Betting on a bit of fun and games

The “Bets for Pets” Fur Ball may be a night of fun and games, but its underlying purpose is a serious one.

The hands of poker and black jack dealt on Saturday will raise funds for the continued operation of Almost Home, the Humane Society of North Central Iowa animal shelter at 2415 1/2 5th Ave. S.

Officials report it takes $1,200 a day to run the no-kill shelter where otherwise abandoned dogs and cats wait to be adopted into their forever homes.

It also takes a lot of hard work, said Tania Elliot, shelter director, and the Fur Ball is an opportunity to meet the individuals who take care of the cleaning and feeding of the residents at Almost Home.

“Come and meet the staff who are here at the shelter every day,” she said. “They do a lot for the animals that people don’t always realize. Come out and meet the board of directors who are the ones who push to get things done. Just come out and learn about all the things the shelter does.”

As part of the meet and greet atmosphere of the evening a slide show will be presented that highlights the animals adopted during the past year, as well as the various events that have taken place.

In addition to providing a chance to socialize and develop a greater understanding of how the shelter operates, the Fur Ball will also simply be a good time.

“Just come and enjoy yourself,” Elliot said. “It’s a casual evening. Have some appetizers and a drink, bid on some great items, and play a hand or two of cards if you like.”

If people aren’t necessarily fans of casino games, a few hours of music and dancing may be more appealing. Mojo Productions will return this year to spin some tunes.

“The DJ was a huge hit last year,” Elliot said. “People were really having a lot of fun.”

A new addition to the event’s format will help people capture that fun on film. A photo booth will be provided by Memories in Focus Photography.

“People can snap those shots and remember ‘Oh, that was Fur Ball 2014,” Elliot said.

Silent and live auctions will also be held, offering people a chance to claim an animal themed piece of art or a number of several gift certificates for varying services.

Perhaps the most unique item up for bid during the auction is a set of silver bars painted with symbols from the Chinese zodiac. A certificate of authenticity values the bars at $600 and ensures their purity at 99.9 percent silver. Qi Baishi, master of Chinese ink painting, reportedly completed the bars in China in the 1930s.

Other items that are part of the auctions include a set of golf clubs, a pearl necklace with a sterling silver clasp, a Pandora bracelet, Hawkeye and Iowa State fleece blankets, a slate top coffee table and end tables, and collector’s editions of Time magazine from 1964-1965 that includes editions that highlight John F. Kennedy and space travels.