Sage the Search and Rescue Dog leads the parade held in her honor as she rides in the side-car of Patriot Guard co-capitan Mike Murphy’s motorcycle, Feb. 26, 2011. (Mark Wilson Photo)
The Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve will hold a fundraising dinner and bachelor auction on Jan. 26 at the Elks Club, 1720 N. Montana Ave. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and includes some pretty tasty treats both on the menu and off. Tickets cost $25, half of which will go to fund the Safe Foundation that provides funds for medical treatment for America’s service dogs.
The dinner offers a choice of Santa Fe chicken or ribeye steak, along with pasta/shrimp salad. The Elks will have a cash bar open for anyone who requires liquid courage to bid on some of Roswell’s most eligible bachelors.
The meat-and-potatoes of the event will begin 8 p.m., when Roswell and Chaves County women will have the opportunity to bid on some other yummy selections, the bachelors, such as: Dr. Vijay, Chechani, pulmonologist, and Dr. Travis Bond, hospitalist, from Eastern New [auth] Mexico Medical Center and Larry Spillman from Lovelace Regional Hospital. Not about to be outdone by the medical community, other talent includes: Eric Bradshaw, who besides being a physical therapist also acts at Roswell Little Theater; author John LeMay; and the Daily Record’s own Mark Wilson, photographer.
The monies go to the Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve. The Foundation was named after local heroine Sage, a search and rescue dog who won the top American Humane Association award in the search and rescue category in 2011. She with her human companion traveled to Los Angeles to accept the award and meet such notables as Whoopi Goldberg and Betty White.
The border collie worked for the military in the K-9 Corps and achieved a higher security clearance than her handler Diane Whetsel. Sage was New Mexico’s last surviving service dog who served during 9/11, searching the Pentagon after that fateful day. During the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Sage served in the Gulf Coast. She also did several tours of duty in Iraq and is reputed to be the only dog who played Frisbee at 30,000 feet.
Sage was not only the poster dog for the Foundation, but also its inspiration when she suffered from not one, but two bouts of lung cancer. By this time, she had retired from the military that made no allowance for the medical expenses of dogs who served their country. She bounced back from the first two surgeries, only to confront a third cancer and eventually a fourth, when she finally went to chase Frisbee in a much higher state than can be flown by any military transport. Her death was occasion of much grief and she received a military send-off, with an escort from the Freedom Riders.
Service dogs are often exposed to and inhaled toxic substances as they search through the wreckage trying to find people, both living and dead.
The Sage Foundation was created to assist the dogs’ adoptive owners provide medical treatment for those ailments which may well have been contracted as a result of their service. The bills can be phenomenal, with a single surgery costing several thousand dollars.
All together, the Sage Foundation fundraiser has a total of 15 volunteers who will strut their stuff for the local ladies all in the name of a good cause.
Besides their other notable attributes, each volunteer loves animals. John LeMay has much beloved family pet, a standard poodle. Wilson has several dogs who, like many, help decorate his home with fur, dust bunnies and no few paw prints. With bachelor ages ranging from the 20s to the 50s, there should be something to suit many different tastes.
The Sage Foundation will also hold a silent auction where they have collected numerous items for those in the audience who may not be interested in a bachelor, but are interested in helping service dogs across America.
Maryanne Murphy will bring her service dog, the shar pei Dom Khai Mook. A recent graduate of service training, she has already made her mark and has been featured on MSN News.
For more information about the Sage Foundation for Dogs who Serve and their good works, check out their website at sagefoundationfordogs.org.