Bella was the center of attention during Saturday’s luau. Wearing a lavender lei and a grass skirt, she caused many heads to turn; people just wanted to take her home.
As guests greeted her, Bella’s tail wagged.
Bella was one of several dogs present during the sixth annual Bow Wow Luau & The Cat’s Meow FUN-Raiser that was held at Banks Channel Pub & Grille, Wrightsville Beach, Saturday, June 21.
“The Bow Wow Luau & The Cat’s Meow is a celebration of life,” said event founder Trish Arnold during a speech. “It’s a celebration of animals that have found their forever homes, it’s a celebration of animals currently awaiting their new homes, and animals who are going to receive help.”
The event began at 7 p.m. As guests arrived, the island sound of steel drums pinged in the background.
Inside the restaurant, volunteers and waiters weaved around crowds, holding silver trays of tropical hors d’oeuvrelike fresh strawberries and pineapple.
In the dining area, many of the guests were animal advocates.
“I adopted a cat at this event last year,” Donna Millis said as she sat waiting for her dinner. “We’re huge animal lovers.”
Sitting next to Millis was Katy Monaghan, who said it was important to help dogs and cats due to their inability to do it on their own.
“A healthy dog or cat is euthanized across the country every five seconds,” Arnold said later during her speech. “Those numbers are heartbreaking.”
The event featured silent and live auctions, the proceeds from which benefited Adopt An Angel and Paws Place, two local animal rescue foundations.
After hearing about the event through Facebook, Nicole Korman and Alleia Kelly traveled from Jacksonville, N.C., to attend.
“We try to donate money to animal rescues,” said Korman as she glanced at the auction items. “If we have money to spend, why not just donate it?”
This year, the event was able to surpass its $10,000 goal.
“We actually raised $10,313 and counting,” Arnold said. “We met and succeeded our goal. So next year, it’s going to be a bigger goal.”
Since the founding of the event six years ago, Bow Wow Luau has raised more than $41,500 for the animals in the community, Arnold said.
This year, the proceeds will be split 50/50 between Adopt An Angel and Paws Place.
“All proceeds will go directly into Adopt An Angel’s account. And in turn, they will write a check to Paws Place,” Arnold said. “As it stands, each organization will get about $5,156.”
The event’s grand finale was a live musical performance by Island Time Band inside the restaurant and a cultural Polynesian dance outside.
“People come together in such an amazing way,” Arnold said after the event. “My goal as an animal advocate and event founder is working toward a time that there are no homeless or abused animals. It was a victorious night for the animals.”