Monday, September 28, 2009

Support Our Canine Heroes Wine Gala 2009

Guests enjoying the reception of the Wine Gala.Did we have an amazing weekend, or what? This past Saturday was GDB's 7th Annual Support Our Canine Heroes Wine Gala in Napa Valley, and we're thrilled to report that the event raised more than $427,000! All of the proceeds go toward veterinary care, helping to keep all of our program dogs and puppies happy and healthy.

The event was held at Charles Krug Winery's historic Carriage House in St. Helena. Despite the heat (temperatures topped 100 degrees!), guests were in festive and generous spirits, and bid with wild abandon at both the silent and live auctions, all the while enjoying food and wine from some of Napa Valley's acclaimed wineries and restaurants.

Vickie Kennedy, receiving an award commemorating her years of service as Wine Gala chair
GDB alumna Vickie Kennedy, who has chaired the Wine Gala since its inception with her guides Freida and Angela by her side, was honored during the program for her seven years of leadership. This was Vickie's final year at the helm of the event, and received a standing ovation from the crowd as she was presented with a commemorative crystal statue, pictured above. (Vickie's two-time co-chair, Paula Kornell of Oakville Ranch Vineyards and the president of the Napa Valley Vintners Association takes over next year with a new co-chair, Board Member Joan Boyd).

Special guests of honor were Captain and Mrs. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who have been GDB volunteers for many years, both as puppy raisers and breeding stock custodians. Unbeknownst to them, they were presented with a new breeder dog that night - a yellow Lab named Fame (their last breeder dog, Twinkle, recently passed away). They were ecstatic, stunned and grateful at the surprise... see for yourself in this video:

In addition, guests were treated to a wonderful keynote address by GDB alumna Maile George, who was introduced by her father, longtime GDB campus volunteer, Fred George. We thought you'd like to see their presentation as well, so we've posted it to our YouTube Channel.

All in all, it was a successful and celebratory event. We have so many people to thank for helping to make the event such a phenomenal success - sponsors, donors, guests and volunteers - that it would be impossible to list them all here. But just know that it takes a community to put on what has become a premiere event in Napa Valley, and the generosity of many to raise the impressive funds to care for our dogs. We're grateful to you all.


  1. I love the Charles Krug Winery, brings back so many fond memories of our visit to Napa Valley a few years ago.

  2. My my, these recent posts have been full of emotion! I think that has to be the most perfect name for the Sullenberger's new dog! Fame is what has been thrust upon them since that fateful day. In my somewhat short time in the GDB family, I have witnessed many curious matches like this. The dogs, including name, come along way before these matches are made. It has to make one think, "miracles can come true, it can happen to you"... Though, it would require that you become involved in the labor of love that goes on at this great place. Also, it makes you believe that some things are just meant to be.

    As a grad that can't currently afford our vet bills; words don't even come close to expressing the gratitude I feel for an event such as this. As for the people involved, well, they might even be allowed to pet my dog!

    I feel strange when I hear people thanking me for a task such as giving tours of the campus. Not really the guests, but the employees; once again, words don't come close for the thanks I have for the trusted companion I have received. Before I spoke with someone in the admissions office, I was virtually housebound. I was merely a shadow of my former self, if even that. After that day, I finally started down the road to recovery, and rehabilitation.

    -Seth & his lady in shining black fur.