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Animal shelter fundraiser returns

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POLSON — The Mission Valley Animal Shelter is back with its first in-person fundraiser dinner since the start of COVID. 

“Things are going great,” commented development director Julyn Dewitt. “We have some amazing items that’ve been donated.”

The Wags and Whiskers dinner will be held at the Ronan Community Center on Friday, Oct. 28. Cocktails will be served at 5:30 p.m., with the prime rib dinner beginning at 6 p.m. The night will also include extensive silent and live auctions.

“The local businesses have been awesome about sponsoring and building us baskets and things,” added shelter manager Raeva Corkill. “We’re really excited.”

With a bar provided by Perfect Shot and a dessert bar run by a former pastry chef, those at the shelter say they’ve been thrilled at the amount of support they’ve received from the community. Corkill said that while their typical goal for fundraising is $35,000, with the grants and support they’ve gotten this year they’re hoping to exceed that amount.

Coordinating with the organization “We Love Doggos” out of Kalispell, the Mission Valley Shelter has begun work on two new dog yards in the back of the building and started gathering funds for play equipment. They’ve also put a new roof system in place and enclosed the dog kennels in the west yard. However, even with all that progress, the shelter is still in need of support. 

One of their biggest needs, according to Corkill, is help with the community food program. The shelter offers pet food to anyone in need and always has a demand. Food donations can be dropped off at the shelter any time on the donation bench out front. “During the summer (the program) is big, but during the winter people seem to need a lot more help,” Corkill stated. 

The shelter has also had to change some of its policies this year due to the sheer demand it faces. Due to the quantity of animals in their care, they have had to state they’ll no longer be accepting strays from areas with active shelters or animal control ordinances in place. At time of writing, the shelter is operating over capacity in cats by 18 and in dogs by over 10, and yet still have dozens of animals on their waitlist. 

“We have a lot of great animals that can be adopted right now,” Dewitt said. “We’re always looking for volunteers.” 

“Really we just love people to come in and spend time. Our puppies especially always need socialized, the dogs can always use walks and our cats just need love all the time,” Corkill added. “We try to have (volunteers) help us a little bit, then spend some time with the animals. A little bit of both is always a good thing.” 

To learn more about volunteering with the shelter or fostering animals, visit their website at: to fill out an application. 

As for the upcoming fundraiser, there are still tickets available. They can be purchased at the shelter or Seconds 2 Go Thrift Store in Polson for $50 per person, or a table of eight for $500. Those who buy a table will get extra benefits, including wine and some added surprises, according to Dewitt. Any tickets that aren’t sold beforehand will be available at the door the night of the event. 

“The community’s so great to us … every time we’ve put out the call for something, we’ve got an immediate response,” Dewitt said. “I love the in-person fundraiser because it’s a chance for everybody in the community to actually come out and see all of us that are putting the behind-the-scenes work in. I think it’s a great thing for the shelter and the community that supports us so highly.” 

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