Stray kittens, mama dogs with litters, and countless other pets will find lifesaving care at the Connecticut Humane Society, thanks to animal lovers who raised nearly $40,000 at CHS’ Diamonds in the Ruff event.
The Saturday, Sept. 16, dinner and auction fundraiser at The North House in Avon welcomed more than 100 guests and celebrated pets and second chances. The night wouldn’t have been complete without furry VIPs—Teddy and Knight, two CHS foster puppies, came for a meet-and-greet, gaining a pack of new admirers and filling the cocktail hour with an endless chorus of “Aww”s and squeals.
Guests also enjoyed complimentary drinks, a gourmet dinner, live and silent auctions, music and dancing, a photo booth and animal trivia. And while the evening will save lives of pets who find themselves at CHS’ doorstep in the coming months, it was also a time to share success stories of those who found their new families this year.
“Pets come to CHS in so many different ways. Some, because their owners are experiencing personal difficulties. Others are from shelters across the state through our partnerships with animal control officers. Every pet has a story,” CHS Board of Directors President Ellen Sharon told the crowd.
One of those success stories highlighted Akira, a young husky who came to CHS from a municipal animal control partner and had a deformed front leg that made it difficult and uncomfortable to walk and play. CHS’ medical team amputated the leg, giving Akira the freedom she craved. After a few weeks of monitoring and check-ups, Akira found family members who now can’t imagine their lives without her.
Another story featured Sapphire, a black terrier mix. She’d found herself in a shelter in Texas. Then Hurricane Harvey hit, and everything changed. When her shelter needed room for pets who were separated from family members and waiting to reunite with them, Sapphire and 21 other dogs came to CHS. After being medically cleared by CHS’ veterinarians, she found a new home in Connecticut and officially became a New Englander.
“But we’re also here tonight because there are more animals in crisis who need us. Who need you. And you saw some of those pets tonight when you arrived,” CHS Executive Director Gordon G. Willard said in The North House’s ballroom. “So thank you, again, for being here tonight and making it possible to change the lives of pets and families across the state of Connecticut every single day.”
NBC Connecticut news anchor Heidi Voight, the event’s guest emcee and last year’s inductee into CHS’ Gertrude O. Lewis Humanitarian Society, noted how many pets across the state received support from CHS in 2016.
“In 2016, CHS helped over 15,000 pets between its adoption program, free Pet Wellness Clinic days, the Pet Food Pantry, the low-fee Fox Memorial Clinic, and partnerships with municipal animal control officers and private rescue groups. It’s folks like you and the staff and volunteers of the Connecticut Humane Society who are making this lifesaving work possible,” she told Diamonds guests.
Proceeds from the event will support medical needs of all animals in CHS’ three locations in Newington, Waterford and Westport, including spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations. The event’s title sponsor was Hill’s Pet Nutrition, presenting sponsors were RKD Alpha Dog and Columbia Threadneedle Investments, and gold sponsors were Idexx and Titan Energy New England.
CHS serves pets from all over the state through its three Pet Wellness and Adoption Centers, as well as through the Fox Memorial Clinic, a donor-subsidized, low-fee veterinary clinic open to the public at the Newington location.