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Managing editor Lauren Brooks Johnson attended the Charleston Animal Society’s annual “A Furry Affair” on Saturday, June 20th that turned the famous saying on end, whereby man became dog’s best friend.

Hundreds gathered in Memminger Auditorium to place their bids on donated art items in the live and silent auctions, with proceeds benefiting the kitties and canines taken in by the John Ancrum SPCA center.

Rows upon rows of art pieces and packages included coupons for pet portraits and pet pampering, original paintings (some wildlife and some just wild), dog and cat paraphernalia, sculptures, wall hangings, and more. I especially loved Phillip Hyman’s The Raven, created with vivid green and purple spray paint, and the popular handmade wooden canopy bed and bowl stand carved from cherry, maple, and poplar by master woodworkers Jerry McCarthy and Matt Brown.

However, the highlight of the night—other than the roast beef carving station and delectable chocolate fountain, courtesy of Tristan—was the sweet story of a young artist and even younger buyer. Eleven-year-old Parker Richardson painted a pop art-esque portrait of her lab Cooper, framed the work using expanding foam insulation, and donated the piece to the silent auction. Eight-year-old Zoe Senga Hyman attended the event with $50 in her purse, money that her mother, CAS director of outreach and communication Kay Hyman, had given her to make a bid on any piece she liked. And just before the close of the second round of the silent auction, Miss Zoey captured Parker’s painting with a winning bid of $45.01 (just don’t tell the gal who’d gone in for $45!).

Later, continuing the spirit of the festivities, Mae Morris raised her paddle during the live bidding, auctioneered by CAS executive director Jim Bush, to try and claim a framed photomanipulation by Steven McCabe. Knowing the oversize digital collage, crawling with furry friends from the shelter, would look superb hanging behind the front desk at CAS’s new facility, Bush put on his best puppy eyes and let the audience know that whoever won the artwork would be receiving the organization’s e-mail wish list...with the print right at the top, not so subtly asking the winner to donate the piece back to CAS.

So as soon as Morris snagged the artwork for $300, she generously turned around and gave it right to the shelter. Nothing could have warmed the heart more, except perhaps the thought of the sweet cats and pups who could snuggle down into cozy beds thanks to those who donated their time, talent, and money to another successful fete.

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