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Wags to Wishes 2021 Gala Recap

wags to wishes 2021 Gala recap

On Saturday, December 4th, 2021, the Humane Society of Utah celebrated 61 years of helping animals during its annual Wags to Wishes Gala, sponsored by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. The hour-long event was held virtually this year. It included live videos from HSU’s leadership team, special guests, an interactive bingo game, silent and live items, and an opportunity for participants to send in selfies featured in real-time. 

During the event, Utah Humane’s Executive Director, Vaughn Maurice, shared some of the organization’s recent accomplishments. He stated, “2021 has been a banner year in many ways. One of our most impressive achievements is the 32% increase in spay and neuter surgeries at our Murray clinic. ” Vaughn also pointed out that HSU transported many homeless pets from the Rocky Mountains, Texas, and California to our Pet Resource Center in Murray for adoption.  

In the fall of 2020, HSU opened a low-cost spay and neuter and vaccination clinic in St. George, which conducted 2,900 surgeries in 2021. The success of this clinic has proved that a permanent Pet Resource Center is needed and would be sustainable in this area. A further analysis was conducted to determine the best location for the facility. In August of this year, HSU purchased a 2.2-parcel of land in the heart of the commercial district of Washington County, near Costco, which has the largest retail traffic in the area. This new facility will provide shelter for all domestic animals, a low-cost spay and neuter and vaccination clinic, and a humane education center. 

At the program’s end, Craig Cook, HSU’s Board President, showed a photo of HSU’s original cinder block shelter from 1960 and our current state-of-the-art, 40,000 square foot modern facility. He said, “This growth is all because of people like you and the contributions you have given us throughout the years.” 

Karin Duncker, HSU’s Development Director, is delighted with the response to this year’s gala. “The generosity of our sponsors, donors, and participants was so heartwarming. We raised over $125,000, making this year’s virtual event even more successful than last! More importantly, we had the opportunity to have some fun with our supporters, sponsors, and staff and even glimpse their “house parties” through selfie-sharing. We look forward to being together in person in 2022!”

HSU’s 2021 Wags to Wishes fundraising goal was to raise $150,000 for animals in need. If you were unable to attend virtually, you can still help us reach our goal by making a tax-deductible donation towards our Gala Fund-a-Need project, directly benefiting homeless puppies infected with life-threatening parvovirus. Donate at:

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