South Bend (IN) Tribune
May 15, 1997
By Jennifer Martin--Tribune Staff Writer
(Thanks to Lisa Berlincourt for typing this out for us)

Pet's return inspires singer D'Arcy to donate signed CD for benefit auction

A few months ago, a woman was driving down a dark road, through a blinding snow, when she saw a Great Dane.

The dog was lying in a lonely field, gnawing a bone. It was dying of starvation.

The woman called her friend Sandie Beaver who picked the dog up. Beaver is a member of Animal Aid, a group that rescues abandoned animals.

The next day, Beaver tracked down the dog's owner through her tags. The name D'Arcy Wretzky didn't ring a bell until Beaver found out what she did for a living.

Wretzky is a singer and guitarist in the hit band Smashing Pumpkins. Turned our she had a home in southwestern Michigan. Her Great Dane had been lost for weeks, and had wandered miles from home.

When D'Arcy heard her dog was safely lodged at Beaver's home in Benton Harbor, she cried in relief, Beaver said. "She screamed, 'It's her, it's her, it's her!' "she said.

The dog survived, and a friendship was struck between D'Arcy (who uses only her first name professionally) and Beaver. D'Arcy, who grew up near Kalamazoo, bought a farm in the area several months ago. Her Great Dane wandered away shortly after she moved in.

Animal Aid President Chris Smither joked that the group was happy to rescue D'Arcy's Great Dane --and relieved when she picked it up.

"We didn't know what we were going to do with it," she said with a laugh. "It's not easy to foster a great big dog like that."

By way of thanking the group, D'Arcy has donated a gift to their upcoming auction this Sunday -- a framed award encasing the band's 1995 CD "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness". The award was presented by Virgin Records when the CD went gold, and D'Arcy autographed it for the auction.

The award is one of hundreds of items that Animal Aid will auction off at 1 p.m. Sunday at Martin Auction House, 6525 North U.S. 31, Berrien Springs. Also to be auctioned is a poster of Shawn Kemp playing basketball, signed by the Seattle Supersonic himself.

D'Arcy was not available for comment because she was on the West Coast this week. But through her sister, Kelly, who also lives on their southwest Michigan farm, the singer said the Smashing Pumpkins members are great animal lovers. D'Arcy has a number of dogs and horses here.

"My dog that Animal Aid rescued for me would have died the next day without their help," D'Arcy said.

The singer's warmth and willingness to help Animal Aid took the group by surprise. Beaver remembers going out to D'Arcy's farm to ask for an auction donation of some sort.

D'Arcy wasn't there, but Kelly met her with enthusiasm.

"You feel strange asking for something, but she didn't let me keep that thought for long," Beaver said. "They're very nice people. She said, 'By all means, we'll give you something. Don't worry.'"

Animal Aid has rescued hundreds of cats, dogs, kittens and puppies since its inception eight years ago. All are spayed or neutered and given shots for free; most find new homes. None are destroyed unless they are seriously ill or injured.

The group is staffed entirely by volunteers. Of the proceeds raised by Sunday's auction, about 80 to 90 percent will pay for veterinary costs, which can run up to $2000 a month. The rest will pay for pet food, cat litter, business supplies, and other miscellaneous costs.

"We're very grateful (D'Arcy) donated (the CD)," said Smither. "We've had some great response from people who know about it .... They want to come to the auction."

Smither said D'Arcy has also given the group "a very generous monetary donation."

"She's been extremely gracious with us," Smither said.

Other items to be auctioned include McDonald's Beanie Babies, a $100 gift certificate for veterinary services, two computer printers, Jim Beam collector bottles, microwaves, an exercise bike, luggage, a step exerciser, a free-standing sauna, two dishwashers and other furniture and decorator items.

The items can be viewed starting at 11 a.m., and the auction itself starts at 1 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

Return to D'Arcy's Page