This vodka is going to the dogs |

This vodka is going to the dogs

Wren Wertin

A spin-off of the now defunct Hong Kong Cafe’s Martini Mixer, the Martini Ball is a long-standing local tradition. Lifties and second-home owners hobnob over hors d’oeuvres, drinks and laughter, all in the name of cats and dogs.

The Dave Laub Quartet will be playing their signature jazz repertoire for the party, full of classic standards and the occasional new-school tune. Dress is Colorado black tie, which means tails and party frocks if you’ve got them – or not. Getting gussied up is the norm, but not mandatory.

The Eagle Valley Humane Society is different than Eagle County Animal Control, though they work hand in hand. The Humane Society’s operating budget is made up solely of donations, which are down significantly. In addition to hosting the adopt-a-thons, they also provide county-wide education, foster care, advertise the shelter animals and help with spaying and neutering.

The shelter currently has only two dogs, but it’s filled to the brim with cats of all colors and hair lengths. There’s Felicity, a spunky short-haired calico, and Poupon, a mellow short-haired grey and white male.

“This time of year we always fill up with cats,” said Char Quinn, employee of the Humane Society and organizer of the Martini Ball.

They currently have one puppy that is in the shelter’s custody, a tiny purebred Boxer they’ve named Anastasia. Out of a litter of six, she’s the only one that has survived. The puppies were going through the motions of nursing, but the mama dog didn’t produce milk. The problem wasn’t detected early enough, so most of them died. Anastasia is the last one; she’s just opened her eyes. She’s a feisty one, and has become rather attached to the teddy bear that travels around in her carrier with her.

“It’s so important for people attempting to breed any kind of animal to be prepared for things to go wrong,” said Quinn.

Bottle feeding Anastasia, plus all of the extra medical bills she’s had as a result of being malnourished, has made the rescue a costly one. With donations down, it’s getting harder to make the dollars stretch.

Last year marked the first time Sanctuary hosted the Martini ball. The split-level party was such a success, raising over $7,600 for the cause, they were eager to do it again.

“It’s nice to have a party where locals get dressed up,” said Steve Kaufman, Sanctuary/Tap Room co-owner. “Good looking people always make for a good party. And it’s such a good cause.”

He’s not just talking stuff and nonsense – the man’s home is overrun with animals, including a dog, a cat, two birds, a couple of hamsters and countless yard visitors.

“There’s a bear who comes by a lot,” he said. “We challenge each other over the garbage can.”

In addition to food, drinks and music, there will be a silent auction and a raffle. The final list isn’t in yet, but there will probably be a getaway vacation in the mix.

Sanctuary is located in the Vista Bahn building at the top of Bridge Street. They’ve lowered the ticket price this year, and they’re giving a couple’s incentive – $50 per person or $80 per couple. Tickets are available at The Tap Room or by calling 479-0500 ext. 1. The party goes from 7:30 p.m. until midnight.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.

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