By David Rogers. September 17, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Whether Chuck Connors, John Wayne or Fess Parker show up at Blowing Rock Country Club Saturday night for the Watauga Humane Society’s 21st Annual “Fur Ball,” a Wild Wild West theme is sure to bring out the best in the cowgirls and cowpokes showin’ up to support one of the High Country’s most popular causes.
The 2018 Fur Ball Chair, Alice Roess stopped by the Blowing Rock News office on Monday to provide details about this year’s event, the Watauga Humane Society’s biggest fundraiser.
“Every year,” Roess said in describing the need for community support, “over 2,100 animals are cared for in one way or another by our staff and the incredible team of volunteers. Last winter, emergency repairs and necessary upgrades to our heating system unexpectedly chewed up $25,000 and other maintenance requirements pushed that amount up to over $50,000, even with a good amount of services donated or sold to us at significant discounts. Housing, feeding, and addressing the health needs of so many animals until they can be placed in either foster homes or forever homes is a monumental task. And up here in the High Country during the winter, providing heat for the animals is mandatory.
“But maintenance to our wonderful facility is not a cost,” added Roess, “but an investment in the future of the Watauga Humane Society and its ability to continue to care for the homeless animals that need our help. We are so fortunate to have so many people who understand that need. The Fur Ball is a way that we can all get together and have some fun doing something incredible for the community and for these animals.”
We give the animals time. We give them a chance.
According to information available on the Humane Society of the U.S. website, the number of homeless pets in the United State is down roughly 38% from 1973, but today’s total still represents eight million (8,000,000) animals that are either surrendered by their owners as unwanted or picked up as strays and turned into one of the approximately 3,500 shelters in the U.S. That national average of almost 2,300 animals per shelter is very much in line with Watauga Humane Society’s 2,100 served in the last year.
“Why are homeless pets such a problem?” Roess asked Blowing Rock News, rhetorically. “Well, we’ve done the math. If you think just about the reproductive cycles of dogs and cats, one unspayed female dog and her offspring can churn out approximately 67,000 puppies in just six years. And cats? Just one female cat and her offspring can produce more than 420,000 new cats within seven years. Of the animals we have coming into the shelter, only about 10% of them have been spayed or neutered. Do you see the problem?
“There isn’t just one dog and one cat out there producing offspring,” Roess continued. “There are an estimated 70 MILLION stray dogs and cats living just in the U.S. And that number doesn’t count the pets in forever homes being loved, or in those dreadful puppy mills producing offspring very intentionally.”
The High Country community has an opportunity to help address the problem regionally while having a hoedown good time on Saturday at the Fur Ball. The attire for this year’s event is especially comfortable. Whether your Western style comes in the form of Levis, Wranglers, Trave, Gucci, KowTow, or Ralph Lauren, comfort is the name of the game at BRCC on Saturday night. Tickets are $120 per person, $1200 for a Table of Ten. Sponsor opportunities are also available, including:
- Top Sheriff in Town: $24,000 and up (includes 40 tickets)
- Outlaw Jesse James: $12,000 (includes 20 tickets)
- Outlaw Wild Bill: $6,000 (includes 10 tickets)
- Outlaw Billy the Kid: $1,200 (includes 2 tickets)
The agenda for the evening:
- Silent Auction in the Laurel Room (5:00 pm to 6:30 pm)
- Dinner at the Chuck Wagon (6:30 pm)
- Live Auction with Jesse Miller (7:15 pm to 7:30 pm)
- Dancing with The Lucky Strikes (7:30 pm to 10:30 pm)
“The work of shelters like the Watauga Humane Society is particularly important,” concluded Roess. “Because of these shelter actively working to address the problem of homeless pets and other animals, over the years there are increased numbers of animals being adopted into forever homes and an increasing number of the strays being returned to their owners. Really, it comes down to just having enough time, giving these animals a chance. Because of the community’s generous financial support, we have a pretty good record in not having to euthanize dogs and cats. Between January and April this year, we took in 311 dogs and 266 cats. We have only had to euthanize two dogs, either because of significant aggression and they don’t respond to training, or they have had an untreatable illness or injury. Same story with cats, where we only euthanized three during that four-month period. Because of the community’s financial support, we are giving these animals a chance to find forever homes or, if strayed, to be returned to their owners.”
Tickets to the 2018 Fur Ball can be purchased online at www.wataugahumane.org/donate. Checks should be made payable to Watauga Humane Society, c/o Alice Roess, P O Box 83, Blowing Rock, NC 28605. Roess’s phone number is 828-295-7384. Her email address is email@example.com.