LAURINBURG — More than 150 animal lovers united at Wallace Lodge on Saturday and were feted with wine and beer to benefit the Fidos and Fluffys of Scotland County.
The Scotland County Humane Society’s second “Wine and Ales for Waggin’ Tails” fundraiser set out to earn $20,000 — or about a quarter of the annual veterinary bills racked up annually by the 2,000 animals that pass through the doors of the J.D. and Fran Asher Animal Shelter.
“It takes about $35,000 a month to keep the doors open at the humane society,” event organizer David Harling told those assembled at Saturday’s social event. “That’s a lot of money: a lot of food, a lot of vet bills.”
Organizers do not have a final tally for how much the event raised.
Though no one in attendance had a tail to wag, with a selection of wines and 16 beers — from local offerings like Railhouse Mastiff Oatmeal Stout brewed in Aberdeen to familiar standbys like Blue Moon and Fat Tire — no hangdog expressions could be found among the crowd. Volunteer bartenders Alan Livingston and Page Pratt prepared individual samples for those stepping outside of their comfort zone.
A buffet crafted by Rick’s Catering featured beef tenderloin, shrimp and grits, stuffed mushrooms, and cheeses to pair with the array of wines.
The event attracted animal advocates from outside of Scotland County who came out to support shelter director Melinda McMillan.
“We are in this industry and we know Melinda and we know Scotland Humane, so we know the hard work that they do and we know the good that they do and this is a worthwhile cause,” said Candace Brock, owner of Five Points Pet Resort in Hoke County. “We’re so happy to help because they really are doing some amazing things, things that other rescues don’t do.”
Once settled in, they were glad they came.
“The wine and beer don’t hurt, but the auction is a lot of fun,”said Jen Peden, who works at the pet resort. “Once that gets going that will be a good time watching everyone’s excitement raising money.”
The event’s live auction, which included a North Myrtle Beach fishing trip, stay at Grandfather Mountain, a custom pet portrait, photography, and a year’s supply of homemade treats for both people and pets, raised $4,500. A raffle for a diamond and sapphire ring donated by Bob’s Jewel Shop raised thousands more, and was won by Ginger Martin, who adopted her canine companion Ebony from the humane society in 2013.
Snippets of the evening’s conversation involved animals both adopted and fostered, the latter of which, as Harling pointed out, is essential to the humane society’s mission of finding permanent homes for as many animals as possible.
“Only about five or six percent of them were adopted locally,” he said. So what do we do with the rest of them? Many of these animals are transported up north, because unlike the local laws that we have, northern states have very strict spay and neuter laws and so they don’t have a lot of stray dogs and cats walking the streets like we do.”
The humane society transports dozens of dogs at a time to Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Many animals wait in temporary foster homes, freeing up space in the shelter while a rescue or home is coordinated.
“We need people to foster: you can keep a dog for one night, two nights, or for the next week or two months, whatever you want to do,” said Harling. “If you ever wonder about getting a dog, this is kind of like rent-a-dog.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.