Tyler “Trapper” Leadingham and Clarissa Adams, foreground, and John Lemay with Staci Vandewart, pause for a photo during a meet-and-greet Saturday afternoon at Champion Motorsports for the evening’s The Sage Foundation’s ServeBachelor Auction. (Mark Wilson Photo)
The Sage Foundation dinner and auction filled the Elks Lodge with whoops and whistles Saturday night when 13 lucky bachelors were auctioned off to the adoring ladies of Roswell. The bachelors ranged in ages of 22 to 82 and included physicians, firemen and authors who were “sold” to benefit the Sage Foundation For Dogs Who Serve.
Maryann Murphy of the Patriot Guard Riders and co-organizer of the event said Saturday night went a long way toward helping service dogs far and wide.
“The whole purpose is to help other service dogs when they’re in need of medical assistance,” Murphy said. “And it has continued, but their funds have run low. This is an opportunity to put some money back in the coffers — and have a lot of fun.”
A silent auction was also held Saturday with prizes that included a hot air balloon flight, paintings, dinner for two at Ellis Store and Co. Bed and Breakfast and books authored by participating bachelors Mark Wilson, Daily Record photographer, and John LeMay, a local historian.
All bachelors were self-described animal lovers who appreciated the service Sage gave to her country.
“I think it was great that we had such a big canine celebrity,” said LeMay, who owns a black standard poodle. LeMay said he authored a book recently that featured Sage on its cover just before she died. “My grandpa loved animals and always used to donate money to the Humane Society,” he added. “He recently passed away, so I think he’d be happy I’m doing this.”
Travis Bond, training physician at Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, said that while he did not know Sage personally, he has great respect for all service dogs.
“I’m in the medical field and I’m big into complimentary therapies in patients, and I think the canine support, therapy and rescue service these animals provide is very cool,” Bond said.
Dr. Vijay Chechani, pulmonologist and owner of two dogs, said he jumped at the chance to help the foundation. “I think animals, dogs especially, are the only ones who, besides a mother, are capable of giving unconditional love. I’m not sure other people are.
“I love dogs, and I see the healer dogs come into the hospital, and if I were sick, I would want them to come into my room.”
Murphy lauded all 13 of the bachelors for their dedication to the cause. “Many of these bachelors had even said, ‘Well, I didn’t know Sage — but.’ So, I think (their participataion) is the fact that they are animal lovers, and how can you not respond to something like this?”
“You know, animals and dogs in particular, no matter how badly you treat one, he’ll still come and kiss your hand,” Murphy said. “Even if you’ve left them out in the cold, he’s still going to come and kiss your hand.
“I think loving animals and having animals just makes you a little more human. I found a saying on the Internet a while back, and basically it says, ‘Every time I lose a dog, I lose a piece of my heart. But every time I get another dog, I gain a piece of his heart, and maybe someday I’ll be all dog-heart, and I will be a better human for it.’ So I think that’s a cool thing.”
Bachelor Mark Wilson struts his stuff Saturday during the Sage Foundation auction and dinner at the Elks Lodge. (Noah Vernau Photo)