Friends, animal lovers at annual Humane Society Gala

Nov 2, 2019

North Dartmouth’s Humane Society and Shelter Southcoast was transformed on Saturday night for its annual ‘Give Me Shelter’ Gala fundraiser.

The lobby that usually holds squawking birds and a few volunteers was filled instead with people in finery chatting under festive lights and over pre-dinner drinks and snacks.

More than 200 guests perused silent auction tables of more than 160 donated items including pet supplies, artwork, jewelry and baskets of wine, gift certificates to local businesses, flights, vacations, and more.

There was also a raffle and a ring toss game where participants bought rings to throw over bottles of wine ⁠— some of which came with gift certificates ⁠— and a live auction and entertainment after dinner, which was catered by Fay’s Restaurant of Dartmouth.

But for many the real draw was the animals.

“Everyone should come and find themselves a pet,” said New Bedford resident Tony Vieira, who admitted he does not have a pet. 

“Unfortunately I’m deathly allergic,” he said thickly. “I’m a huge cat lover…But it’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. So that’s why I’m actually thinking about bunnies.”

“Every time I come here I leave with one of their dogs,” laughed Samantha Steward of Barnstable, as she made friends with 8-month-old mountain cur mix Callie.

Meanwhile Dartmouth summer resident Deb Baker reminisced about getting her dog Mary from the shelter years ago.

“She’s teeny, and she’s on a blanket,” said Baker of the day they met. “She literally looked me straight in the eye, and it was like ‘I don’t know why I’m here.’”

Baker learned that the dog had been a companion to an older lady who died, and was trapped in the house with her for days before the body was discovered.

“New Bedford police break down the door, and this little dog who’s at that point maybe three pounds will not let the police near her master, who is dead on the floor...So they had to call for animal control.”

The dog went straight home with her. 

“She’s gonna be 17 this year,” she said with a smile.

Baker and the other guests were very supportive of the shelter.

“I just think it’s an amazing facility,” said Vieira.

“They do an amazing job here,” Baker said. “They’re so caring, they’re so loving...They love animals. They take dogs here that other shelters don’t take. Every single person who works here is an angel.”

As for the gala itself, everyone seemed to be having a good time.

“It’s always fun,” said Karen Nourse of Westport, who got her two dogs at the shelter. 

This is the fifth gala that Nourse has attended, and she was browsing silent auction items. “It’s fun to look at the things,” she said.

She noted that she had already placed bids on several items, including a ukulele.

“Or there’s a condo over there that I’ve stayed in,” she added, indicating an item announcing a 6-day off-season stay in Provincetown. “It’s beautiful. Oh my god, it’s gorgeous. The water comes right underneath the deck.”

“The food is much better this year,” Vieira said with a laugh. “There’s great things in the raffle, there’s good food, and there’s beautiful animals. What more do you need?”