When the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals closed the doors of the Katharine M. Foote memorial shelter in Edgartown in May, the Island was introduced to a new but financially pinched place for homeless critters. Home to two dogs, two kittens and five cats, the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard feeds off limited funds from the county and towns.
“It was inconceivable that we would not have an animal shelter,” says shelter board member Diana Muldaur-Dozier of Edgartown. “We have scrubbed and cleaned and gardened it up. It is pristine. The town is helping, but we need more.”
To the rescue on Wednesday came furry tails swinging, big, glassy eyes beaming and small pink tongues flapping from the mouths of 19 affectionate cavalier King Charles spaniels. Accompanied by their Edgartown owners, the dogs gathered for a luncheon to benefit the shelter.
“This is the fifth year we’ve done the luncheon,” said Bunnie Gural, owner of luncheon host Morsel, a five-year-old cavalier. “Since the animal shelter is in need, we decided to make it a fundraiser.”
While the ladies of the party made shelter donations, talked dogs, sipped wine and nibbled hors d’oeuvre, the dogs scurried about the house like enlarged squirrels after acorns, pausing only to nibble a doggy treat or lick a familiar face. With so many dogs of similar coloring, some owners began chatting with a pet, only to realize they were cooing to someone else’s floppy-eared cavalier.
“They have the temperament of a labrador — very loving — in a small dog’s body,” says Pat Knoll, rubbing the long white and auburn-splashed fur of her nine-year-old cavalier named Ricky — short for King Richard the Sweethearted.
Ms. Gural agrees. She named Morsel after his sweet sentiment bundled in a small fur-ball body. “If I stop in town and say, ‘This is Morsel,’ people say, ‘Oh, this is Morsel! We know all about him!’ They don’t even know me and I’ve been here much longer than he has.”
Sweeping a delighted gaze over her living room-turned-cavalier stomping ground, Ms. Gural smiles. “This party is legendary in Edgartown.”