Distillery, humane society combine forces Friday to offer first-ever Fur Ball 

Published 5:21 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2020



Wilderness Trail Distillery is partnering up with the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society to offer the first ever Fur Ball on Friday at the distillery. The evening is meant to not only be a fundraiser — items will be for sale, with a portion of the proceeds to go to DBCHS — but also as a way to thank those who support the humane society. 

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The distillery even created a special label for the barrel pick bottles, showing pictures of animals up for adoption, and dog toys in the shape of the special barrel pick bottle of bourbon. 

“We also want to inform them of the success they contribute to, and engage them in how we can continue to do more — all of which are vital to our mission,” says Fizzy Ramsey, DBCHS board president. “What better way to celebrate success than to get together with our biggest supporters and have a ball in honor of our furry companions?” 

The Smokey and the Brisket food truck will be on site, and Fourth Street Station will supply the live music, with original tunes as well as classic rock covers. WTD will have cocktails for sale. 

Xavier Tomlin, a Wildnerness Trail Distillery employee, provided a picture of his dog, Finley Wayne, with his new toy bourbon bottle. (Submitted photo by Xavier Tomlin)

Ramsey says there will be an “interactive learning experience” to spotlight dog playgrounds and how to get involved. She says people can choose to help by donating monetarily or through signing up for volunteering opportunities. 

“We are also collecting foster home contacts in preparation for cat season, when kitten intake increases dramatically, around April through August,” Ramsey says. Dog foster home contacts are also welcome. 

DBCHS partnered up with the distillery because “we see Wilderness Trail as a visionary in their line of work, and I feel they have appreciated our approach to progressive change in our field,” Ramsey says. She says the humane society has moved forward with national best practices involving adoptions, community cats and sheltering that not only provide better outcomes for community pets, “but more responsibly serve our community.” She says the owners of the distillery are “definitely animal lovers, but the science in them also supports evidence-based practices.” 

Shane Baker, who owns the distillery along with Pat Heist, says due to how important donations are to DBCHS, “we understand how that can get thin sometimes on donations, and lead to tough decisions. We have a rescue cat named Cooper from their program and everyday he reminds us how awesome a pet can be when given a chance.” 

Baker says the cat is “our little reminder we can make small differences when we have the ability to and that carries over with passion to help fund their programs that will allow more opportunities and experiences like ours to others.” 

Baker, along with his wife Melissa, are huge animal lovers. However, he says that’s just a part of it. “It’s not just because we want to see animals treated humanely and connected with loving families … but we all support our community organizations and associations that we believe can make an impact in positive ways.” 

Where DBCHS is concerned, Baker says, “We believe in the leadership in place and support their passion to expand their services in order to better serve the community, and help to save more animals by placing them in good homes …” 

Ramsey says the DBCHS’ grant funding also supports various outreach programs. “Over $25,000 went back to our community through free and reduced spay/neuter opportunities in 2019, keeping hundreds of pets out of the shelter, increasing community immunity to rabies and helping to stabilize the pet population.” 

She says funds raised through events like the Fur Ball goes to the general fund, which provides medical care of animals, adoption preparation, upkeep of the facility, necessary equipment purchases and other operational needs. 

“As many probably know by now, Kentucky is a hot topic among national animal welfare organizations, since the Southeast as a whole is truly behind the times in numerous sheltering practices,” Ramsey says. “Lucky for us, such conversations place us under the spotlight, thus funneling more resources and helping our way.”

She says DBCHS is “excited to blaze a trail in establishing best practices, but in order to do so, we need the support and trust of our community.” 

DBCHS has numerous ways folks can volunteer to be “hands on” with dogs and cats, Ramsey says. “Animal enrichment through play, time out of their kennel and just the simple yet vital act of human contact is oh-so-important. Dogs need baths through the week or weekend, after a muddy romp in playgroup.” 

She says playgroups are an excellent way to get your dog fix as a volunteer. “You can witness weekly transformations and learn more about dog behaviors.” Or, volunteers may choose to answer the phones during the week at the shelter, which frees up staff to tend to animals. Volunteers must be 18 or older, but younger volunteers can be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Coming up, the Doggie Day Run/Walk will be scheduled for May 2 at Millennium Park. This event is a way for DBCHS to engage former adopters and encourage fitness with a dog-friendly event. More information will be available at www.dbchs.org.

The Fur Ball will be 6-9 p.m. Friday, March 6, at Wilderness Trail Distillery, 4095 Lebanon Road. Fourth Street Station will play live music; Smokey and the Brisket will have its food truck onhand; and cocktails will be sold by the distillery, as well as other items that a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society.