Tinsel and Tails: Shelter pets and holiday spirit

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Commentary by Jillian Albrecht

I knew just by the name that Tinsel and Tails would be my kind of event.  This year’s event celebrated 10 years of wonderful service provided by the Hamilton County Humane Society to people and pets alike.  The Ritz Charles was filled with animal lovers, as well as some precious animals themselves.  Attendees were able to bid on silent auction items, make direct donations, enjoy cocktails and a meal, and have front row seats to the ‘petacular’ event last week.

Success stories were pictured on large screens placed throughout the packed rooms, as the new owners and animals they’d adopted, strutted triumphantly down the catwalk.  Many of these human and animal faces were familiar to guests, because they had been featured on the Hamilton County Humane Society’s website as special needs cases.  One remarkable story is that of Princess, a beautiful brindle and white Pitbull Terrier and her new Prince, Justin Growden.  Justin Growden came to the shelter to enquire about the program Pets Healing Vets.

Mr. Growden is a Marine who returned home from active duty with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury.  The amazing shelter staff and volunteers thought that Princess would be just what the doctor ordered.  After fostering Princess for two weeks, Mr. Growden and the HCHS proudly announced that he was adopting her fur-ever.  If anyone ever asks you if there is anything cuter than a Marine with his newly adopted, self-made therapy dog, wearing a tiara, tutu, and triumphantly carrying a toy in her mouth- the answer is no.  So many other animals had heartwarming stories and backgrounds, like Nico and Bridget Swan.

Nico was rescued from L.A., where he had been used as a fighting dog.  His severely cropped ears and sharpened teeth are almost impossible to notice because of his warm, loving eyes.  Though Nico has multiple cancers, he looks and healthy and is clearly happy.

“My vet calls him a miracle dog,” Swan said.  And it was obvious that she and Nico were miracles to each other.  Among all the other joyful announcements was this: the HCHS now has three acres in a prime location to build a new facility on!  The land was donated “anonymously,” but event hosts Chris Denari, the voice of the pacers, and Dean Metcalf, Bob and Tom Show producer, may have delicately hinted that supporting local business, Recreation Unlimited, would be supporting the Humane Society, too.  Heart-warming and exciting are the words that I think describe the evening best, and it is one that I certainly plan to attend next year as well.


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