Las Vegas has many reputations, but did you know Las Vegas is also a compassionate town when it comes to homeless animals?
Last week, three events were organized to help rescue and find homes for otherwise unwanted pets. The first event, sponsored by the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was on my list because a friend insisted I attend. The Champagne and High Tea affair was held at the Spanish Trail Golf & Country Club and featured a number of local entertainers including Zowie Bowie and Pia Zadora. (Yes, Pia Zadora lives in Las Vegas and has resumed her singing career.) I was late in registering for this event and when I called …..sold out! That’s good news for the organization ($150 a ticket), and my friend reported the event was “great”.
My husband and I did make it to a small house party held not far from where we live. The house party was a fundraising/adoption/social event co-sponsored by the Southern Nevada Beagle Rescue Foundation and the Beagle Freedom Project. (We have two beagles.) The Southern Nevada Beagle Rescue Foundation is a resource for abused and neglected beagles. The organization’s members help to find homes for the animals in their care. The rescue organization also hopes eventually to have its own shelter. The Beagle Freedom Project attempts to rescue beagles that have been raised specifically for medical testing. Some 65,000 dogs are currently used for medical testing, many of them beagles because of their size and docile personalities.The Beagle Freedom Project hopes eventually that all medical testing on dogs can be banned.
The most well-publicized dog-related event of last week was The Animal Foundation’s 10th Annual “Best in Show” event held at the Orleans Arena. In this event, in addition to a VIP brunch and silent auction, a number of dogs are up for adoption. The dogs are chosen long in advance of the show so their photos and a description are in the show brochure. Traditionally, every dog participating in the show is adopted.
My husband and I once had a “show” beagle and attended a number of dog shows. I’d never been that impressed with how show dogs walk around the show ring; I’m more impressed with actual tricks. But after seeing the amateurs at Best in Show, I now have more respect for what dog handlers accomplish. At Best in Show, Zappos employees walked (or carried) the dogs around the ring and not all the dogs were happy with the experience. They wiggled; their heads were down; some even tried to take a nap (or something else) along the route. Nonetheless, the dogs had all been beautifully photographed and, we’re told, eventually found permanent homes. Among the local celebrities appearing on behalf of the Animal Foundation were Clint Holmes, the cast of The Million Dollar Quartet, Holly Madison, Siegfried and Roy, Leticia Castro, Beth Fisher, John Huck, Gerard Ramalho and Denise Valdez.