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BRHA 3&dog

Jen Reighard, Mary Gehl (standing), Mel Beck, and Diamond (pit-bull mix) are all preparing to celebrate the Chinese New Year “Year of the Dog” at River Rising, Feb. 16. 


The Bitter Root Humane Association (BRHA) celebrates dogs every day, but only has one chance every 12 years to celebrate the Chinese New Year “Year of the Dog.”

This year, that celebration is from 5 to 7 p.m. at River Rising, 337 West Main St. in Hamilton on Friday, Feb. 16.

Party goers will enjoy indulging in tasty oriental flair appetizers, sweets, and Asian beverages, plus the company of a relaxed gathering of animal lovers and BRHA supporters, all for only $15 per person.

“It will be very fun and an opportunity to celebrate the ‘Year of the Dog,’” said Mary Gehl, BRHA board president. “Every year is a different animal on the zodiac calendar.”

Another fun aspect of the evening is an opportunity to win prizes.

“We can’t have pets because it is a restaurant,” Gehl said. “But we are asking people, if they want, to bring a picture of their pet and we’ll put them on our "Lucky Dog Gallery" board (lucky, because they have homes) and we’ll draw from those for a real cool door prize – for humans and their pet.”

Each table at River Rising will have red envelopes for making additional donations.

“In the Chinese New Year celebration, red is a big deal and symbolizes prosperity,” Gehl said. “They put money in those red envelopes and they give them to people to extend their love. It is a chance for folks to donate to the cause and a show of good luck.”

The BRHA appreciates the full use of River Rising on Main Street.

“They close at 4 p.m. and within 45 minutes we’ll have it transformed into a little Asia garden and be ready to go,” Gehl said. “We’re doing it from 5 to 7 p.m. and people can just come and go during that time period. We’re hoping folks will have some cocktails, appetizers and play with us a bit, and then head over to the opening night of the Hamilton Players new hit ‘Chicago.’ It’s a perfect date night.”

Although admission is pay at the door, RSVP to or 363-5449. The Bitter Root Humane Association is located on Fairgrounds Road and provides “caring, compassionate shelter and enrichment for homeless companion animals, finds loving lifelong homes, reunites pets and owners, promotes population control, and advocates for all animals.”

All funds raised are poured back into the shelter for care of animals and education for the public.