A Shelter Full of Hope and Promise

Dogs get red carpet treatment at Wine and Dine

Jennifer Miller jmiller@whistlerquestion.com

A couple of years ago at the Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) K9 Wine and Dine fundraiser, local resident Jennifer Cole discovered her 10-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, named Cosby, sitting up in one of the dining room chairs at the Hilton.

He sat there for about an hour, taking in the auction portion of the annual event and garnering more than a few chuckles from other attendees.

“He looked so human,” Cole said. “He was sitting there with a big smile on his face.”

While the sight of Cosby was likely pretty funny, WAG’s K9 Wine and Dine is all about treating Whistler’s canine residents like royalty. Cosby was only getting into the spirit.

The seventh annual Wine and Dine returns to the Hilton on Saturday (Aug. 22) and all dogs, and their human chaperones, are invited.

The fundraiser is the canine social event of the year in Whistler. Four-legged guests are treated to a gourmet three-course dinner from Three Dog Bakery, served on fine dinnerware. You might even find a few dogs dressed in bow ties and other finery.

Cole has attended the Wine and Dine almost every year since its inception. In addition to Cosby, she brings Chloe – a dog she adopted from WAG about four years ago after her owners moved away and abandoned her.

Both dogs are quite social, but Chloe is “a lot quieter than Cosby,” Cole said.

Despite the excitement of the event and the 50-plus dogs in attendance, she said the Wine and Dine is surprisingly un-chaotic. All dogs are kept on leashes, there’s an outdoor area for fresh air and doggie bathroom breaks, and there’s lots of volunteers to help everything run smoothly, she said.

Canine guests are treated to only the best at the Wine and Dine, with the special non-alcoholic “Pinot Growlio” gravy returning this year, and goodie bags with treats for the road.

WAG and the Hilton also take good care of the human companions at the event. This year, the Hilton’s executive chef has designed a buffet menu that features fresh local produce. Live acoustic rock will be provided by G Willy and Chris Quinlan will entertain on the emcee microphone.

“This is a fabulous event, enjoyed by both humans and their canine companions,” Carol Coffey, executive director of WAG, said in a statement. “Outstanding food for all guests, the fun atmosphere, and the participation of many different really brings the community together.”

The event is also WAG’s biggest fundraiser of the year, with the money raised going toward maintaining the shelter and providing veterinary care, spaying and neutering, training and socialization for animals in need between Squamish and Lillooet.

Cole said it’s “definitely worth it” to attend, and WAG really relies on the money raised at the event.

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