I also apologize in advance for how crappy our pics are. (!) My sis and I are new to having iPhones. (Do all iPhones take crappy pics indoors if the lighting isn't great, or is it just us? It's just us, isn't it...) If I'd known, I would've brought my "real" camera! Darn it.
Anyway... here goes the full report!
My "date" and I checked into our lovely hotel room and got dolled up.
I told you on Monday that although we didn't meet Betty White, we did meet a sorta-celebrity: it was actor and cancer-advocate, Parker Pup! (More Parker tomorrow on Mirth Watch Thursday...)
I tried to look for Jan's angels' names (Moses and Shelby), but (sadly) there are a lotta names on Parker's vest, and his hair hid a chunk of it. I didn't want to paw through his fur (well, I did want to, but I thought his peeps might not like it) and I didn't want to hog him. (Well, again, I did want to hog him...). I took pics of both sides and the top, hoping I could find their names later, but since my pics are so blurry, I couldn't find them. :(
We checked out the silent auction items (pics of our winnings later), and then went in to dinner. The meal was really lovely: a yummy salad with berries, entree with fish/beef/veggie options to keep everyone happy, decadent dessert, and Cru Vin Dogs wine (that's a rescue dog on the label!).
At our table, seated next to my sis/date were 3 gals who came strictly to meet Betty (said they were big Golden Girls fans - didn't know young ladies watched that show). They don't even have pets. They had sprung for the VIP tix, so that's how we knew about the meet-n-greet with Betty beforehand where they had pics taken with her. They were not the biggest Betty fans there though... I'd say the biggest Betty fans were the couple that donated $10,000 in an ebay auction in order to sit next to Betty! (Wouldn't it be awesome to have that kinda money? "It's a good cause; we love Betty; we've got 10 grand to burn - let's go for it!")
Anyway, seated next to me were 2 vets that volunteer for MAF, including Dr. Jeff Wyatt. He was super interesting, telling us about his work at the University of Rochester and the Seneca Park Zoo. (He had to leave the next day and get home cuz the baby orangutan at the zoo was feeling puny. He had pix of her on his phone. So cute!) He was also a wealth of knowledge about MAF and talked about what a great organization it is.
He volunteers for them, traveling to do audits of research programs that MAF funds. He said that MAF has very low overhead (less than 8% of funding goes to admin expenses). I had checked out MAF before pledging to donate part of the profits from Rescue Me, Maybe sales to them, and had seen that they earn 4 stars (the highest rating) on Charity Navigator.com, but talking with an actual volunteer who clearly loves the organization made me feel even better about my decision.
So... it turns out, he's met Betty! Touched her even! So of course, I had to touch him and have my sis take our pic! :)
|Me and my fellow MAF/Betty-lover|
During dinner, they showed a couple of slide shows - one about Betty and her many accomplishments, and one with a few celebs (Jack Hanna, Slash - the lead guitarist for Guns N' Roses who's on the LA Zoo Board - who knew?) and MAF trustees thanking Betty for all she's done. (If you want, you can watch the videos here on the MAF blog. The first one is quite interesting and has many great photos of Betty!)
The video mentioned some fabulous things about Betty that made me love her even more:
- She's been with MAF over 40 years!
- She's going to be in the Guinness Book of World Records next year for the longest TV career for a female
- She doesn't just lend her name to MAF - she's even been known to read the grant proposals!
|Blurry Betty in red|
I know she talked about some of the cool things MAF has done (like funding the research that led to the parvovirus vaccine), and she talked about the research they're doing related to sea otters, which she has a great love for, and she thanked all of us. (You're welcome, Betty!)
She ducked out early (sad face!) and then Tom Sullivan got up and spoke. You'd recognize him if you saw him - he's probably one of the most famous blind people around and he's been on many TV shows over the years and is also an author and singer. He gave a very nice speech about Betty. One interesting story was about a guide dog, a Golden named Dinah, that he'd had for years. When she was 9, she suddenly signaled that she was no longer able to guide him (turning in circles in an airport). When he got her home, she hid under the bed and wouldn't come out or eat. He said it was as though she was trying to commit suicide. But then Betty came to his house and asked if she could try taking Dinah - and Dinah lived another 4 years with Betty! She's like Betty of Assisi! (I'd like to go live with Betty for 4 years...) (My sis was looking him up after and found out he and Betty wrote a book together about Dinah.)
After that, there was a live auction - lots of cool trips went for LOTS of money. And even a stainless steel doggy water bowl full of dog toys went for $1500! There was also a year's supply of Blue Buffalo auctioned off (whatever line you wanted) - I think that went for several thousand. (It was cool to learn that Blue Buffalo is a partner with MAF since we feed Rita the Blue Wilderness food, but I didn't bid!)
And then... it was done. I was tempted to try and palm my book (tucked away in my new evening bag) off on the woman we met that was an MAF employee, but she was engrossed in a conversation and I didn't want to interrupt, so we collected our goodies and left.
Here are the goodies we got/bought at the silent auction: a stuffed bunny for Rita (the center piece at each table was a dog bowl full of toys and you could help yourself to them after; he's wearing a glittery bow tie, related to another fund-raising game they did), a box full of Honest Kitchen goodies that my sis bid on for Reggie, and a necklace that I bid on. It's really cute - a tail with a paw, but it kinda looks like a "J" doesn't it? It's from Dazzling Paws. Was checking out their site - some cute stuff, even agility charms! Thought some of you ladies might like to check it out - or tell your hubbies to check it out since Christmas is coming!
So, that's it. That was our fabulous night. The only bummer was that we didn't meet Betty, but other than that it was really great. So glad we got to go! Hope you enjoyed reading my (probably way too detailed) account of it!
Happy Really-Wordy Wednesday!