Canines saved through non-profits | ParkRecord.com

Canines saved through non-profits

Dan Bischoff, Of the Record staff

The Kimball Art Center is not only showing off dog art through the holidays, they are also bringing in the real thing.

Friends of Animals will join with the Kimball on Dec. 2 for a fundraiser to benefit both non-profit organizations.

"I don’t know that we’ve ever done a joint fundraiser that wasn’t with another animal-related group," said Rhoda J. Stauffer, executive director for Summit County Friends of Animals.

The fundraiser will include a silent auction of art donated by regional artists and about 20 other items featuring man’s best friend. Patty the Pet Psychic will be on hand as well to analyze people’s pets through photographs of their dogs. Done to Your Taste will provide the catering of heavy hors d’oeuvres. Park City On Board, the city’s version of Monopoly will also make its debut that night and be on sale to the public.

"We have wonderful dog art and we want to share it with the public," said Susan Thomas of the Kimball Art Center. "Working with them will help us show the work to all the dog lovers."

Stauffer feels the Kimball Art Center, with a larger staff, will provide more help in advertising and the organization of the event. In turn, Friends of Animals may expand its membership.

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"We hope to find people who don’t realize what dog lovers they are," Stauffer said. "We hope to make connections and develop relationships. Making connections at an event like this could foster more support."

Further support is what Friends of Animals needs as the demand for its services continues to rise.

"These kinds of fundraisers are essential for educating a new audience about animal welfare issues, as well as covering our operating costs each year," Stauffer said.

Stauffer has become educated herself since she became executive director last May.

"I’ve always had a love for animals," Stauffer said. "I just feel like they have special things to teach us. I certainly have learned a lot about animal welfare issues because of this job."

A big issue that now concerns Friends of Animals is a dramatic increase of homeless puppies in the last three months.

"At one point we had 30 puppies brought into us over a couple weeks," Stauffer said. "One litter came in at one-week old, which is a very vulnerable age to not have a mother."

Friends of Animals, Stauffer said, was able to save every one of the puppies through a network of volunteers that bottle-fed them, which she said was amazing. All of them now have owners as well.

Many of the homeless pups, she said, are come from owners who don’t spay and neuter their dogs. She said many owners let their dogs give birth outside in the mountains and the litter is left to fend for itself. Often times, they don’t survive.

"Our board is forming a task force to pay for the services and take the service (to the owners) and make it hard for them to say ‘no,’" Stauffer said.

Currently, they have a litter of Pyrenees puppies ready for adoption.

"They are really beautiful," Stauffer said.

Stauffer hopes this fundraiser will help convert even more people to the cause.

"I feel like it’s a natural fit because Park City is such a community of artists and such a community of dog lovers. It makes absolute sense for me that this will be an attractive event," Stauffer said.

The idea to merge the two organizations came from Pam Crowe-Weisberg, director of the Kimball Art Center. After deciding to bring the Museum of Glass’ "Best of Show" to the Kimball, an exhibit featuring dog art, Crowe-Weisberg knew there could be something involving Friends of Animals.

"We just like to work with other non-profits and we have a lot to offer them because we have a great location and facilities and a full staff. We are happy to help," Thomas said.

"When they presented the idea to us, my immediate response was it made a lot of sense," Stauffer said. "We all liked the idea right away. Board President Troy Stevens, said ‘absolutely.’"

The fundraiser will be a dog celebration at a myriad of levels. Along with helping to save dogs, it will also celebrate Park City’s love for dogs through art.

"The big important thing is, it’s going to be a really fun holiday party and a great fundraiser for two causes. Mixing art and dogs and just simply making people smile," Thomas said.

So far, the art exhibit has received rave reviews from Parkites, Thomas said.

"People just like it and laugh and think it’s cute," Thomas said. "People start talking about how they love their animals. They come in and look and laugh and smile and talk about their own pets. It’s nice to see people enjoying that arts and getting something personal out of it."

The Kimball Arts Center will host a fundraiser for the Friends of Animals, sponsored by Park City on Board, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50. There will be a silent auction, food provided by Done to Your Taste Catering, featuring Castle Creek Wines. Proceeds from the ticket sales and silent auction will benefit the two nonprofits. In particular, funds will aid the Kimball to provide northern Utah with quality exhibitions, expanded art education and community events. Proceeds will also benefit the Summit County Friends of Animals and their plans for a new animal refuge. The refuge is planned for the Brown’s Canyon area and will serve as a multi-use facility for both animal rescue and rehabilitation. Friends of Animals hopes to break ground on the refuge in the spring of 2007. Attendees must R.S.V.P. by calling 649-8882.