorite where local artists and craftsmen show their works of fine art. This month, co-owner Nancy Koucky invited the local animal shelter, Helping Paws Animal Sanctuary, to help it raise awareness, funds and supplies.

"I decided to invite Marnie Miszewski from Helping Paws because this summer I adopted two cats from the shelter," Koucky said. "She has this buy-one, get-one offer that I couldn't refuse and I adopted two wonderful cats. Marnie has been doing such a wonderful job finding homes for cats, I thought it would be a good idea to have them here."

Miszewski brought four cats from the shelter.

Article Photos

Nancy Koucky and Marnie Miszewski with Sweet Tea.


"The 'official' greeter from the sanctuary is here, that's Sweet Tea," Miszewski said. "Then there's Polly, Miss Bella and JJ. We are allowed to have up to 200 cats," Miszewski said."So we are always close to 200 and have a waiting list to get it.

"I love animals and started the shelter when I got laid off as a graphic designer," Miszewski said. "I wanted to do something completely different, something I was passionate about. I always said when I won the lottery I was going to start a shelter. Well, I realized that wasn't going to happen so I cashed in everything I had in 2010 and went for it."

Helping Paws Animal Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 non-profit, no kill shelter, housing almost 200 healthy cats and kittens as well as those with special needs. Unlike other shelters, the cats are housed in rooms and not in cages. The cats have loving volunteers, toys and even TV's with cat videos.

"We're also having a live and silent auction on April 6 at the German American Social Club on Pine Island Road in Cape Coral," Miszewski said. "I'd like to invite everyone out for a great day."

The "island-style" atmosphere of the courtyard at Koucky Studios is perfect venue for local artists and craftsmen to display their wares. In addition to the artists, the fund-raiser had numerous baskets of goodies and art to be raffled off.

"I want to thank all of the local artists, craftsmen and businesses that contributed baskets to the raffle," Koucky said. "There is art, pottery, jewelry, soaps and a lot more. Several Pine Island and Matlacha galleries also donated gift certificates and the 'Tastes of Pine Island' basket features items and certificates from our local restaurants and specialty food shops.

"The proceeds from the event will provide funds to the shelter for keeping the cats happy and healthy, but also to inspire and encourage people today to perhaps adopt a cat (or two) to take home," Koucky said. "Marnie brought several shelter cats to tempt visitors."

The Pine Island Potters' Guild shows are on the second Saturday of each month, from November though April, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Koucky Studios, 5971 Bay Point Road, Bokeelia.

For additional information about the Potters' Guild, call Chuck Koucky at 239-410-2852.

For more about the Helping Paws Animal Sanctuary, contact Miszewski at or 239-283-9100.



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