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Paws Up Aims to Save Animals and Change Lives
Friday, July 15, 2022


A 23-year-old bottle of what the Wall Street Journal called “liquified unobtanium” from the Pappy Van Winkle Distillery Company. A Natural Migrations Safari to Botswana. And a Tantalizing Tequila Tasting and Five-Course Dinner.

A little over a hundred supporters of Mountain Humane gave a paws up to these items and others as they generously opened their wallets Wednesday night during the animal shelter’s annual Paws Up Party fundraiser.

Longtime supporters Cindy and Peter Urbanowicz described a long list of dogs they’d adopted over the years, including a “beautiful well-behaved dog” who ran into the house and jumped on Peter’s favorite chair where it remained the next 10 years.

“In the 1990s we moved to New Orleans, and in the first four months we took four dogs off the street,” Cindy Urbanowicz said, as she described how some Tulane University students tied their dogs to trees and walked away from them at the end of the year. “I walked into Adams Gulch at the end of 2004 and saw all the happy dogs, the wagging tails. My heart was stolen because of the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley. Dogs here have a second chance at life and in New Orleans and they do not. This shelter gives hope to animals everywhere.”

“Your best friend is at the shelter,” added Peter Urbanowicz. “You just have to meet him.”

Supporters were generous offering $16,000 for the bottle of bourbon provided by Rita and George Golleher and $8,000 for a fiberglass lab painted by Martine Drackett.  Two separate supporters bid $8,000 each to have their pets’ photos on Mountain Humane’s outreach van.

A New York Adventure offered by J.McLaughlin and others went for $8,000, while the luxury safari went for $31,000. And 52 attendees purchased $1,000 tickets to attend Corry and Mike Clayville’s Tequila Tasting dinner.

Three supporters pledged $50,000 each while five offered $25,000 each in a Paddle Up that raised $525,000.

The money will be used for a wide variety of things, including Mountain Humane’s foster program, which provided food and dog toys to the 214 families that fostered 290 animals last year. Previous  donations also helped fund a rescue of 53 chihuahuas in February—the largest rescue Mountain Home has ever had. And they funded the rescue of 55 kittens that were due to arrive at the no-kill shelter on Thursday.

Executive Director Annie McCauley and Board President Sally Onetto noted that Mountain Humane is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year—a momentous occasion that will be acknowledged with a concert, puppy parade and other events in September.

“Most of all it’s a celebration of the role dogs and cats play in our lives,” McCauley said.

Mountain Humane has evolved to be so much more than a dog pound, she added, offering a variety of programs that reach well beyond adoption, including behavior training, providing pet food to families going through a rough path and outreach to Richfield, Dietrich, Shoshone and Fairfield.

“These kinds of programs mean staying with their families, which is what every pet wants. We’re saving animals and changing lives,” she added.

Phyllis Parvin was among those who was happy to talk about bond between humans and animals. She grew up with collies, then welcomed golden retrievers into her home as an adult. She now has a “sweet angelic” 5-month-old Golden named Walker.

“I love the love thing. They love you. You love them,” she said.

Dan Chapin described how he gifted his wife Micki with their first dog to keep her company and give her  peace of mind while he was traveling for work

“We’ve had lots of dogs since, most of them here in Sun Valley where they have lots of friendly dogs to play with,” he said. “You’ve heard the old saying: Everyone wants to come back as a Sun Valley dog.”


You can celebrate Mountain Humane’s 50th anniversary by ordering a personalized limited edition Tribute Paver. Pavers are available in three sizes and donors can choose between three locations on campus. To learn more, visit or call 208-788-4351.

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