Under a clear Saturday sky, PAWS of Grays Harbor brought together dogs, drinks and the denizens of the county in a fundraiser to help refit the shelter’s ailing air conditioning.
The fundraiser, held at Red Cedar, was a salutary success, said Executive Director Anna Boeche.
“It became apparent that we need to plan bigger next year,” Boeche said in a phone interview, describing the hundreds of people that came to the venue on Riverside Drive for the fundraiser on Saturday. “At least 200! Honestly, we didn’t know what to expect.”
While the final accounting isn’t finished yet, Boeche said the outlook was optimistic.
“We’re waiting on proceeds from the food truck and the actual pints,” Boeche said. “So far, it looks like we are going to exceed what we were hoping for and we should be able to pay for the repairs.”
For many, it was that sense of togetherness that made the event.
“It’s great attendance,” said Diane Dudley, who attended with dogs Sage and Mia. “It’s great to see the community come out.”
The dogs also seemed to enjoy the event, with many dressed in costumes, photographed professionally alongside their people, and generally enjoying the crowd.
“She loves it! She’s having a blast,” said Inge Johnson, a longtime PAWS volunteer and employee, speaking on behalf of her pup Dixie, who declined personally to comment. “All the animals and the people. … Everyone is getting along great.”
The community turnout was wonderful to see, Boeche said.
“I think every piece of it was a hit. What I saw, it was really making community connections. We saw people we hadn’t seen in a long time,” Boeche said. “Everyone was socializing, talking it up and having a good time with one another.”
Events like the silent auction and professional dog photoshoots were well-received, Boeche said, especially the dog costume contest.
“People sure did have their animals dressed up,” Boeche said. “I’m glad I wasn’t a judge; it would have been difficult to choose.”
People were queuing for the event even before the scheduled start, Boeche said.
“I think I was surprised how many people were there out front at the very beginning,” Boeche said. “We had people ready to party before we were even ready to start.”
Boeche thanked everyone and their dogs for coming out and making it a day.
“We’re really grateful and thankful for everyone who showed up and participated,” Boeche said. “We are really just overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity.”
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.