Hoof & Paw raises over $100,000 for animals

Joyce Martin Hill, who owns Farewell Farm in Blythewood, and her two horses, Kodak Moment and Noah, are featured inside the front cover of The Hoof and Paw Benevolent Society’s new fundraiser coffee table book, Friends of Hoof & Paw, 2018. The book was released during a presentation party at The Farm last week. | Harold Dodson

RIDGEWAY – The Hoof and Paw Benevolent Society debuted its much anticipated coffee table book last week in a special reception that paid tribute to the sponsors and volunteers who made the book a reality.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, this book was our baby and you were our village. Without all of you this would not have been possible,” fundraiser chairman and Blythewood horsewoman Minge Wiseman told the crowd of supporters who filled The Farm at Ridgeway’s reception hall last week.

The 160-page hardcover book, underwritten by philanthropist and Blythewood horsewoman Joyce Martin Hill and her husband George, grossed over $100,000 and features photographs of dozens of local dogs, cats and horses and their human families. Many of the animals pictured are rescues, now living the good life. The photos of the loved and loving animals reflect Hoof and Paw’s vision for all animals.

The books were paid for by pet owners who shelled out from $400 to $1,000 for glossy, full page photos of their dogs, horses, cats and other animals. Professional photographers Dr. Robert Buchanan, Harold Dodson, Kelly Garin, Morgan Auld and Megan Timmerman donated their time and talent during the summer to snap photos at farms, lakes and other bucolic settings. The Farm’s owners, Larry and Eileen Sharpe, donated the use of the venue for the event which was catered by Olde Town Hall Restaurant in Ridgeway. Musicians Kristi Hood and Richard Maxwell entertained.

Hoof and Paw also raffled the book cover to pet owners. For $25, anyone could enter their pet’s photo in the contest. The winning photo was submitted by Blythewood horsewoman Kit Turner of her two Cocker Spaniels, Hannah and Heaven, and her cat, Tuk.

“Artist Mary Bliss very graciously donated her time and talent to turn the photo into a beautiful painting that appears on the book’s cover,” Wiseman said.

“It’s always a wonderful moment to see your work bring so much pleasure to its owners, and it was an honor for me to have been able to work on this piece for Minge and Hoof and Paw,” Bliss stated.

A highlight of the reception was a special unveiling of the painting which was then donated by the artist to Turner, bringing her to tears.

Created in 2012 to advocate for and support animal welfare in Fairfield County, Hoof and Paw – now Blythewood-based – has evolved into a formidable Midlands fundraising organization that benefits South Carolina animals and shelters through financial support and community awareness.

Last year, the organization helped finance a spay and neuter campaign in conjunction with the Fairfield County Animal Shelter and assisted the County shelter in achieving its goal of becoming a no-kill facility. The group has more recently taken its battle to the front lines of county courtrooms and the state capital, turning its attention to lawmakers in an aggressive move to strengthen animal abuse laws in the state.

“We have worked very hard to fix what we believe are laws lacking in the ability to protect animals and ensure that animal abusers are held accountable for their actions,” the group’s president Deborah Richelle stated.

“It’s a battle that sometimes seems never-ending, but then on days like today when we are surrounded by supporters and we see these pictures of the animals, some of whom we helped saved, it gives us the boost that we need to go out and fight another day,” Richelle stated.

But these efforts take money – lots of money. Addressing the crowd of about 200, Richelle explained in simple terms what Hoof and Paw is about.

“We are not a rescue organization, and we are not a shelter. We just ask for money,” Richelle told the crowd who responded with appreciative laughter.

The coffee table book has been the nonprofit organization’s most aggressive and successful fundraiser to date, according to co-chairman Kathy Faulk.

“It’s amazing, it truly is. We had no idea this project would be so wildly popular and successful,” Faulk stated.

In past years, Wiseman said the organization mainly fundraised through local yard sales and other small events that brought in around $1200 each year. She said the success of this year’s fundraiser will allow the organization to increase its support to local rescue groups.

“There are so many animals in shelters that need homes, but they often need medical treatment that shelters can’t afford. And, of course, the shelters sometimes need money for food and supplies. That’s where we come in,” Richelle stated.

Faulk said the photos in the book will serve as a touching memento to the people who purchased pages. Each was presented a copy of the book at the end of the evening.

“There were about 14 animals featured in the book that have since passed away. The photos that we have included will be a special way for their families to remember them,” Faulk said.

“It was a wonderful get together of like-minded people,” attendee Addie Walker stated. “A wonderful evening.”

Several books are available for sale. To purchase one, to make a donation or for more information about joining Hoof and Pay, call Wiseman at 803-960-9770 or Faulk at 803-429-3509.