Kim Roberson attended her second Furry Tail Endings Gala Saturday. She’s visiting from Virginia. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

VIDEO: U.S. women pitch in to support Langley animals

Tenth annual LAPS Furry Tails Ending gala drew crowd and lots of donations, according to organizers.

To say the Langley Animal Protection Society garners local, national, and even international support is no exaggeration.

While psychologist Noor Alibay (who’s been profiled before for her participation in the event) came from Paris two years running to be part of the annual Furry Tail Endings gala, she couldn’t be part of tonight’s festivities.

But two fellow cat lovers hailing from a little closer to home – Idaho and Virginia – did, once again travel north of the 49th Parallel to be part of the fundraising festivities.

Janet Young from Boise and Kim Roberson of Manassas both travelled up to Langley to be part of the sold-out gala dinner – to tour and/or volunteer at the Patti Dale Animal Shelter in Aldergrove, and to pitch in on set up for tonight’s shindig.

For Young, it was her third consecutive gala, and she swears she’ll be back again next year.

“I was here doing the work (during set up), now I’m enjoying the party,” she told the Langley Advance during a break from the evening’s festivities.

“You can’t believe the generosity of this lady,” said LAPS executive director Jayne Nelson, describing Young as “almost always” being one of the first to step up and donate.

“She’s always the first one to say, ‘Do you need money?’ or ‘How can I help?’ She’s just incredible.” Nelson added.

Young is a self-proclaimed cat lover who was drawn in when she stumbled across a live feed of a litter of cats being born on the website for a Langley group called Tiny Kittens.

“I just fell in love with them,” she said.

Next thing she knew, she’d adopted Lindy and Jitterbug from LAPS, and a short time later she adopted two more, Kelo and Zepto – from a feral litter born to Tiny Kittens.

“I found out about LAPS and Tiny Kittens on the internet. I don’t even know how I did it, but one day I was searching and I found Tiny Kittens,” said Young, who not only attended tonight’s gala, but purchased an entire table and brought an entourage of people with her. Plus, she donate some silent auction items to help raise even more money for the cause.

“I like what they do… Nothing like this is done in Boise… I’ve just felt a real connection with what Langley is doing in this simple, small community of cat lovers… and I’ll be back,” she said.

“I’m happy to come and spend my money, and support a group that does some amazing things,” Young added, admitting she had never even heard of Langley before getting involved with LAPS and Tiny Kittens.

This trip, she arrived a few days ahead of the gala, and was able to tour the shelter and visit the new ISOasis facility currently under construction on the LAPS site.

READ: Cats and cat lovers were all smiles

“What they’re doing with the ISOasis is absolutely amazing,” Young said, explaining that she supports shelters near her home too, but credits LAPS with designing a state-of-the-art, cat care centre the likes of which has never been seen before and that she’s convinced will serve as a model for other animal centres around the globe.

Young was so impressed, in fact, that she became a sponsor for one of the isolation rooms in the new ISOasis. And so touched and affected by the efforts and compassion of Tiny Kittens founder Shelly Roche, she has chosen to dedicate the room in her honour. Roche was also one of the people who helped conceive of the idea for the isolation cat shelter.

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Virginia woman ‘sucked’ in

For Roberson, this was her second time in the past three years that she’s travelled up for the LAPS gala.

She too got involved with LAPS after watching Roche working with a litter of kittens, known as the Jungle Kittens, back in October 2013.

“I just watched one litter… I think I was bored one day, and was just flipping through, and found Tiny Kittens. I stayed there,” Roberson said, admitting it was the way that Roche care for the sick and dying kittens in her home, and how she nursed most of them back to health, that motivated her to become involved.

Roberson, a government contractor, has five inside cats and one feral cat at home. Like Young, and many others in attendance Saturday, she’s a cat lovers and “ huge” Tiny Kittens supporters.

“The whole drama, it just sucked me in… and I have been watching her ever since… I’m drawn to her love for the cats,” Roberson said of Roche. “I’ve been a viewer and supporter ever since.”

While she was drawn in initially by Roche and the Tiny Kittens website, Roberson said she’s since met the “amazing team” at LAPS and it’s changed her world.

She’s had a chance to get to know the people and tour and volunteer at the facilities, and see first-hand the difference the people make and the LAPS programs offer homeless, abandoned, or rescued pets.

“I plan my vacation up here now… to always make time to go to LAPS to volunteer,” Roberson said, noting she’s visited and volunteered at LAPS four times since initially discovering the Langley animal societies just two years ago.

These two women were among 450 who attended this weekend’s Furry Tail Endings.

This is the largest single fundraiser every year for LAPS. This year, the money raised will go towards a variety of projects at the animal welfare organization, including helping to outfit and operate the new cat isolation centre that is expected to be ready to open in December, as well as other animal welfare initiatives.

It was the 10th annual fundraising gala for LAPS, and was held at the Cascades Casino.

“This year, tickets were selling out like hotcakes,” Nelson said, noting they were all gone almost a month ahead.

READ: Langley animal gala sells out, again

“We are here with a whole bunch of fantastic people, hoping to raise a lot of money for a great cause,” Nelson said, surveying the crowd.

Between the ticket sales, a live and silent auction, a dream vacation lottery, and other types of smaller fundraisers held through the night, Nelson is optimistic it will be one of the best years for LAPS in its decade-long Furry Tail Endings’ history.

She’s hoping to raise $75,000 after they pay for all the expenses.

READ: Hundreds came together

• Stay tuned to the Langley Advance for the final numbers,

as well as more about the evening’s gala and other upcoming LAPS initiatives.

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rhooper@langleyadvance.com

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