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Pawprints Gala

Love in Action

Story by Virginia M. Davis  | Photos by Baxter Buck

Thousands of animals in need have gained a second chance at life under the tender ministrations of the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County (HSMSC). The nonprofit organization has provided shelter, nourishment, medical care and other kinds of support to neglected, injured and abused creatures for 86 years. It seeks to have each of its denizens adopted into loving homes with long-lasting relationships.

 “Simply put, the Humane Society is love in action,” HSMSC Executive Director Ellen Zahariadis said. “Love in action is a powerful thing.”

Zahariadis described ways in which acts of love fuel the society’s mission during her remarks to several hundred guests at Pawprints Gala, HSMSC’s biggest annual fundraiser. Shelby Farms Park’s FedEx Event Center was the setting.

The affair included cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a seated dinner, live and silent auctions, and a video presentation that drew both tears and chuckles. The video, which preceded the live auction, ended by asking, “Will you raise your paw?”

Kym Clark proved her considerable auctioneering talents as a multitude of paws were raised when the bidding began. Clark is a weekday news anchor for WMC Action News 5. She also hosts WMC’s Pet of the Week segment that features adoptable animals from HSMSC. “Those sweet little babies. I get to love them. I get licked on. I get hair all over me. I love it!” Clark said.

Competition for “Delta Dog Escape to Oxford, Mississippi” and “Disney Magic” travel packages, among other offerings, was lively. The fiercest spate of bidding, however, ensued once “Alpha Mail” the Buddy Dog was introduced. The bronze-hued, larger-than-life size statue adorned with hundreds of postage stamps fetched the highest amount bid for any item. Wanda Miller of Tennessee Carriers made the winning bid. Alpha Mail will reside in the conference room of her company’s offices in Frayser. Miller’s co-workers have helped rescue, care for and adopt homeless dogs in that area.

Paradox Catering & Consulting prepared a scrumptious dinner. L & jay Productions provided floral arrangements for table centerpieces, which featured handmade treat dispensers fashioned as red fire hydrants and two-story cat scratching posts.

Sponsors were Athens Distributing Co., Century Wealth Management, Deloitte, Demo Memphis, Dorothy Kirsch, Ferguson HVAC, Gant Systems, Haltom Engineering, Happy Tails Dog Training, Harris Shelton Attorneys at Law, KPMG LLP, L & jay Productions, Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance, Mechanical Systems Co., Mobile Vet, Nolan Audio Visual, Renasant Bank, Tennessee Carriers and Randy and Sandy Womack. 

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