On Saturday, September 24th, 2022, the Humane Society of Utah celebrated 62 years of helping animals during its annual Wags to Wishes Gala, sponsored by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. This three-hour-long event was held for the first time at the Cleone Peterson Eccles Alumni House at the University of Utah. It included a lounge filled with playful pups for guests to interact with, a wine and beer bar, live piano music, an interactive bingo game, and silent and live items. The event was also held virtually, so additional guests could enjoy the evening streaming in their homes.
During the event, Utah Humane’s Board President, Craig Cook, was presented with the Humane Heroes Award for his 50 years of dedication and service to the animals in Utah. Craig Cook joined the board of the Humane Society of Utah in 1972 and made a personal commitment to improving the lives of Utah’s most vulnerable pets. Craig started on HSU’s official council fresh out of law school. In his early years on the board, he oversaw and won many critical cases for Utah’s homeless animals, even at the supreme court level.
Craig Cook’s impact on the organization includes playing a crucial role in opening the first low-cost spay and neuter clinic in the Mountain West, and expanding the organization in the Salt Lake Valley, and recently into St. George. And in 2021, he made it possible for HSU to provide donation-based medical care to the Ute Reservation in the northeast, where access to veterinary care is minimal, and thousands of Tribe members are seeking support for their beloved pets.
The show also featured the progress of HSU’s Parvo Ward, built this year with the funds raised from last year’s gala and through a grant provided by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. Our new parvo ward allows us to isolate and adequately treat puppies on-site who arrive at our shelter with the deadly canine parvovirus. And it enables Utah Humane to protect other dogs in our facility while reducing the overall risk of community transmission. The parvo ward is now located at our Pet Resource Center in Murray.
Karin Duncker, HSU’s Development Director, is delighted with the response to this year’s gala. “This is the first in-person gala we’ve had since 2019, and it was wonderful to reconnect face to face with our sponsors, donors, event volunteers, and community members. We raised over $145,000 at the event and are so grateful to our supporters for their generous support.”
HSU’s 2022 Wags to Wishes fundraising goal was to raise $160,000 for vulnerable and homeless animals. If you were unable to attend, you can still help us reach our goal by making a tax-deductible donation at: utahhumane.org/donate