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'Dine with Your Dog' fundraiser attracts full house

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
Nov. 16, 2011 at 5:16 a.m.

Maggie forsakes the chardonnay and instead looks longingly at her owner, Martha Gonzalez, eating the house salad. Maggie and Gonzalez were among about 100 people who attended "Dine with your Dog," a fundraiser for  Adopt-A-Pet Victoria at The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar.

Pat Santell took her pet, Daisy, out on the town Wednesday night

She is not sure how much longer her pint-sized puppy is going to live because Daisy has an enlarged heart and will be on medication for the rest of her life.

But Santell said Daisy's illness wasn't a deterrent to go out to a special dinner.

"When I found out she was sick, it motivated me to make her better," Santell said.

The 53-year-old Stripes store manager started counting her pennies to make sure her 14-year-old rescued pet had a wonderful evening.

Santell bought Daisy a new outfit for the "Dine with your Dog" event at The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant.

Adopt-A-Pet Victoria has hosted the fundraiser for the past eight years. Proceeds from Wednesday night's event go to help the shelter's spay/neuter program.

Carol Klages said it's also a lot of fun.

"It's a way to get people to do something with their dogs," she said.

About 100 people and their furry companions were treated like movie stars. They posed for pictures and enjoyed customized cuisine. Both the humans and pets had a three-course menu while enjoying a view of the Guadalupe River.

The canines' menu included Maltese mutt-balls, Collie crackers, Labrador loaf and pup-sicles. Their owners had their choice of house salad, salmon, chicken, or marinated beef as an entree and dessert.

Renee Wheeler, director and founder of the Crossroads center, said the no-kill shelter has between 125 and 150 animals every day.

"There's never an empty cage," she said.

Wheeler said she wants to be able to assist pet owners who may not have the financial resources to spay or neuter their pets.

During the fine dining experience, there were a host of photos of animals looking for a home.

Sheila Newland brought her newly adopted Maltese - Tru - to the event.

The dog trainer, Newland, said her puppy doesn't know a stranger and fears no one. Tru appeared to really enjoy mingling with the other four-legged diners. Newland was enjoying herself as well.

"I wasn't going to miss this for anything," she said.

Empty nesters, Katrina and Mark Moore, said their four dogs are a joy and lifetime friends.

"When the kids grow up and go off to college, you keep the dogs," said Katrina Moore.

The couple brought three of their dogs, but have birds, dogs, cats and donkeys at home.

"We've got a zoo," he said. This was the couple's second year attending the event.

Santell may be unsure of Daisy's fate, but she was glad to share this moment with her.

Daisy likes to be spoiled. Santell said she feeds her with a fork at home, sleeps in her bed and gets a tad possessive when the other pets are getting too much attention.

"She might not be with me much longer," Santell said. "I want to give her the best I can."

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