The Good Dog Foundation held its fifth fundraising gala on May 17 at Gustavino’s in New York City.
The event also honored Planet Dog and the Planet Dog Foundation for donating to The Good Dog Foundation, as well as other nonprofit organizations that foster human-canine well-being and healing.
The evening started with a cocktail reception and silent auction to benefit The Good Dog Foundation. This was followed by a dinner, an award presentation to Planet Dog and a live auction.
Unleashed by Petco was the Signature Host of the gala. It provided a “fetching” bar with treats, toys, digital photo booth, and primping station for the more than 30 certified therapy dogs and their human partners who were in attendance
Award-winning actor and star of the Broadway play “Sylvia” Robert Sella hosted the event. After some witty opening remarks, he introduced Rachel McPherson, founder of the Good Dog Foundation, highlighting her ground-breaking efforts to foster understanding among doctors and staff of the usefulness of therapy dogs in a hospital setting.
“Rachel and the Good Dog Foundation are globally recognized for their success in finding, training and placing therapy dogs,” Sella said. “Rachel was involved with the use of therapy dogs in some of our darkest days, including 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, the Boston Marathon bombing and in Newtown, Connecticut.”
“I fell in love with Planet Dog 15 years ago,” McPherson said. “Alex [Fisher] founded Planet Dog to make beautiful eco-friendly pet products. We are so impressed with this company.”McPherson thanked everyone – including Good Dog Foundation staff and trainers – for their support and talked about why Good Dog Foundation honored Planet Dog.
McPherson said that Planet Dog donates two percent of sales to the Planet Dog Foundation, which funds organizations providing and training dogs to serve as therapy dogs, guide dogs, search and rescue dogs, and medical alert dogs.
“It’s not a giant company, but it has a giant impact and a great big heart,” McPherson said.
There was a short video about Planet Dog founder Alex Fisher, the company and the Planet Dog Foundation, and then McPherson introduced Fisher and Colleen McCracken and presented the award.
“This award belongs to the people behind Planet Dog and the Planet Dog Foundation,” Fisher said. Referring to the partnership with the Good Dog Foundation, Fisher said, “Though both of our organizations are coming up on 20 years, I think we both agree our work has just begun.”
McCracken told Pet Age, “We are thrilled to be acknowledged by the Good Dog Foundation. It’s an amazing therapy dog program that we’ve been involved with for years. I’m humbled by the honor. Our founder, Alex, is from New York so we’re especially thrilled to have this happen here.”
After the award there was a video presentation featuring the work of the Good Dog Foundation at the Bendheim Cancer Center in Greenwich, Connecticut.
A live auction to benefit the Good Dog Foundation followed. Auction items included a five night stay in Paris and an original signed illustration by Maurice Sendak donated by the Maurice Sendak Foundation.