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Feasting with our furry, four-legged friends

It isn't often that dog owners get to take their four-legged friends out for a nice dinner - usually, Fido is just wistfully drooling at your feet in the privacy of your own home.

It isn't often that dog owners get to take their four-legged friends out for a nice dinner - usually, Fido is just wistfully drooling at your feet in the privacy of your own home. (Which is unfortunate, because I often get the sense that most dogs would probably behave better than small children in restaurants. Seriously. I'm just throwing this out there, but does anyone else like the idea of "family rooms" in restaurants?)

But the tables are set to turn later this month, as the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa is once again opening up their dining room doors to our canine comrades, welcoming owners and their dogs to the eighth annual K9 Dine and Wine dinner, in support of Whistler Animals Galore (WAG).

Of course, not all animals are as polite as people when they don't get along with their fellow dinner guests, but things shouldn't get too chaotic: the four-legged diners will be busy digging into their gourmet three-course feast, complete with vintage "Pinot Growlio," while their human companions enjoy a delicious buffet.

In case you don't already know, WAG is a local organization that acts as a safety net for lost, abandoned and abused animals in the Sea to Sky region, ensuring that all animals are treated humanely and with respect. Their services include (but are not limited to) veterinary care, spaying and neutering, training, socialization and re-homing services, an Emergency and Critical Care Fund that provides surgery and emergency and critical care to special cases, the Financial Assistance for Neuter and Spay (FANS) program for low income residents of the region, and ongoing Wellness Clinics for animals in Mount Currie.

The dinner, which takes place on Saturday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m., is a very important annual fundraiser for the non-profit organization. WAG receives about 28 per cent of operating costs from the municipality. The organization relies on corporate and individual donors and sponsors, fundraising events and other local activities for the remaining 72 per cent of funds.

"This year, we've added the opportunity to take a turn on our Red Carpet. Wear your finest, dress up your dog and be captured in the flashbulbs of our local Pup-erazzi," WAG's executive director, Paula Del Bosco, said in a release.

In addition to a decadent dinner and the red carpet experience, the evening also features entertainment by the charming and talented G. Willy, with Whistler Councillor Chris Quinlan emceeing. Bring a few extra bucks and get in on the 50/50 draw and silent auction action, where a night in the Four Seasons' presidential suite will be raffled off.

Last year, the K9 Wine and Dine dinner was a sold-out affair, so anyone interested in attending Whistler's premiere pet event should get their tickets ASAP, by calling 604-935-8364.


An extra scoop

Despite the fact that temperatures soared well above the mid-30s on Sunday, Pemberton's 2010 Slow Food Cycle was a great success, with almost 3,000 food-loving cyclists turning up to make their way along the Pemberton Meadows Road, tasting goodies from the surrounding farms.

I was one of the many people who started in the Village of Pemberton and sweated my way along the 25-kilometre route. (I must confess, I skipped the final two stops and headed back at the Shaw Creek Farm, 20 kilometres in.) Along the way, we sampled plenty of treats, including homemade cookies, Schrammenade (Schramm vodka lemonade) and organic beef burgers from Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef. But our group easily burned off the calories we consumed along the way, so it was a guilt-free day of indulgence, really, and we were happy to get a chance to check out what our local farmers and food producers have been up to, while soaking up some sun.

Organizer Anna Helmer is "very pleased" with this year's turnout. She said they have received very positive feedback from riders, farmers and vendors and are already looking forward to next year's ride - and so am I!