Mountain Humane’s annual Dog Days of Summer

Last year’s guests enjoy their meal at Mountain Humane’s annual Dog Days of Summer benefit dinner and gala.

    You’ve probably heard of the Dog Days of Summer, Mountain Humane’s annual benefit dinner and gala; now get ready for Party for Paws, the first-ever benefit concert hosted by the Hailey-based organization.

    The two events will both take place in July, less than a week apart. Dog Days is on Wednesday, July 17 at 5:30 p.m., and the new concert is slated for Sunday, July 21, at 6 p.m.

    “Our goal was to have the two close together,” said Brooke Bonner, Mountain Humane associate director. “Dog Days is our signature marquee, so to speak, with limited seating, and has been selling out quicker than ever. It is the single largest fundraiser to support annual operations, and a more expensive event [than Party for Paws], with a traditional gala structure.”

     Party for Paws totes a less expensive entry fee. At $50, regular concert tickets are $225 cheaper than regular admission to the Dog Days of Summer event, and Bonner said she hopes the smaller price tag will bring in a larger range of people.

     “We’re excited to have [Party for Paws,] an event accessible to community members,” she said. “It’s important to offer something to all members of our community, an easy-entry-type event to get people to come out here during the summer and see our facility.”

    The benefit concert will feature blues and soul singer/songwriter Chris Pierce, and promises a night full of music, food, drinks and friends. Wood River Sustainability, KB’s and Sawtooth Brewery food trucks will all be on-site, giving back 10 percent to Mountain Humane.

    Both Dog Days and Party for Paws will feature an adoptable pet parade, where staff and volunteers get to present some of the shelter’s most sociable pups to guests. Staff members describe the dog—name, age, breed, personality—as the pooch is walked across the stage.

    It’s “just a fun way to connect the party,” Bonner said.

    The proceeds from the two events will benefit Mountain Humane’s annual operations, which include staff salaries and animal care, among other expenses.

    Until last July, Mountain Humane went by a different name, Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley. The name change is intended to encompass the organization’s ever-widening scope.

Mountain Humane serves the entire Wood River Valley, but it has a broader impact than just within Blaine County. As Bonner explained, “county needs come first for us,” but are, “a launching-off point.”

Mountain Humane has long-used its “launching-off point” to include all of Idaho. In 1999, Mountain Humane, then the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, became the first shelter in the state to operate as a “no-kill” facility, meaning that an animal will never be euthanized due to time or space constraints, according to its website.

    Today, Mountain Humane is working toward making the entire state of Idaho “no-kill” by 2025, and the shelter is rapidly expanding to accommodate the growing needs of Blaine County and the surrounding communities.

    “More than 50 percent of animals are saved from overcrowded regional shelters,” Bonner said. “We have more visitors coming from all over, more diversity.”

    According to Mountain Humane, it gives more than $5.3 million back to the local community each year, a figure that surprised even its staff and volunteers, Bonner said. Through local adoptions, more money is spent on pet care in Blaine County—items and services such as food, boarding, veterinary care and supplies. As the number of adoptions to out-of-town families increases, there is also spending on hotels, meals and gas.

    In February, Mountain Humane celebrated the opening of its new facility, just across the road from its former site. With a new name, new location and, now, a new event, the organization has a lot to bark about.

    Though Dog Days of Summer is currently sold out, there is a waiting list that gala-hopefuls can be put on. To be added to the list, call Shelly at 208-788-4351, ext. 207.

    Party for Paws tickets are also selling quickly. The benefit concert will be held on Sunday, July 21, at 6 p.m. Regular tickets are $50, and VIP tickets (which include two drink tickets per person and stage-side seating) are $75. Concert tickets can be purchased online at aswrv.ejoinme.org/partyforpaws.

    More information on both events can be found on Mountain Humane’s website, mountainhumane.org.

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