First-Ever Comics 4 Critters: Puppies, Laughs and a Prince

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Cute puppies, a comedy show…and a prince? Comics 4 Critters knocked it out of the park with a Gotta Love It trifecta in its inaugural fundraiser for the Zoology Foundation and Animal Aid USA. Who says Tuesday nights are boring? On Nov. 15, more than 100 animal lovers made a beeline to Comedy Works South for an event that included a lively cocktail reception with puppies and a prince, auction items, tasty bites (that’s food, not puppy nips!), and heartwarming animal-rescue stories complemented by hearty laughter.

Sarah Bushong-Weeks chats with friends

Sarah Bushong-Weeks chats with friends

The evening began with adult beverages, a silent auction, and photo opps with rescue puppies and animal advocate/“The Bachelor” personality Prince Lorenzo Borghese. Guests adjourned to the showroom for supper favorites ordered off the menu, and comedian-emcee Geoff Young entertained with a spirited comedy set. Animal Aid USA co-founders Borghese and Karen Talbot talked about the organization’s beginnings and its concentrated rescue efforts and successes. A short video detailed the Zoology Foundation’s SBW Rapid Response Rescue program and animal sanctuary near Larkspur, and benefactor Sarah Bushong-Weeks was recognized onstage for her support. Young presided over a live auction, and event chair Sarah Tredennick and committee member/volunteer Elizabeth Baker were honored onstage for their hard work. The evening ended with lots of laughs from Denver-based comic Pam VanNostern, followed by headliner Brad Upton.

Comics inspired laughs like this all evening.

Comics inspired laughs like this all evening.

The Zoology Foundation’s mission is to promote and facilitate educational programs regarding animal respect and welfare, and to support those organizations that work for the betterment of animals. Its animal sanctuary is a safe haven for rescued and rehabilitated animals, and tours are offered for children and adults to learn about and engage with the various species there. Animal sponsorships directly benefit the care of a chosen animal and its friends. Legacy donors underwrite programs and they become an integral team member of the foundation. With more than 100 animals at the sanctuary, volunteer opportunities are available as well. Every donation, 100 percent, goes directly to the care of sanctuary animals and to many more across the nation who need a second chance. To learn more, please visit ZoologyFoundation.org, or for information on how Zoology Foundation can enhance your life or your event, contact Executive Director Valerie Young at VYoung@ZoologyFoundation.org.

Rebecca Crofoot and Scotter

Rebecca Crofoot and Scotter

Created in January of 2012 by a small group of animal lovers, Animal Aid USA is a 100-percent volunteer organization dedicated to helping animals. Through its rescue-and-relocation model, the organization has created a lifeline for unwanted, abused and abandoned animals in the southern states while also helping animals and their families in home communities. Each month, volunteers drive more than 1,600 miles from New Jersey to Georgia and back in order to relocate animals from high-kill shelters to receiving rescues and homes. To date, the organization has rescued and provided veterinary care to more than 14,000 pets. In addition, Animal Aid USA raises money to fund spay and neuter programs in low-income communities and raise awareness of the legal animal cruelties happening daily in the United States–such as the gas chamber, cardiac heart stick euthanasia and puppy mills. The members of Animal Aid USA believe that providing the proper education and resources can change the future of unwanted, abused and abandoned animals. To learn more, please visit: AnimalAidUSA.org.

 

Party Animals Flock to MaxFund's Whiskers In The Night

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It’s not unusual for eventgoers to pass around phones during an event, admiring photos of each other’s kids. At MaxFund’s 28th annual Puttin’ On the Max fundraiser, phones were out in full force—but in this case, the “kids” images were beloved pets. On Saturday, Nov. 5, the “Whiskers in the Night”-themed event attracted 350 glammed-up animal lovers who were treated to an evening full of niceties at The Brown Palace Hotel.

Kitty ears and a smile during the Pet Parade

Kitty ears and a smile during the Pet Parade

The pre-dinner reception was highlighted by an extensive silent auction complemented by passed hors d’oeuvres. Guests adjourned to the ballroom for a sit-down dinner and program emceed by Britt Moreno, CBS4 morning anchor. MaxFund co-founder Bill Suro spoke to the crowd about the organization’s beginnings and was featured in an emotional, educational video that focused on animal stories at the no-kill shelter.

This cute chihuahua was a crowd-pleaser at the Pet Parade.

This cute chihuahua was a crowd-pleaser at the Pet Parade.

The always-anticipated Pet Parade put the spotlight on a handful of adorable, adoptable shelter animals. It was followed by a live auction run by Halie Behr, and a call for donations that was answered by numerous generous supporters.

Co-founder Nanci Suro spoke about MaxFund’s successes overall and in the past year, and architect Pete Pappas showed the audience plans for shelter additions and enhancements. The evening was capped off by talented singer and personality Lannie Garrett, who wowed the crowd with both her vocals and her antics as alter-ego country diva Patsy DeCline.

Big finish as Patsy DeCline (aka, Lannie Garrett) sings: "If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time."

Big finish as Patsy DeCline (aka, Lannie Garrett) sings: “If you’ve got the money, honey, I’ve got the time.”

MaxFund is a true no-kill animal shelter and adoption center that challenges the traditional methods of animal sheltering by leading the no-kill movement in Colorado. Participants strive to give animals–including the injured, abandoned and abused–a “second chance at life.” In 2015, 1,236 dogs and cats were adopted from MaxFund, and 6,289 dogs and cats were spayed and neutered. Since inception, great forever homes have been found for 30,533 dogs and cats. Money raised at Puttin’ on the Max this year is geared toward MaxFund’s capital campaign: expanding the shelter to an adjoining property to be able to help even more homeless companion animals. To learn more about MaxFund, please visit: www.maxfund.org.

Freedom Service Dogs' Annual Diamonds in the Ruff

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It seems there wasn’t dry eye in the house after watching the video at the “Diamonds in the Ruff” fundraiser, depicting the bond between a service dog and its owner. The amount of love, dedication and completion that comes from both sides is a forceful, beautiful thing.

A packed house of supporters at the Infinity Park Events Center concurred. Just under $90,000 was raised in the paddle raiser alone ($30,000 coming from avid supporter Gilda Kaplin). President and CEO Michele Ostrander and Board Chair Tom Scanlan voiced their appreciation for the commitment of advocates, whether it be in time, money or other volunteer efforts.

Emcee TaRhonda Thomas of 9News and auctioneer/funny guy Reggie Rivers made the program fast-paced and lively. There was a demonstration from special service dogs Blade, Yahtze and Otto and their trainers that again brought home the point of why this program is so successful. The event was concluded by a moving “Thank You” rendition by high school songstress Ramya Sinha.

Freedom Service Dogs is a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by rescuing dogs and custom training them for individual client needs. Clients include children, veterans and active duty military, and other adults. Their disabilities include autism, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The waiting list can be up to a year and a half for a Freedom Service Dog and that can be an eternity for someone in need of a special partner. Log on to www.freedomservicedogs.org and learn how you can help.

Oh yes, and a very happy 7th birthday to Cargo!!

Pawpurrazzi! You're a Star at Puttin' On the Max

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Denver’s party animals were out in full force at this year’s Puttin’ On the Max gala to benefit MaxFund…and it went beyond the furry, four-legged participants in the pet parade. With a “Pawpurrazzi” Hollywood theme, 350 fun-loving guests hit The Brown Palace Hotel on Saturday, Nov. 7, for a glitzy gala to support Denver’s respected no-kill animal shelter and adoption center.

The 27th annual fundraiser began with a red-carpet cocktail reception and an extensive array of live- and silent-auction items amid splashy décor worthy of any star-studded celebration. Guests were equally as stylish in black-tie attire, with some taking up the “dress as your favorite movie star” suggestion.

"Johnny Depp" and "Audrey Hepburn"

“Johnny Depp” and
“Audrey Hepburn”

The evening’s dinner program was emceed by Denver’s favorite CBS4 weather and news anchor Ed Greene. MaxFund co-founders Bill and Nanci Suro told the crowd about the organization’s successes and monetary needs and thanked supporters, singling out Dr. Edward Eisner, vet tech Mario Alba (and Hercules the cat). With help from his grandson, Bill presented a tribute to sponsors with a series of skits. The program continued with a costume contest followed by a witty comedy set from veterinarian-comic Kevin Fitzgerald. The grand finale: a short pet parade featuring a group of MaxFund’s adorable, adoptable residents. Naturally, felines were the cat’s meow and canines were all top dog.

Dora awaits her red-carpet appearance.

Dora awaits her red-carpet appearance.

MaxFund is a true no-kill animal shelter and adoption center that challenges the traditional methods of animal sheltering by leading the no-kill movement in Colorado. The organization strives to give animals—including the injured, abandoned and abused—a second chance at life. MaxFund is committed to develop and implement education programs pertaining to animal care, with emphasis on the importance of spaying and neutering…and to be a voice for the animals on issues of animal welfare. The organization cooperates with other animal facilities and shelters to accomplish these goals. For more information, please visit www.maxfund.org.