Dr. Kimberly Tyson, owner of Four Paws Veterinary Hospital in Riverview, and John Gio, Owner/Manager of the Joia Fabulous Pizza & Martini Bar in Riverview, teamed up 8 years ago to help local organizations who rescue all kinds of animals. They haven’t stopped helping.
“At the time I was running for Honorary Mayor for the Riverview Chamber of Commerce,” Dr. Tyson says. “John Gio approached me about doing an Honorary Mayor charity event at his restaurant. I agreed as long as I could pick an animal rescue.”
And, she did.
Yappy Hour Is Born
Dr. Tyson and Gio hosted the first ever ‘Yappy Hour’ to benefit The Florida Great Pyrenees Club. in 2009.
Touted as “The Happy Hour that does not discriminate against canines” the event was such a hit that Dr. Tyson and Gio kept going. They made it a monthly event and began including all kinds of animal rescue groups.
To date they’ve raised more than $30,000 and have helped rescue organizations representing a variety of two legged, four legged, and flying critters.
They have fun naming their events for each month’s star animal:
Yappy and Meowy Hours benefit various local dog and cat rescue organizations such (just a few listed here):
Animal Luvrs Dream Rescue (Riverview)
Critter Mama Rescue (Ruskin)
Horseology Hours: to benefit RVR Horse Rescue of Riverview
Apes in April: The Center for Great Apes in Wachula, Florida
Flappy Hour: Save Our Seabirds Rescue (Sarasota)
Zoology Hour: American Association of Zoo Keepers, Tampa Bay Chapter (they bring exotic animals to the event)
The list of events goes on and on…
Horses and Dogs In The Parking Lot
What’s most fun? Each organization typically brings animals to the event so attendees can get up close and personal.
“RVR had horses in the parking lot. Last time they brought mini horses,” Dr. Tyson adds. “The Center for Great Apes brought paintings done by the apes and auctioned them off,” she adds.
Each organization also hosts the fund-raising part of each month’s happy hour, typically bringing items to be auctioned off.
Events are held the last Tuesday of each month from 6:00PM – 8:00PM at Joia Fabulous Pizza and Martini Bar at 10475 Gibsonton Dr in Riverview, Hillsborough County, Florida, FL 33578
Fundraising activities vary by organization, but fun and critter rescue are always on the agenda.
When I attended this week’s Meowy Hour, to benefit C.A.R.E. – Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort, Dr. Tyson was ‘locked in a cage’ and donations were required to set her free. C.A.R.E. also brought items for auction.
Be sure to mark the last Tuesday of each month on your calendar. For a full list of the monthly events you can visit Four Paws Veterinary Hospital Facebook Page (click on Events)
About Dr. Tyson and Joia Fabulous Pizza & Martini Bar
Dr. Tyson is a graduate of University of Florida Veterinary School and a native of Brandon. She opened her Riverview, Florida veterinary practice in 2007. She’s active in our community participating in both the Riverview Chamber of Commerce and the FishHawk Riverview Rotary Club.
Joia’s serves, well, fabulous pizza, martinis and Italian dishes.
Gio and Dr. Tyson have no plans to stop their monthly happy hours -so many great animal rescue organizations to support.