Wags to riches

Tahitian dancing, Polynesian fare, dogs decked out in their best leis, and more than a couple celebrities are a few things attendees can expect at the Animal Protection Society’s “Luau on the Lawn” benefit.

“Dress casually, Hawaiian casual,” said Leslie Byron, director of fundraising and development for the Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor.

The festivities will begin at 4 p.m. July 30, at the McDowell Estate, 33 Bullfrog Lane, where it has been hosted for 9 years. Tickets are $100 and are already nearly sold out, according to Byron. Contact the shelter at 360-378-2156 to buy them.

There will be both a live and silent auction. Tickets for the Seahawk versus the Cardinals game, Steve Miller concert tickets, as well as a trip to Maui are among the items up for for auction. Proceeds from the entire event go toward the New Hope New Home capital campaign for the shelter’s new building. Byron said the shelter will not break ground until they reach 80 percent of funds needed, right now they are at 60 percent, and hopefully “Luau on the Lawn” will bring in the needed 20 percent. A new home was needed for the shelter for several reasons, including the size and condition of the current building, and the port’s desire for future use of the property.

Byron, explaining the need for more space, said “Right now, we have the cats right next to the dogs.”

Although the animals are in separate spaces that close proximity is obviously far from ideal, and even against animal protection society guidelines. She added that annually the shelter finds homes for around 100 dogs, and 150 cats. That number is growing partially because over the years they have been networking with shelters across the country, according to Byron, and have even helped find homes for animals around the world.

In order to attain the 80 percent capital fund, goal, major donors stepped up with a Summer Challenge. “Whatever we make during the auction will be matched by some of our donors,” Byron said. Auctioneer Jay Frisk will be helping out with the auctions, while Tahitian dancers and drummers Te fare o Tamatoa willl provide entertainment. Vinnies will be catering the Polynesian dinner, and there will be chicken, pork and vegetarian options.

There will also be the first annual volunteer of the year award, Jan Murphy, APSFH Operation Manager, said, in honor of Amy Lear, called “Compassion in Action.”