Fur Ball fundraises for animal shelter

Event earns a quarter to a third of humane society’s annual budget, allows injury treatment, sterilization



Ziggy, 10-month-old American pitbull, boxer mix, walks in the Pet Parade at the Whitman County Humane Society Fur Ball on Saturday at the SEL event center. The event featured adoptable pets from the humane society.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

The Whitman County Humane Society (WCHS) celebrated its 12th annual Fur Ball this weekend.

The Fur Ball is the humane society’s largest fundraiser and raised approximately $53,000. Approximately 300 supporters of the humane society attended.

“This event is so important to us because it’s when we raise a quarter to a third of our annual budget,” said Kym Darling, president of the WCHS Board of Directors. “We don’t get any federal funding. All our funds are by donation, membership and a contract with the city for stray animals. We’re self-supporting.”

The evening began with the “Yappy Hour,” the humane society’s version of happy hour, and a chance for attendees to bid on silent auction items, peruse the live auction lots and meet the stars of the night — the animals.

“It’s all about the animals tonight,” attendee Sarah DeVleming said. “I love all the money that gets donated to the humane society, being so passionate about shelter animals myself. It’s such a great cause, and I love coming every year and dressing up.”

DeVleming came this year dressed as Mermaid Man.

The silent auction items consisted of Coug gear, pet-themed artwork, gift cards and pet accessories. Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a 52-card raffle for a car detailing and gas card valued at $450. The raffle raised over $1,000 alone.

Many attendees were dressed as their favorite superheroes or supervillains, as the theme of the evening was to “show off your super paw’ers.” Darling said many regular supporters attend every year and enjoy the theme. Many wore T-shirts bearing their favorite hero logos, and others wore head-to-toe hero garb.

Happy Day Catering served dinner and celebrity servers facilitated. Some celebrity servers were Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins, Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers and Bryan Slinker, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. The celebrity servers then showed off the pets of the evening with a parade.

Mayor Glenn Johnson, the master of ceremonies for the Fur Ball, presented seven adoptable pets to attendees. They were two cats and five dogs, including Luke, a 9-year-old cattle dog and pit bull mix who came to the shelter with several health issues. The Hope Fund saved his life.

“If we have an animal that has a severe injury that can be fixed but it’s really expensive, we don’t have the funds to spend that on every animal, so we have the Hope Fund,” Darling said. “If the prognosis for the animal is good [and] they’ll have a good quality of life and get adopted, the board votes.”

WCHS board member Kylene Daschofsky then presented the Lauren McCluskey Cat Wing expansion and remodel. Before attending the University of Utah, McCluskey volunteered regularly at the humane society and helped socialize cats to allow them to become more adoptable.

The McCluskey family and other local donors established the Lauren McCluskey Cat Wing that would allow WCHS to double the number of cats and kittens it can house. A paddle raise to support the new wing raised money specifically for the wing later in the evening.

“The presentation is one of my favorite parts because that is what our focus is on,” Darling said. “It’s important to recognize the building fund and what the McCluskey family did for us — we’re all about education.”

The live auction and raffle winner announcement closed out the evening. The live auction included a wide range of items — homemade cheesecake, pendants made of Tanzanite and Russian Chrome Diopside, and 25 hours of work from five members of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

WCHS has several programs that benefit from the Fur Ball, such as the Hope Fund and the SNAP Program. The SNAP Program offers vouchers to low income individuals to help spay and neuter their pets.

“If you don’t have critters out there breeding indiscriminately, we’d be out of a job, which would be wonderful,” Darling said.

Many WCHS volunteers organized and facilitated the event, including Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity members. The “Top Dog Sponsor” for the event was Pullman’s Wysup Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership.

The Whitman County Humane Society is a no-kill shelter and is open from 1-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is located at 1340 SE Old Moscow Road in Pullman. Volunteers can apply online on the WCHS website.