For greyhounds: Concert to benefit nonprofit Monica’s Heart

The Altoona-based Monica’s Heart Greyhound Adoption organization is getting some overdue attention.

The nonprofit group, which places retired racing greyhounds into forever homes, has never had anyone hold a fundraiser on its behalf before, but that will change Saturday.

Front Row Productions will feature Norman Nardini, a Pittsburgh rock-and- roll vocalist and guitarist, with his five-piece band, and special guest Nate Myers & The Aces at the Church in the Middle of the Block Cultural Center.

The concert will benefit the organization which has helped more than 1,200 greyhounds since its inception in 1996, the organization’s website said.

“When we get them, we get them spayed or neutered, shots, heartworm tests, anything they need, and then we foster them in our homes until we find homes for them,” said Kay McNelis, president of Monica’s Heart. “We get them from the track when they’re through racing or when they’ve been injured and can’t race any longer, and in that case, if it’s like a broken leg, they call and see if we’ll take them, and if we will, we also get the bill for the leg repair.”

McNelis said she’s planning to bring a couple of greyhounds to the pre-concert reception.

No one has “ever wanted to do something for us like that before,” she said of the fundraiser. “I think it’ll be fun, and anything we can do to get the word out and raise money for the dogs is a good thing.”

Promoter Steve Heiser came up with the idea to hold a concert to benefit the organization and picked Nardini and Myers, whom he called “wonderful individuals” because “they’re both dog lovers.”

Nardini performs a couple original songs about dogs, including “Love Dog,” and on a Myers’ album is the note, “‘Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Adopt a dog,'” Heiser said.

“Truly, I’m just a dog fan,” Nardini said. “We don’t have any dogs right now, but for about 30 years we had dogs and we were real close with them, and actually my best friend has a couple greyhounds as well, so it’s just a positive thing. Our puppies are kind of like us.”

Nate Myers & The Aces has done charity work to benefit man’s best friend before and he is the owner of rescue dogs. Others in the band are dog owners, as well, Myers said.

“I just think it’s going to be fun, man,” he said of Saturday’s concert. “It’ll be our first time in Altoona, so we’re looking forward to playing for the folks there, and I think it’s a pretty good pairing with us and Norman. We should have a good time.”

Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.