Save Our Shelters hawks celebrity memorabilia at the Bal Du Paws charity auction. 

SOS Shakes (Bal Du) Paws With Rich & Famous

It's good to have friends in high places.

People attending Save Our Shelters' second annual Bal Du Paws charity auction will have the opportunity to bid on some star-studded items thanks to well-connected SOS members.

Plugged-in Richmonder Walter Dotts called famed bass-voiced actor James Earl Jones, a former neighbor in upstate New York, and received an autographed Darth Vader helmet from the voice of the screen villain. Dotts also contacted talk-show host Sally Jesse Raphael, who had recently purchased his family's historic estate in New York, to contribute an original oil painting of an elephant.

Another SOS volunteer, Peggy Stoots of South Richmond, had an "in" with country-music star Billy Ray Cyrus: He's her brother's best friend. So Cyrus donated a pair of pants.

And Carytown interior designer Robert Rentz had a slightly closer relationship with NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough: They're cousins, and Yarborough is also donating memorabilia.

Other items to be auctioned include a belt worn by Patricia Cornwell on the book jacket of "Cause of Death," and an autographed "The Price is Right" script from animal-rights activist Bob Barker.

The auction will be held July 29 at the Bolling Haxall House at 211 E. Franklin St. WWBT Channel 12 Anchor Gene Cox will host and country-music stars Jimmy and Donna Dean will perform their song "Virginia."

For tickets and information, call (804)

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