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Pet Project

By Staff | Feb 24, 2012

Tony and Emmy Award-winning Actor Ken Howard with pound rescues turned pet, Harley and Hannah. Howard will be among the pet lovers attending the Onyx & Breezy Foundation's Third Annual Island Gala at Sanibel's Sanctuary Golf Club on March 4.

For veteran viewers of television, Ken Howard is known as The White Shadow. Newer generations may know him better for his hilarious characterization of “Hank” on NBC’s “30 Rock” or his Emmy Award-winning role in HBO’s Grey Gardens. In the entertainment industry, Howard is not only recognized as an actor, but also as President of the Screen Actors Guild, a position to which he has been twice-elected. Some may not readily be aware that beyond all his passion for the performing arts, Howard is an equally dedicated dog lover whose advocacy in one particular pet care initiative has generated help for pets, and hope for pet owners, throughout the United States.

Of course, Howard’s penchant for this “pet-project” is well known to those involved with the Onyx & Breezy Foundation, as well as anyone who attended last year’s gala on Sanibel which included an auction prize of dinner with the celebrity. For those who may have previously missed out, no worries, the 3rd Annual Island Gala benefitting the Onyx & Breezy Foundation takes place on March 4, 2012, and will again include opportunity to meet with Howard, and help a lot of dogs too.

While Ken Howard may take top billing for the event, Foundation principals Mark and Wanda Shefts would regard two very-loved labrador retrievers as the real stars behind their work. Respectively named Onyx and Breezy, the Shefts sought to create a not-for-profit that helped pets and pet owners when their own pooches passed and went, as all dogs do, to heaven.

Mark Shefts, a brokerage owner and financial industry expert with more than 30 years worth of experience working Wall Street, says he and his wife wanted to create something that would not only allow their pets’ names to live-on in posterity, but also provide help in terms of rescuing dogs destined for death at pounds or supporting those who lacked the means to provide proper medical attention for their pets. Over the last few years, Shefts says the foundation has helped generate more than a million dollars in support of pets and pet-related initiatives. While events are staged throughout the U.S., Shefts says local proceeds will help local pet programs.

This year’s fundraising gala will be held at The Sanctuary Golf Club on March 4. Tickets are $150 and come with an opportunity to enjoy a night of dinner, dancing and entertainment by Comedian Bobby Kelton. Shefts says there’s also some great items up for auction which Ken Howard will help emcee. Jewelry, art and a cruise to Useppa Island aboard a 52-foot yacht are among the offering. There will also be basket balls autographed by the White Shadow himself. The contents of one particular auction item are being kept secret for now, notes Shefts. It is the gift bag with all the S.W.A.G. (stuff we all get) otherwise provided to those who attended this year’s Screen Actors Guild Award ceremony. Anyone curious as to what items are doled out to icons of entertainment at such an event, can learn more during the Onyx & Breezy Foundation Gala.

To learn more about the not-for-profit or to reserve space at the Sanctuary Dinner, phone (239) 850-9998 or visit the foundation’s website at www.onyxandbreezy.org.