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New Rochelle Humane Society Celebrated 100 Years

The organization's gala was a fundraiser to expand its services and facilities.

One hundred years of helping dogs and cat were celebrated Thursday with the threw itself a party.

"This is one of the oldest organizations still functioning in the community," said board member Dr. Richard Goldstein, who operates the based in New Rochelle.

The gala event was held at the . Unfortunately, the timing of a severe thunderstorm moved the "red carpet" arrivals indoors.

About 250 people participated in the festivities that included celebrities and live and silent auctions.

Goldstein said the celebration was also a fundraiser so the shelter can update and upgrade its facilities.

He said they want to improve on the shelter's spay/neuter center and create a wellness center, as well as enhance educational programs.

Goldstein said the shelter wants to create a living room area so that dogs and cats can become acclimated to actual living conditions and, thus, reduce stress.

"They would learn how to live in a house," he said.

Board Vice President John Feldtmose said the proposed expansion marks a significant time for the no-kill shelter.

"We cover 17 communities in the lower Westchester area," he said. The shelter operates on an $800,000 annual budget.

Special celebrity guests who made themselves available for pictures and small talk included Q104.3's Maria Milito, The Bachelor's Prince Lorenzo Borghese, The Soprano's Brandon Hannan and Rick Caran and Jilli Dog, the poker-playing Yorkie.

Doggie Moms reality star Grace Forster brought 6-year-old Yorkshire terrier Portia, all decked out in a glamorous outfit.

Forster, who was born and raised in New Rochelle, jumped at the chance to help the shelter celebrate its centennial.

"They do such wonderful work," she said, "and it's an incredibly well-run organization.

"I'm honored to be here," Forster said.

Also on hand was television and movie star Bocker the Labradoodle.

While he made sure a certain spot near one of the dining tables was kept warm—and watched plates of food pass by—his owner Marie Shelto said her dog is very involved with the shelter.

"From when he was little, he's made people happy," Shelto said, adding Bocker, 7, has 5,000 Facebook friends.

"He lends a happy paw whenever he can," she said.

Board Secretary Dianne Heim coordinates the adult volunteer program at the shelter.

"The thing I love doing is when school groups and scout groups come to the shelter," she said. "We introduce them to the animals, because they are the future. They have to take over."

She is proud of the way the shelter provides abandoned animals with care during a transitional period.

"They need a lot of love until they get to their second home," Heim said.

Carol Egan of White Plains was perusing the silent auction items, but she said she hadn't decide on what to place a bid.

Live auction items included seven nights at luxury resort in Manzanillo, Mexico, a portrait by William Wegman, four tickets to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a backstage tour of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and an autographed Eric Clapton guitar.

Egan, whose husband owns the dog-themed White Plains restaurant , said she would probably bid on something for her three dogs.

She said she is an animal lover who supports organizations that help animals.

Of the New Rochelle Humane Society, Egan said, "I think it's a great organization."

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