"A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself."
More than 200 dog lovers from cities in Northern Ohio gathered at Medina Country Club October 6 in support of the work done by Lake Erie Labrador Retriever Rescue Inc., an independent organization made up of all volunteers dedicated to the rescue and re-homing of homeless Labrador Retrievers.
LELRR President Ed Nofziger welcomed everyone and thanked them for their continuing support in carrying out the organization's mission "to preserve and protect the Labrador Retriever breed through rescue and public education." The attendees were people who realize the important impact dogs have in their lives.
"My heart is held by the paws of a Labrador Retriever."
Guests mingled, visited, and enjoyed hors d'oeuvres as they looked over an attractive, expansive array of 30 silent auction items and as many raffle baskets. Almost every raffle basket was specifically dog-themed in a variety of clever ways.
Raffle donors were: Janet Cannon, Alycia Cohara, Diane Furiga, Linda Hahn, Carol Hall, Linda McKenna, Mary McMillen, Polly Nielsen, Karen and Ed Nofziger, Rhonda and Brian Raines, Abbie Slovan, Fran Terry, Carruth Studio, Sue Wright/The Bird Store and More, Cleveland Women's Orchestra, and Jean Kolleck(Treasures in Nature).
Special thanks went to Brian Edgehouse/Velocity Direct, for printing the program and auction catalog, and The Cute Little Cake Shop for the donation of delicious treats.
The Country Club served an elaborate buffet supper after which a very moving video prepared by Diane Furiga was shown. In the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the dog, an animal that symbolizes loyalty. That recurring theme demonstrated one of the many significant quotes of the evening.
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." Roger Caras.
The video was an overview of the animals that had been rescued during the previous year. The rescue and rehabilitation of Bella, Tank, Dozer, Tito, and so many others was undeniable evidence of why this dedicated group does so much to accomplish its mission: save these animals.
The examples in the video displayed every emotion imaginable, from tender, touching, funny, and 'aw' moments to visually graphic photos of pathetically abused and neglected dogs. The most heartwarming, encouraging scenes showed the change from before to after, clearly healthy views of successful missions and happy dogs adopted by loving families. The video concluded with a poem, "Why God Made Dogs," that "said it all."
LELRR was originally founded in 1994, then called Lake Erie Labrador Retriever Club. It was incorporated as LELRR Inc and has had 501 (c) (3) status since 1999. Since then, it has saved more than 1,000 dogs in 21 Ohio Counties plus counties in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In the last three years, LELRR has spent more than $50,000 each year in veterinary care; that does not include the cost of food and boarding expenses.
The event's Gold Sponsors were The Lausters, Carol and Graham Hall, and one anonymous donor. Silver Sponsors were Litchfield Veterinary Clinic, Broadview Animal and Bird Hospital, CRU Solutions, Western Farm Pet Crematory and Cemetery, Elizabeth Karl, and Long Island Labrador Retriever Rescue Inc., in loving memory of Sandee Nastasi. There were countless Bronze and Friends of the Rescue sponsors.
The Gala Committee included Melissa Dundr, Diane Furiga, Melissa Gelsinger, Abby Kirkland, Kevin Maloney, Rosanne Maloney, Ed Nofziger, Rhonda Raines, Barb Redinger, Liz Schwinn, Mike Schwinn, and Co-founder Sarah Steiner.
"If you've never loved a dog, a part of your heart has never opened."