Meritage’s Chef Klein lends signature talent for the animals - Learn how you can partake in his culinary creations
Seven is a lucky number for Animal Humane Society. That’s how long esteemed Chef Russell Klein has been donating his time and services to the annual AHS Fall Wine Dinner hosted at The Saint Paul Hotel. It was 2002 when Chef Klein came to the Twin Cities as executive chef at W.A. Frost and, since then, he hasn’t missed the event—even in 2007 when it took place on the second opening night of his new restaurant, Meritage, a Brasserie. He literally ran back and forth from his hours-old restaurant to The Saint Paul Hotel during the evening’s excitement.
Russell, who grew up in New York City, says his mother is an animal devotee who likely instilled in him his love for animals. The dish he is preparing for the Fall Wine Dinner pays homage to his mother and her love for animals; in fact, it is her recipe for what is now Chef Klein’s signature dish, pumpkin soup.
Making soup for nearly 300 guests to be served at once can be a challenge. Chef Klein estimates he will roast four to five cases of certified organic, locally grown pumpkins for the soup. Each bowl of this rich seasonal soup will be garnished with turkey confit and spiced pecans with all the turkey donated by Pat Ebnet at Wild Acres Game Farms.
So, what makes a busy chef keep donating his culinary talents for an animal welfare organization?
“As restaurant owners, my wife Desta and I have the ability to help those organizations we believe in, and we believe in the mission of Animal Humane Society,” says Russell as he pauses to reflect.
Chef Klein and Desta, who manages Meritage, also live by their words. At home they have an 18-year old Siamese cat named Dweezel and two AHS alumni dogs, five-year-old Parker, a Doberman pinscher from Golden Valley and Posie, a three-year old black Labrador retriever from the St. Paul site. “Yes, we have Parker and Posie… ” Russell chimes in, “after the actress.”
Chef Klein’s dish is the first of six courses served throughout the evening with wine by The Cellars Wines & Spirits. The epicurean adventure begins with Klein’s soup and continues with amazing fare from chef’s Scott Pampuch of Corner Table, Vincent Francoual of Vincent A Restaurant, Lance Kapps of the St. Paul Grill, Mike Phillips of The Craftsman and Sandra Sherva of Birchwood Café.
Our annual Fall Wine Dinner is just a little over a week away. This incredible event raises much-needed funds for the animals in our care. Please consider being our guest… click here to learn more about this intriguing event.
An easier way for you to find your pet
All the adorable little faces on the Animal Humane Society website may make it inviting to visit, but recent updates have made it that much easier for you to navigate—both in finding a new animal and your lost pet.
Helping you find a lost pet
Every now and then we can get so turned around that we don’t know where we’d be—literally—without the tiny, often hand-held gadgets to guide us home. Unfortunately, outside of providing our pets with a microchip, we can’t strap a device to our pets to locate there whereabouts when they go missing. Panic sets in and we want to do everything possible to locate them. When that happens, the AHS website is there for you with the recently launched AHS Lost & Found Online Bulletin Board.
This new feature acts as a one-stop resource for you to locate your lost pet. It provides you:
Take a look and remember AHS should your pet go missing.
Finding a new pet just got easier
In addition to helping you find your lost pet, we can also better help you find exactly what you’re looking for in a new pet. The search feature on the adoption pages now includes specific breeds and age groups allowing you to get closer to the right pet for your family. Individual adoption profiles also now provide any necessary information regarding the pet you’re viewing, whether he has special needs or simply needs a home without other pets. Take a look for yourself and spread the word about the animals we have available for adoption.
Black dogs and cats, Halloween
Halloween is days away and with it come images of kids in costumes, buckets of candy, carved pumpkins on the front step, and black cats crossing our path. Black cats often get a bad rap because of the superstition that surrounds them. But what many don’t know is that the plight of these animals goes beyond the superstition, and also extends to dogs.
At Animal Humane Society, and shelters around the country, black animals are met with a long-standing hurdle—they simply aren’t seen. The mystery surrounding these animals and why they aren’t being adopted has started many conversations and has been the topic of many articles. Some have even developed websites dedicated to the issue.
One theory is based on the popularity of Labrador retrievers. The Lab is one of the most popular dog breeds in Minnesota and according to the American Kennel Club, the most popular dog breed in the nation. Unfortunately, what’s popular in the community becomes popular in the shelter; therefore, the kennels at AHS are often filled with black Labs that look very similar. When potential adopters see five in a row and then spot one with a different color coat, the unique color might catch their attention, but Cindy Johnson, AHS director of customer service, urges people to remember that “hair color is superficial, it’s the personality of the animals that is important… and they all have their own unique personality.”
The issue is called “black dog syndrome” but black cats are often overlooked in the cat adoption centers too. Centuries of negative associations have made it tough for the black cats of today. “Some of the most beautiful cats I have ever seen are black. Their shiny, silky fur and green or golden eyes are stunning,” says Cindy. “Often these gorgeous pets sit a little longer in shelters because we always have a vast selection of cats available for adoption and, like the black dog, they go unnoticed.”
How we can change the situation for these animals is an on-going discussion. The best way to address it now is to let people know about the situation. It was said best in a San Francisco Chronicle article on the topic this past August, “The next time you’re checking out available dogs on the Web or walking through the kennels in your local shelter, keep your eye out for the love in the eye of a dog of a darker hue.”
See the love in the eyes of Pavol and Batman, just two of the many black animals we have available for adoption.
Squishy leads the pack at AHS
Squishy looks like a small critter out of a fairytale cartoon. She’s cute, she’s cuddly and she’s got a face that makes you want to give her a big affectionate squeeze. And you could do it, if it wouldn’t be detrimental to her well being. She’s little. Very little. And is the kind of animal that would probably prefer a gentle, one-finger pat on the top of her head.
Weighing in at only 300 grams, Squishy is a member of the small critter species at Animal Humane Society. She’s an adorable rat, one of nearly 40 available for adoption at AHS, and has been waiting for a home in Woodbury since late August. Already a Facebook fan favorite, she’s now looking for a friendly boy or girl to give her a new home.
Rats are the most intelligent of all rodents and are highly social animals making for great first pets for responsible children. They love to climb and will make good use of ladders, ropes, hammocks, tunnels, and platforms. They love to play with toys: blocks of wood for chewing, cardboard tubes, and toys designed for ferrets or parrots. Simple items like large cardboard mailing tubes, crumpled paper, paper bags, and cardboard boxes also make wonderful toys. Rats are very intelligent and need to be challenged, so rotating the toys on a regular basis is suggested.
Rats need companionship, and therefore, owners need to spend time with him or her. Unfortunately, male rats can fight if housed together so it’s recommended that owners looking for two rats get two females. Rats are capable of producing many litters in a very short period of time so it is not recommended to house a male and female rat together.
Important and fun facts about rats
Squishy is one of nearly 40 rats available for adoption at AHS’s five facilities. If you’re still not convinced about rats as pets, take a look at Jake and Eddie’s story.
When looking at ways to get man’s best friend off the couch this winter, consider Now Boarding. Listed as the Best Pet Boarding Facility on City Pages’ “2009 Best of the Twin Cities” list, Now Boarding is more than a boarding facility. It offers a variety of services, including doggy daycare… or in better words:
To schedule a time for your dog to stay active this winter, visit www.nowboardingpets.com. And remember: A tired dog is a good dog!
A badge of honor for your pet
Our pets can’t earn scout badges like the kids in our lives, but they can do the next best thing—become a therapy animal to bring comfort, learning and fun into the lives’ of others. Pets of all shapes and sizes are eligible from dogs to guinea pigs. Only three Intro to Therapy Animals sessions remain between now and the New Year. Learn what it takes to become an Animal Ambassador with your pet and register today. The program is free.
Enrich your life with a senior pet
Many don’t know this, but November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month. AHS sees a lot of senior animals go into new homes; however, for many, that’s only after an extended stay in the shelter. Senior animals are often overlooked for the rambunction of their younger counterparts, but during the month of November, we ask you to consider these pets and look at the benefits they can bring to your life.
The health benefits of pet ownership are incredible. They help us alleviate stress and get out in the world for a little exercise. These affects are astounding for senior citizens. Studies have shown that independently living seniors who own pets tend to have better physical and mental well being than those who do not own a pet. Consider our Pets for Seniors program sponsored by Purina. Seniors 60 years of age or older may adopt a cat three years or older and receive a $50 discount on the adoption fee. Some restrictions do apply and a limited number of applications are available each month. Call (763) 5832-4325 for more information.
An update on Walter
Walter was featured in an issue of this newsletter in mid-September. Unfortunately, he still has not been adopted into a new home. Walter is a young cat who has spent all of his life in and out of shelters. Recently, it was discovered that he has a heart murmur and now needs an exceptional owner to provide him with a loving, lasting home. Consider bringing this beautiful, black-and-white cat into your home.
Consider the Walk for Animals
…. for pleasure. Mark your calendars! AHS’s Walk for Animals is set for Saturday, May 1, 2010. Online fundraising will get underway after the New Year.
… for business. Interested in having a booth at this year's Walk for Animals? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763/432-4842
Giving to the dogs through music
Animal lover and singer/songwriter Trish Painter is using her art to raise much-needed funds for the animals of AHS. Her most recent work, Dog Tracks, places a folk music soundtrack to the daily activities and antics of her dogs. Available online at CDBaby.com, Trish will donate $2 to AHS for each album sold. Get your copy today at www.cdbaby.com/cd/trishpainter.
Drive-into another Galaxy… for the dogs
A new galaxy has opened up and it has set its dog friendly sights on AHS. Galaxy Drive In is open year-round and working toward ending animal homelessness by accepting on-site donations for AHS. Support our work by having a bite to eat at Galaxy. The dining destination is dog friendly and features free ice cream cones for dogs and a pup friendly menu with burgers, hot dogs and bone treats. For more information, call (952) 277-7777 or visit www.Galaxy-DriveIn.com. Galaxy Drive In is located at 3712 Quebec Avenue South, St. Louis Park, Minn.