When PAWS and the Humane Society merged in 2009, organizational leaders wanted to come up with a fundraiser that would reflect the change.
During a brainstorming session, one of the board members suggested a talent show “and from there we took it and ran,” said Lori Turner, co-chairman of the Applause for PAWS fundraiser that will take place Friday at the RiverMill Event Center.
The evening will begin with cocktails and a silent auction at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m., followed by entertainment at 8 p.m. Local celebrities and their dogs will entertain guests with tricks and talents.
“These are not professional, highly trained dogs,” said Turner. “It’s just gonna be lots of fun. And funny, too.”
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Terry Hurley, owner of Dinglewood Pharmacy, will participate in the talent competition with his two four-year-old Springer spaniels, Rosie and Buddy.
While Hurley said he and his late wife have always had dogs, he said he’s never imposed any “intricate training.”
“They don’t do tricks,” Hurley said of his pets, adding that a trainer will be working with them before the event. “The biggest problem is going to be training me to train them.”
Two prizes will be awarded on Friday. A panel of judges will select one of the winners based on the performance.
The other prize will be awarded to the dog with the most popular votes. Voting is open now on the Applause for PAWS website and there will also be booths set up for voting at the event.
Every one dollar donated is equal to one vote for the selected dog. People can vote as often as they like and for as many dogs as they like.
The silent auction will stagger to a close between 9:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Items up for bid include vacation packages, artwork, specialty-made dog houses, a quail hunt and more.
The event is family-friendly, but unless they’re part of the entertainment, four-legged friends should be left at home.
“It’s a sit-down dinner,” said Turner, adding that even the talent will be kept in a separate location.