Wine, Whiskers, and Wags

I was drinking last night, but it was for a good cause. Honest.

Last night, the Lewis-Clark Animal Shelter held its annual fundraiser. I've gone every year except one, from the first one that was hosted by Basalt Cellars. Last night, my wife (the Director of Operations) and I were the guests of Carol and Arnie Beckman, patrons of the shelter who purchased a table.

For those not familiar with the concept, Wine, Whiskers, and Wag is a night of sampling locally crafted libations. Instead of a sit-down meal, we mingled and met friends. The food was varied and tasty - more on that later and, unlike last year, there were options other than wine as artisan beers and a hard cider were offered. For those that don't imbibe, soft drinks and water were available.

There is a silent auction - two, actually - with an assortment of items ranging for artwork to a rifle scope, jewelry to hand tools. I only bid on a couple of items this year and didn't win any. I also entered to win the booze barrel, which was stocked with a range of whiskeys, tequila, vodka, and the like. Fortunately I didn't win. Four years ago, I did and, even sharing, it was more than I could handle.

I did win a bottle of wine, from Clearwater Canyon, a 2010 Syrah. Karl and Coco, the winemakers, were there and chatting, though Karl was losing his voice. I sampled their Renaissance Red. A very nice blend, very pleasant. I tried to talk to Karl about the wine but his voice was fading fast. I'm looking forward to trying the Syrah - and visiting them to learn more.

The Cider House sponsored one of the tasting tables, driving down from Pullman. They brought their sweetest cider. Tasty and went very well with the hot wings from Zone 208. The wings were spicy hot - though not sweat-on-the-brow hot. I'm thinking I'll volunteer my services as a taste-tester for hotness.

Jollymores was there - Donna and I have visited their restaurant and enjoyed it. It was nice to see them there making a nice impression. They had the broadest spread of food, serving a pork tenderloin with raspberry sauce but having hummus (two types), fresh veggies (very welcome as no one else had fruits or veggies), pita chips, and bread.

We had dessert from Jillybean and a new-to-us cake-maker, Julie Frazey of Frazy's Crazy Cakes, while the live auction went off. Lots of great items supplied by local businesses were available and people were bidding with enthusiasm. Both desserts were tasty.

I did donate some money for new Kuranda beds - they ran an intermission where the auctioneer solicited donations. Nice guy but he needs some training on the intermission process. It's not an auction. He was dropping the price so fast to generate interest that a person sitting at our table had to ask to give more money than the current bid.

Carol Moore, one of the committee members that set up the event, had no problem taking the larger donations. She seemed to be everywhere, always with a smile. Joyce Keefer was in constant motion, too, helping where needed. Like Carol, Joyce wore a friendly smile all night. Wonderful ladies.

Speaking of the Kuranda beds - if you have an older dog, these are a neat item to ease achy bones. The beds sit above the floor and made of chew-proof materials. In a shelter environment, they keep the dogs off pads on the concrete, keeping them warmer and more comfortable. I don't know if they made enough on The Furry Fund intermission to supply each kennel with one.

The night ended with dancing to a live band, High Street. I don't dance (or, at least not well) but some of the folks that were on the floor could move. Fun to watch.

A special thanks to Lonnie Ells - he's a board member for the Shelter and ran the 'bank'. That's not the most glamorous job but Lonnie does it every year, cheerfully, even when the equipment was balky.

Mostly, a very large thank you from the people and animals of the Lewis-Clark Animal Shelter to all the people that so graciously donated time to visit, who contributed to the auctions, who volunteer at the shelter.

One of the guests made a point of coming over to my wife early in the evening. Her family adopted Payton, a border collie mix several years ago. Payton was a skinny-as-a-rail dog who had been abandoned. Donna worked with the family, looking for the right dog to fit with them. There are four kids in the family, so they wanted an active dog.

They picked Payton. This year, on a vet visit, skinny Payton weighed in 14 pounds above her normal weight. The vet cautioned them that a large weight gain could be a problem but, given her normal low weight, it was nice to see some extra meat on her bones.

Payton's owner, a wonderfully pleasant lady, said she went home and kept watch over the dog. She watched as one child played with Payton - and rewarded the dog with a cookie. Another did the same thing. Border collies love to work/play. They don't need cookies for encouragement but Payton certainly wasn't discouraging it, either.

Dinner time arrived. Three different people, including the Dad, fed Payton dinner.

Weight gain explained. I suspect that Payton will be on a slightly restricted treat schedule but the story made my wife smile. She loves to hear the success stories, of happy dogs that aren't pets any more, but part of the family.

As the guy married to the Director of Operations, it is heart-warming to see your support for the Shelter and all the people associated with it.

Thank you.