Jan. 24, 2006 – The spirit of the 2006 Chinese Year of the Dog will reign this year over the Humane Society of St. Thomas' Valentine's Ball, fondly known as the "Doggie Ball."
The event has added significance for Joe Elmore, the society's executive director. "I'm especially looking forward to it," he said. "This is the first time we have had a theme."
He said the evening will be Asian-themed throughout, with Asian décor and cuisine. "We have the best decorations I've ever seen," he said.
The ball, scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef Resort, is the key fund-raiser for the shelter's operating budget. Last year the shelter provided care for more than 3,000 unwanted animals, up from 2,000 in 2004. Elmore said, "We take in from 200 to 250 animals a month, and, just like in the states, the majority of them are euthanized."
There will be a move at the event to encourage new members to join the society and help raise the $500,000 still needed for the opening of the Animal Care Campus on Weymouth Rhymer Highway.
The new campus is expected to garner more community participation, which is geared toward the society's ultimate goal: more adopted animals in more loving homes. Elmore said groundbreaking for the new site should be "sometime this spring."
Last year's event was the largest in the organizations' history, and Elmore is hoping the Year of the Dog will be a good omen and will beckon similar attendance this year. According to Chinese legend, "the sign tends to root for the underdog, and its keen sense of right and wrong makes it duty-bound to the core. The Dog's mantra seems to be 'Live right, look out for the little people, and fight injustice whenever possible.'"
Animal lovers could have used that encouragement at this time last year when a shadow of doubt hung over the animal anti-cruelty bill, which was still bouncing around the Senate. Happily, the legislation passed unanimously, after five years' effort, and without the Chinese Dog's support.
Highlighting this year's event will be the release of the Humane Society's new license plate. The lower plate numbers will be auctioned off. The balance of the 100 plates, five of which are motorcycle plates, will be included in the silent auction. The plates bear the letters AF, for "animal friendly," with the society's slogan, "Paws to Care," on the bottom of the plate.
The auction this year has what Elmore called "unprecedented prizes," including a $2,000 shopping spree at Cardow Jewelers, a Rolex watch, hotel packages (including one at Frenchman's Reef) and a Caribbean cruise.
The ever-popular Milo's Kings will provide the evening's dancing music.
Tickets, which are $125 per person, can be purchased at:
– Home Again in Red Hook.
– Soft Touch Boutique at Port of Sale mall.
– St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce.
Tickets may also be purchased by phone, using a credit card, by calling the Humane Society at 775-0599 or 776-0100, or in person at the shelter office in Nadir. Dress is island formal.
Shuttle service will be available from Port of Sale Mall from 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
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