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Humane Society fundraiser combines paintings, patrons and puppies
Art with a Heart aids shelter's efforts for homeless animals
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Katharine Lonczak, left, and Alexis Smith view a painting at the Art with Heart fundraiser Saturday night for the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia at the Chattahoochee Country Club in Gainesville. About 350 people attended the event to support the animal shelter. - photo by HAILEY VAN PARYS

Humane Society of Northeast Georgia

Where: 845 West Ridge Road, Gainesville

Phone: 770-532-6617

Website: www.humanesocietyofnortheastgeorgia.org

Everything in the name of rescuing animals.

It’s why Julie Edwards, executive director of the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, and Samantha Threadgill, director of development and communications, spent months planning the annual Art with Heart fundraiser for the shelter.

“They really put their hearts and souls into the event,” said Lizzy Higgins, marketing communications manager for the shelter.

More than 350 pieces of art in varying styles and prices were donated to the event in order to raise money to help  homeless animals in Hall County. Local artist Amanda Lovett also created a live painting of a barn scene at the event.

Threadgill said about 360 tickets were sold beforehand, and more at the door on Saturday.

Pat Burd had a special reason for attending.

“We got our dog at the Humane Society. It’s been a wonderful member of our family, and we love supporting the Humane Society in anything they do,” Burd said.

Two puppies were featured at the event. One was one of the “celestial puppies,” a term the shelter used to describe a litter of puppies with names like Moon, Comet, Nova and other outer space-themed names.

Dr. Jaime Feroli, the shelter’s veterinarian, spoke about the puppies during her speech. She described the various hurdles the litter had to go through after ingesting rat poison. They lived under a deck, and when they were admitted they bled from their gums and had problems with their spay and neuter incisions.

“They had an inability to clot blood,” Feroli said.

They also had intestinal problems, worms, ulcers and more.

“Without donations, we couldn’t have been able to do anything for them,” Feroli said.

Two of the seven puppies died. The rest now are up for adoption after being in the shelter’s care for a number of weeks.

Sun, one of the now 12-week-old puppies, came with his bow-tie on and was held by volunteers or sat in his puppy stroller for most of the night.

“It was a dramatic save,” Feroli said.

The shelter rescued 1,557 animals in 2016, a 35 percent increase over last year, according to Edwards. They were also able to perform 5,965 spay and neuter surgeries and administer 7,136 rabies vaccinations.

“That’s really what donations allow us to do,” Edwards said.