Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gone to the dogs

Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley benefit is a best in show

Express Staff Writer

In trying economic times, taking care of dogs, cats and other pets can be difficult. Pets offer companionship and a break from financial worries that is quite different from human compassion. In the Wood River Valley, caring for animals is taken very seriously. The Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley understands how important pets are in people's lives. The shelter's annual fundraiser benefit, The Dog Days of Summer, provides a significant portion of the shelter's operating budget, which the shelter relies on to care for the homeless animals in the Wood River Valley community.

The Animal Shelter's annual gala fundraising event will take place on Friday, July 15, at the Trail Creek Pavilion in Sun Valley at 5:30 p.m. This year's event features emcee David Frei of the Westminster Dog Show and live and silent auction items, including the signature art for the event by Debbie Edgers Sturges. In addition, the benefit will have a raffle of a $10,000 gift certificate to Atkinsons' Markets and the Birdhouse Festival.

The shelter is in its 29th year of operation and can boast the successful adoption of more than 10,000 animals. The shelter continues to promote companion animal welfare by providing temporary shelter for homeless pets, adopting them to qualified homes and reducing animal abuse, neglect and overpopulation through community education and spay/neuter services. The summer benefit plays a significant role in helping the shelter provide vital services to more than 1,500 animals per year.

Tickets are $150 per person and reservations are required. For details call 788-4351 or visit

This year's auction items include one week at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas on Kauai's North Shore for four to six people; two four-day passes and hotel accommodations for the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament; a seven-night stay at "La Mandarine" in Provence, France; two tickets to the 2012 Westminster Dog Show with backstage passes to visit the dogs and their handlers and three nights accommodation; seven nights at Casa Piazza at La Punta in Manzanillo, Mexico, for up to 10 people, including a private chef and full-time staff; and a fantastic party for 30 with entertainment from Mike Murphy, appetizers from CK's and wine from Tastevin. For 2011 auction highlights visit,

The Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley was the first "no kill" shelter in Idaho. More than 90 percent of its funding comes from private donations.

"Do check the shelter before you go to a breeder," Bonner said. "We often have the breeds people are seeking or some combination of it."

In 2010, more than 1,500 animals received services from the shelter. That includes 388 animals that were adopted, 257 lost animals that were reunited with their owners, 247 shelter animals that were spayed/neutered and 363 privately owned animals that were spayed or neutered at no cost to their owners, and more than 6,000 pounds of pet food distributed through the shelter's Paws for Hunger partnership with the Hunger Coalition. On an average day, the shelter cares for 35 dogs and 31 cats.

"We're very pleased with the impact of our programs in helping people keep their pets," Bonner said. "Our prevention programs are working, which is wonderful."

Bonner said people on vacation sometimes come to the shelter to walk dogs.

"To be part of the shelter, people don't have to give money," she said. "We rely on volunteers to make things happen. We need hundreds of people throughout the year."

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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