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Fundraiser in Morris makes for a ‘Wonderful Life’ for dogs

MORRIS – It’s a wonderful life for the basset hounds rescued by Guardian Angel Basset Rescue, and it also was the theme for the Guardian Angel Basset Rescue’s 14th annual auction.

Basset lovers, owners and foster parents come from throughout the Midwest to participate in the annual auction held in Morris and to give back to an organization many of them feel is a godsend.

The night is filled with good food, exciting auctions and shared stories of four-legged friends.

“This is the biggest event we’ve had to date with over 250 people attending,” Guardian Angel Basset Rescue CEO Larry Little said.

The rescue is known more for it’s annual Basset Waddle in Dwight every September, but the organization works all year rescuing and finding homes, both foster and forever homes, for its charges.

Kelli Zopfi, chairwoman for the auction, said it’s an important evening to bring everyone together and raise money for the care and veterinarian bills the dogs need.

Mary and Allen Black have three adopted basset hounds from the rescue, two boys and one girl who keep them busy and on their toes.

“I was raised with a basset,” Mary said. “I came years ago to my first waddle and I haven’t been without one since.”

She said there are so many that need help, and all the ones she’s had have been awesome dogs.

“They all have there issues,” Allen said. “They just need love.”

Mary said the best thing about owning a basset is the day starts with a laugh and ends with a laugh.

The love of bassets was everywhere at the auction, which was held at Jennifer’s Garden in Morris, where the organization took up all four ballrooms, half filled with auction items – many of them basset themed.

Zopfi said the ball holds something for everyone.

This year’s theme was “It’s a Wonderful Life,” celebrating the life of the hundreds of dogs that have gone through their care.

Linda and Lynn Ferrel traveled from Des Moines, Iowa, to be part of the event.

“They need homes,” Linda said. “We didn’t want a puppy, it was nice to be able to get a basset that was past that stage.”

Lynn said part of the benefits of getting the rescued dog is it already is house broken and the foster family can tell you about its personality.

The Ferrels adopted two dogs from the rescue because there aren’t any closer to their home.

Zopfi’s 7-year-old daughter, Payton, has had a basset in her home her entire life, her parents had their 14- and 11-year old hounds before she was born.

“They’re cute and you can make friends with them and take them for walks,” she said.

Payton is the youngest Basset Friend Forever, a donor who commits to donating at least $10 a month. She does chores around the house so she can donate.


Guardian Angel Basset Rescue rescues Basset Hounds from abusive and unwanted situations. For information on donating or adopting, visit

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