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Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023

Best in Sheaux 2023


Barks and bling bring in the support!

Dog lovers know their canine companions enjoy a nice walk. Some of those furry friends fancy themselves as fashion models, strutting their stuff on the runway.

Fourteen local dogs will get the chance to do just that at the 14th annual Best in Sheaux, a benefit for Robinson's Rescue.

Best in Sheaux will be at 6:30 p.m. March 11 at Riverview Hall in downtown Shreveport. This year's fundraising event theme is "Vanity Fur (Barks & Bling!)."

"It's going to be a really fun show," Dr. Andrea Masters-Everson, said. "We did the photo shoot with the dogs wearing top hats and diamond necklaces."

The dogs featured in the show include a variety of breeds, including Great Danes, Great Pyrenees, standard poodles and Boston terriers. Attendees will learn each animal's backstory as they walk the runway. The winner will be selected by popular vote.

"They walk the runway, and friends and family and sponsors enjoy drinks and food," Masters-Everson said. "We hope every dog has love. These dogs have great stories. It's easy to see the love for these pets."

Best in Sheaux also includes a Surprise Shelter Show featuring six adoptable dogs from the Caddo Parish and Bossier Parish animal shelters. Those dogs will be escorted down the runway by a team of on-air personalities and crew from KSLA.

"KSLA is filled with animal lovers just like me, so this seemed like a no-brainer for us to team up," said Biskie Duncan, KSLA news anchor. "This year we're going to have KSLA employees walking these dogs on the runway, and I have to tell you my coworkers have never signed up for anything quicker! It makes me so proud to see the heart that our station has for helping not just the people but also the furry friends in our community."

Duncan showed her own dog in last year's event.

"I was honored to be able to walk with my sweet pup Dottie on the runway and let everyone see that she's absolutely the best dog ever," she said. "I know everyone says that about their dog, and they're right, because they're all the best. But I'm pretty sure Dottie is the best of the best. There's nothing like the love and connection between a dog and their person and being able to share that with an audience of fellow furry friend lovers is a special experience."

Tickets for Best in Sheaux are $100 and are available online at bis2023.givesmart.com beginning Feb. 26. Online and in-person votes are $5 each.

In addition to the runway show and fan voting, the event will feature a silent auction with a framed “Blue Dog” print, jewelry, a hunting trip, a round of golf and more. Raffle tickets will be available for $10 each. The raffle includes three items – $500 in local eateries' gift cards, a Stock the Bar package and a $500 gift card from Clarkes Jewelers.

Best in Sheaux is presented by the William A. Robinson Foundation, a longtime supporter of Robinson's Rescue.

"Bill Robinson has been connected since the start," Masters- Everson said. "Robinson's Rescue was formulated around 2006 and opened its doors in 2008. He was involved in the very first conversations. We are thankful that the foundation continues his love for our mission."

Robinson's Rescue provides low-cost spay and neuter services to help control the area's stray animal population.

In 2012, Caddo Parish Animal Shelter took in 10,825 animals and had a euthanasia rate of 83 percent. In 2022, the shelter's intake was 5,349 animals, with a euthanasia rate of 15 percent. That year, Robinson's Rescue performed 7,089 spay and neuter surgeries, its highest yearly total to date.

"It's a major benefit to Caddo Parish animal services," said Travis Clark, CPAS director. "It's a public safety issue. There's less probability of being bitten. I can safely say that since 2018, most bites have come from owned animals. Because they are domesticated, there is less chance they carry rabies. We want to stay on top of the stray population. Robinson's Rescue helps with that,"

The parish pays a percentage to Robinson's Rescue for its Subsidized Spay/Neuter Incentive Program. SSNIP provides free spay/neuter surgery and rabies vaccinations to pets owned by residents of Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Sabine and Webster parishes who take home $2,100 or less a month or, as a couple, take home $3,100 or less a month.

Clark said that the low-cost and free services provided by Robinson's Rescue have significantly reduced the shelter's intake numbers.

CPAS also has a Trap, Neuter and Return program for feral cats, which Clark said controls the population better than euthanasia.

"Let's say you have five adult cats, hanging out where there is food available," he said. "If you trap the cats and euthanize them, you're only making room for more cats. We neuter then and return them to same area. Because if you take those adults away, the remaining cats have more access to food, which ultimately makes larger litters."

Clark said that since the summer of 2018, every animal that left CPAS had been spayed or neutered. Still, there are those who disapprove.

"Some people are not fans of the process," Clark said. "They want their animal to have at least one litter to know what it's like to be a momma. Unfortunately, in this environment, it doesn't really bode well for animal health in our area."

A healthy environment is the goal of everyone involved.

"It's great when Robinson's Rescue hosts (Best in Sheaux)," Clark said. "It highlights animal welfare issues and brings awareness to the totality of the circumstances in our area."

Masters-Everson said the benefits help Robinson's Rescue continue its mission despite inflation and other economic challenges for the nonprofit and its clients.

"We could not see the big picture without these fundraisers," she said. "Inflation has increased the cost of everything. We are thankful for the community and national foundations. They are so supportive of our mission that we have not raised our prices."

Duncan – a longtime advocate for shelters and rescue animals – has been one of those supporters since she discovered Robinson's Rescue.

"I love that this team provides this service without judgment to anyone who comes through their doors," she said. "They work tirelessly to help educate pet owners about the importance of preventing a surplus pet population. That's as grassroots as it gets in the animal world.

"I love what Robinson's Rescue stands for, and how they do their best to make it easy to do the right thing. They've been doing this since 2008 and never once changed the rate for the surgeries. In today's climate, that alone is astounding! But even more incredible is the thought of how many cats and dogs they have saved through the over 80,000 surgeries that have been performed in that little building!"

For more information about Best in Show, visit BIS2023.givesmart.com. To learn more about Robinson's Rescue, visit www.robinsonsrescue.org or https://www.facebook.com/RobinsonsRescue.


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