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Bow-Wow Meow Ball

Story and pictures by May Eynon

The community came together for the second annual benefit for the Aspen/Pitkin Animal Shelter last month. The Bow-Wow Meow Ball was held on Saturday, July 31, at the Circle R Ranch in Woody Creek. More than 300 guests packed Cheryl and Sam Wyly’s barn for the soiree. According to the amount of their donation, partygoers were cleverly assigned to certain tables, ranging from “mixed breed” to “lead dog” to “best in show.”The ringleader of the benefit, Seth Sachson, serves as the president of the board of directors for the Aspen/Pitkin Animal Shelter Capital Campaign. He also operates the present shelter under an agreement with the city of Aspen.The 32-year-old shelter has been home to Aspen’s many abandoned and lost animals, but it has deteriorated over the years. The need for a new facility has been established through independent research and has been acknowledged by both the city of Aspen and Pitkin County. Once finished, the new shelter will be completely self-sustaining and the staff will take responsibility for covering all the operating costs, primarily through an on-site boarding facility. All donations to the campaign will be one-time gifts and tax-deductible. In appreciation for their generosity, donors will be recognized with permanent plaques throughout the shelter. Numerous naming opportunities are also being offered, including the naming of the new building itself.The county has donated most of a one-acre site for the new shelter and the city has agreed to contribute the remainder of the site along with $500,000 to assist with building costs. The remaining $2,400,000 must be raised through private donations, including those from the Bow-Wow Meow Ball.In addition to ticket sales, a silent auction and live auction generated funds at the ball. Guests were also invited to invest in the 2005 Animal Shelter calendar campaign coordinated by board member Adam Goldsmith. For $250, animal lovers can include a photo of their pet(s) in the weekly calendar’s inaugural edition.”I’m ecstatic to see my best little buddy on the billboard,” said Sharon Mahoney, whose photo of her cat Maaco was enlarged into a promotional poster for the calendar sales.Another creative opportunity for donors was presented by Heather Stevenson of Aspen Tile. For a donation, Aspen Tile will make a picture of one’s pet into a hand-painted tile. Aspen Tile will produce two tiles – one for the donor and the other one to be installed in the shelter.A buffet dinner by Backdoor Catering was accompanied by wine and ale. Flying Dog Brewery provided the beer – an appropriately labeled beverage for an evening in the barn.Singer/guitarist Dan Sheridan performed at the party as well as “a mix of stray musicians,” said Jimmy Dykann of Emma, who played with the band after dinner.The live auction featured a premier ski pass from Aspen Skiing Company, two Trek road bikes donated by Charlie Tarver of the Hub, a jeweled choker, and the cover photo opportunity for the shelter’s 2005 pet calendar. On hand were Seth’s parents, Richard and Gail Sachson, who emanated respect and appreciation for the cause. “We are so proud of our son and so grateful to everyone for supporting the shelter and his dream,” said Gail. “There’s just a warm feeling in the air tonight.”Throughout the evening at the ranch, shelter animals were escorted around and introduced to guests and prospective new owners.Board member Al Dietsch adopted shelter dog Zoe at the party, to Seth’s delight. “I’d like to add that many purebred dogs come into the shelter,” said Seth. “I consider them diamonds in the rough.” Seth singled out Cheryl Wyly for generously donating the use of her barn at the Circle R Ranch for the benefit. “Cheryl’s the newest addition to our board of directors and has been instrumental in our success with the shelter campaign,” said Julie Puchkoff, a fellow member of the board.”Cheryl loves to save animals,” said her husband Sam Wyly. “When I’m reincarnated, I want to come back as her dog.”For more information about pledges, dogs or cats for adoption, or the Aspen/Pitkin Animal Shelter Campaign, contact Seth Sachson at 544-0206 or dogsaspen@sopris.net, or visit http://www.dogsaspen.com.To contact May to send info, insight or invites, e-mail allthewaymaymay@hotmail.com


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