Of animals, for animals

Humane Society hosts Soiree for Strays

By Janell Ward

Photo: Cathy Mong, “Home Safe”

In 1902, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton (HSGD) opened their doors and launched their vision to care for the needs of local animals. Twenty years later, a new facility was purchased which was funded from local businesses, corporations and individuals. The building is still being operated today and continues to provide top-quality care for stray and abused pets. Currently, the Humane Society is under the leadership of Brian Weltge, the President and CEO. 

One of Weltge’s many efforts has been to expand the Humane Society to create more space for injured, abandoned and lost animals; now, they are able to house 36 dogs and 160 cats. HSGD is unique in that they have established a cruelty and neglect department with law enforcement agents who investigate reports. Additionally, they are the only facility that is also an animal advocate for several types of animals including birds, rabbits, pocket pets and exotic creatures. On-site, they have a full-time veterinarian who performs surgeries and protects the health of all the pets in need. 

For years, the Humane Society has relied on donations and friends in order to continue their good non-profit work in serving distressed animals. Now, for the first time, their committee has inaugurated an event where local artists will sell and auction their work to mobilize funding. The event, Soiree for Strays, will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 33 E. Fifth St. 

There will be a VIP hour at 4 p.m. for patrons. The VIP hour will include an extraordinary preview of the featured art, an open bar and special nourishments in the Salon d’Artistes. The proceeds will go toward the many in-house programs including adoptions, spay/neuter services, the Cruelty-Prevention Program, pet care/education and animal enrichment.  

Amy Karslake and Terri Melia Hamlin are two of the many artists that will be presented. Amy Karslake graduated from the University of Dayton in Commercial Design. She began as the Animal Care Technician, but is now the Adoption Counselor at HSGD.

“I have always said love from an animal is the closest people ever get to God-like love,” Karslake said. Her works include “Dog of Many Colors,” “Colorful Jungle Cat in Reverse,” “Neon Birds at Night” and “Painted Horses in the Painted Desert.” These submitted pieces are graphically created to display her passion for the brilliance of color. 

Terri Melia Hamlin will be auctioning her acrylic painting on canvas, “Do You See Me?” Her painting is inspired by one of her own dogs that recently passed away. Hamlin’s creativity was developed under her father, Paul Melia, a well-known Dayton artist. She invested in her artistic talent by attending Columbus College of Art in Design in Columbus, Ohio, and The School of Visual Concepts in Seattle, Wash. She has also worked in commercial illustration and now has her own business of painting pet portraits. In her 20s, she became heavily involved with assisting the Humane Society of Greater Dayton and enjoys interacting with the dogs in their open courtyard. She encourages everyone to get involved. 

If you desire to serve the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, there are a number of ways you can offer support. Volunteers can assist with tasks such as Meowza Cat Boutique, the Bunny Brigade, Pet Paw-parazzi, the Cat Cab and Pet Therapy. You can also become a part of their membership program and receive private invitations to events, while improving the quality of life for numerous animals each year. 

Hosting an animal in your home is another great way to create more space at the animal shelter until the pets are officially adopted. If you wish to be a foster parent to a pet, the Humane Society offers basic training for how to provide for the needs of the adopted animal. For more information on pet fostering, you can contact Janie Davis. 

In order to give back to the community, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton offers behavioral support to families who have aggressive, dominant or fearful animals. They also welcome people to celebrate their birthday parties at the shelter. You must stop in to see the optimal living space the Humane Society provides for their animals, such as the cageless cat room and the open courtyard for the dogs. Free tours are available.

The Humane Society of Greater Dayton hopes to see you at the Crowne Plaza Hotel for this innovative, mega event. If you are an artist, it is not too late to sign up to donate your creative work. 

The Humane Society of Greater Dayton presents Soiree for Strays from 5-7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 33 E. Fifth St. Tickets cost $50 for general admission, $125 for patron and $250 for grand patron. For more information, please visit humanesocietydayton.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Janell Ward at JanellWard@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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