AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – That’s What Friends Are For is a non-profit organization dedicated to animal rescue work, and raising awareness about the importance of getting animals spayed and neutered.

On October 14th, the group will hold its annual fundraising event, “Augusta’s Next Top Dog.” It’s a dog show where local dogs get to strut their stuff, and compete for several awards.
The event will also feature food, vendors, and more. To find out more about it we had Tara Ford Romes, and Lorna Barrett from “That’s What Friends Are For,” to tell us what the event was all about.

Tell us a little big about “That’s Friends Are For” and what it’s all about.

“Well, what we do is raise money to help people with the cost of spay and neuter and emergency vetting throughout the CSRA. Spaying and neutering animals is a huge problem because people are not doing it, and the population of kittens and puppies are exploding and we need to fix it.”

“The results can be neglect, the results can be families not being able to afford to provide vet care, food, shelter for their pets. Something that started as a pet, now you have a litter of six and families don’t know what to do with that, nor do they have the resources.”

You have a big event coming up. Tell us what that is.

“So, this is our seventh annual Augusta’s Next Top Dog, and it is an annual fundraiser. It’s a dog show. And we have 7 to 8 categories. And you enter your dog, it’s $25 a dog and then five extra for each category. We give out trophies, ribbons, we have a great emcee. We’re also going to have vendors and food trucks.”  

For people who haven’t been, what can they expect?

“They can expect to see a whole lot of dogs. A whole lot of animal lovers, vendors, kids, older folks, everybody from all walks of life. People just love coming out there and having a good time with us at Pendleton King Park.”

Let’s talk about the vendors that will be there.

“The main goal we started doing with the vendors is, we want to promote small business, local small business and so we do ask for a donation from the vendors, it’s $50 and hopefully they will actually get their name out there and maybe people will buy their products too. But that is the goal again, is to bring the community together not only with animal care in a fun day, but to promote small business for them.”

The money that’s raised, where does it go?

“We would like to raise $50,000 this year? Typically, this event only brings in about 8 to 10 at most, but we’ve been having so many requests this year, so we want to go big. We think we can do it. We want to raise $50,000 and that money goes to our spay neuter fund, and that’s the way we offer low cost vouchers to people who can’t afford to fix their pet.”

Anything you want to say for all the community support all of these years?

“Thank you, we really, really appreciate the people that sponsor us, that donate to us, those that volunteer here with us, the people that appreciate what we do, write us letters, and appreciate us on Facebook. We do a lot to help people and I think it’s nice when people appreciate us for that.”

Augusta’s Next Top Dog is at Pendleton King Park on October 14th, with registration starting from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. The contest starts at 11:30 a.m.  

There are other ways to support the event as well. On the day of the event they’ll be accepting Purina One cat and kitten food, as well as clumping litter.

If you’re a vendor and would like to be involved in the event you can email

If you’d like to register you dog for the competition email