The First Presbyterian Church on Prince Street in Conway’s fellowship hall was full Friday night with Humane Society of Faulkner County supporters.
At the group’s 17th annual Chocoholics Dream Night Out fundraiser, supporters paid $15 per person to eat at a chocolate buffet of handmade or donated chocolate desserts from area businesses, restaurants and community members. Carry-out was available at $16 per pound.
The chocolate wasn’t the only star of the fundraiser. The HSFC’s current foster parents were lined up on the fellowship hall’s stage with examples of animals ready for their “forever homes.”

One couple, Pat, 64, and J.R. Willey, 65, of Conway had one of their seven foster animals at the event. Bradley, a Beagle mix had come to the Willeys’ with a badly injured leg. Bradley had been hit by a car and has since had to have one leg amputated.
“He gets around well but his daytime activities are making sure the bed is safe and at night, making sure the couch is safe,” J.R. Willey said. “Dogs like this are in the program for a long time due to their rehabilitation needs.”

The couple have 14 dogs total, and donate much of their time to their care.
“We start out taking them out by 7 a.m. It takes one and a half hours to feed and water them. Then we put them in large pens so they can be outside most of the day,” J.R. Willey said. “They sleep inside at night, especially in the cold weather.”
He spends two hours walking the animals individually each day, and the couple administers special medications before bed.

The Willeys say their dogs’ expenses such as dog food come out of their own pockets, but the HSFC helps with veterinarian bills.
“There’s not much money available. No one makes money and income, it is from donations only,” Pat Willey said.

Finding foster homes is difficult, according to the Willeys, and many animals are collected and shipped to northeastern states where spay and neuter laws are enforced, enabling a need for more animals.
“It’s very heartwarming to see everyone’s support tonight,” J.R. Willey said. “It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year and we need to thank all the people who come out and support us.”
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)