Members of the organizing committee for the annual Cause for Paws wine tasting and silent auction are busy preparing for the event, set Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Members include seated, from left, Brenda Wright and Monica and Leo Smith. Standing, from left, are Mike Morris, Hellie and Craig Smith and Regina Quinn. Tickets for the event are available at The Prairie Press office as well as from Morris and Wright. (Nancy Zeman/The Prairie Press)

Help for the helpless

Annual wine tasting raises funds to provide vet care for animals

The annual Paul Warner Cause for Paws wine tasting is set Saturday, January 27, at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

The $25 tickets for the fundraiser includes hors d’oevres, wine tasting and beer and liquor tasting as well as a silent auction, raffle and 50/50 tickets. There will also be an after party at the Clubhouse at Eagle Ridge, featuring the 71 Band. Those who have tickets for the evening event will be admitted free to the dance. The public is also welcome for a small cover charge.

The evening has become one of the most popular events of the year in the county. Funds from the event support the work of the Paul Warner Animal Rescue, according to Craig Smith.

When Paul Warner died, the Edgar County resident left money to be used for animals. The rescue is now a 501(c)3, Smith said.

“We don’t rescue the perfect dogs,” Hellie Smith said. “There are other rescues that do that. I am all about the underdog and life’s throw aways.”

Hellie Smith said a majority of the $26,000 raised at last year’s event went to provide vet care for the animals at the Edgar County Animal Shelter through a partnership with Andrea Bouslog Gross.

“Many of the dogs who are left at the shelter are older and are sick,” Hellie Smith said. “We take all of those dogs. We try to save them all.”

Saving those animals isn’t always possible, she noted, recalling a dog who had been poisoned with antifreeze. “ We can’t save them all, but I wish we could,” she said.

One of the 150 animals who was a success story this past year was Abigail, a doberman who was starved and ill when she came to the rescue.

“She is the epitome of our rescue,” Hellie Smith noted. “With vet care and love she did a total turn around. This is what we strive for.”

Once an animal is healthy, Paul Warner sends it to the appropriate rescue. For Abigail, it was a doberman rescue. “We try to place a specific breed dog with their rescue. They know the temperaments and have a list of adopters,” she explained.

The wine for the fundraiser is provided by R & J Stores, Craig Smith explained. “We are partnering with local merchants,” he said.

Food for the event is provided by Catered Elegance.

The silent auction is one of the most anticipated parts of the evening with everything from original art, baked goods, gift baskets, jewelery, wine, dinners and other items donated by local supporters.

Brenda Wright is once again in charge of securing items for the evening. “We still have several items coming in,”she said. A more complete list will be available before the event.

Tickets for the evening are $25 a person and are available by contacting Mike Morris at 217-822-6630 or Brenda Wright at 217-264-2761. Some tickets are also available for purchase at The Prairie Press.

“This is a tremendous amount of work, but it is well worth it,” Hellie Smith said. “There’s nothing like helping an animal not only get healthy but find a forever home.”

In addition to the wine tasting, Craig Smith said wines will be available for purchase and pickup at R&J’s at a later date. “It provides our local merchant the opportunity to have people taste what they have,” he said. “It’s all about the community.”

The Prairie Press

101 Central Avenue Paris, IL 61944