As with every event, there's always one story that seems to capture the mood. At the Dog and Pony Show auction and dinner to benefit the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, despite the inventiveness of each of the painted fiberglass critters, it was a coffee Labrador that won hearts.
Sure, there were amazing ponies, for instance. Jim Alford's "Sky Paint" is a bluebird sky with puffy, white clouds—especially striking when a deluge came midway through the event. In addition, one of the galloping ponies, "Horse Feathers" by Narca Moore-Craig, seemed to be launching itself across the fields at Trail Creek Cabin where the event took place.
Under the tent were some more wonderful displays: "Horse Apples" by Donna Howell-Sickles, "Labra d'Oreo" by Curtis Kemp, and "Bean and deMocha" by Andy Hawley and Jennifer Hoffman. This Lab was started just before Hailey fireman and business owner Zane Martin was killed in a motorcycle accident three weeks ago. Martin was enthused about the project and supplied the beans with which to cover the dog, Hawley said.
A few days later, disaster struck and Martin was killed. At that point, Hawley's project took on a different, more soulful feel. The project was completed with Martin keenly in mind. He added a collar with a large metal "Z" attached, and Martin's mother, Sue Martin, gave him one of the Zaney's Coffee burlap bags for the base. The only thing left was for it to be bought and donated back to Sue Martin and placed at Zaney's River Street Coffeehouse in Hailey.
After a sit-down dinner under the tent and extensive silent auction, Larry Flynn expertly handled the live auction while raising $70,000 for the Marmaduke Society.
Finally, "Bean and deMocha" was up for grabs. After a plea was made to make sure Zaney's would be the recipient of the Lab, two valley residents, Gail Severn and Blair Hull, generously ponied up $4,500 to make sure it happened.
"It was all geared in that direction anyway," Hawley said, gratified.