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It's all about the dogs

WAG's fourth annual dinner event a barking success
Plaster cast paw print line-up at WAG's K9 Wine and dine, photo by Vivian Moreau

Whistler’s animal control officer was on a different kind of patrol Sunday evening at Whistler Animals Galore’s (WAG) K9 Wine and Dine at the Hilton Whistler Resort. Placing a bid in the silent auction that helped to raise $9,400 for Whistler’s animal shelter, Kristi Broadbent added her dog Fred’s name to the list for a dog spa treatment.

"Because Fred likes to go to the spa, as do I," Broadbent said.

Close to 100 humans and 60 dogs paid $45 and $20 each to attend the fundraiser that included a three-course meal for both species. As well there was a live and silent auction of over 70 items, including a Desperate Housewives fan kit that sold for $140. Donated by ABC Television the kit included DVDs for season one and two, as well as a tank top worn by actress Teri Hatcher in the first season.

There were also opportunities for plaster paw print casts, dog portraits, and palm readings by Oracle for humans. A slide show of animals adopted in the past few years and a photo collage of injured animals the shelter has cared for were part of the event, as well as music supplied by the Hairfarmers. A canine fashion show wrapped up the evening.

Whistler resident Janis McKenzie brought her Bernese mountain dog, Tuscany, one of the largest dogs present, to the event. She said she came because a lot of her friends have dogs, but at the same moment one of those friends, Karen Davies, leaned in to remark: "This is the only way she can get out."

Vancouver resident Bob McDonald was invited by golden retriever’s Jett’s owner, Whistler resident Jeanie Madigan, a two-dog owner who needed a second pair of hands for Jett.

Amazingly there were no dogfights, although there was an impromptu canine chorus of howls, instigated by a human, WAG manager Joanne Russel said. "It happens every year – it’s my favorite part of the event," she said.

Coffee shop owner Chris Quinlan hosted the auction and noted that WAG is not just about rescuing animals, the shelter is also about educating the public.

"Whistler is totally about the dogs, but just because you come to Whistler and can’t find a girlfriend doesn’t mean you have to get a dog," Quinlan said.

WAG’s budget comes from community enrichment grants, donations, gifts in kind, adoption fees and other smaller fundraisers held throughout the year. Monies raised from the Aug. 27 event will go toward critical care emergency funds and general operating funds.

It was the first time Whistler’s Hilton hosted the event. Director of food and beverage Robert Tan said the event demanded "a different kind of management style," which included shooing away intrigued hotel guests. "They tried to sneak in and we had to say ‘sorry you had to have tickets.’"