Dog Days, a great show for a good cause

Eighties’ faves Jack Mack and the Heart Attack help raise funds for Stray Hearts Animal Shelter

By Ariana Kramer
Posted 8/8/19

Over the past nine years, the Dog Days of Taos benefit concert has raised more than $160,000 for Stray Hearts Animal Shelter, according to “Mattress Mary” Domito, founder and producer of …

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Dog Days, a great show for a good cause

Eighties’ faves Jack Mack and the Heart Attack help raise funds for Stray Hearts Animal Shelter


Over the past nine years, the Dog Days of Taos benefit concert has raised more than $160,000 for Stray Hearts Animal Shelter, according to “Mattress Mary” Domito, founder and producer of the annual fundraising event. Domito is the owner of Taos Lifestyles and Mountain Lifestyles and home furnishing stores in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Alamosa, Colorado. In addition to having an eye for design and comfort, Domito has a heart for animals.

To continue to raise awareness and funds for Stray Hearts Animal Shelter, Domito is producing and promoting Dog Days X to celebrate the 10th year of the annual fundraiser. This year, Domito is bringing out Los Angeles soul band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack for what promises to be a dynamic live show. A silent auction and raffle round out the evening.

The fun takes place Saturday (August 10) at Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership, 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west. Doors open at 4 p.m., the silent auction begins at 5 p.m. and Jack Mack and the Heart Attack blast their horns starting at 6:15 p.m., give or take a few. Tickets for the event are $25 at the door or in advance at Stray Hearts Animal Shelter, 1200 St. Francis Lane, Taos; Mattress Mary’s stores and online at All event proceeds go to Stray Hearts.

Forever family

Stray Hearts serves all of Taos County, providing humane shelter and care to surrendered, abandoned and abused companion animals. The no-kill shelter adopts out animals to their “forever family” for a reasonable fee. It is also possible to sign up to become a foster volunteer and take an animal home for a temporary length of time, with the shelter providing all needed materials (blankets, towels, crates, cleaning supplies, litter boxes and litter, food, treats, toys, medications and medical care, etc.)

But, right now, there’s a problem. “We are full – overfull,” said Donna Karr, president of the board of directors of Stray Hearts Animal Shelter. The shelter has 116 dogs and 80 cats who need homes. For this reason, all animals at the shelter are currently available for a reduced adoption fee of $50. This includes immunizations, microchipping and spay-neuter services. In addition, all senior animals (8 years and older) are always free to seniors 65 and older.

For those who want to help out, but are not in a position to care for an animal, Karr said that donations of paper towels, blankets, cloth towels, bleach and food are always needed. The shelter also provides a pet food pantry for those Taos County residents who need food assistance.

Karr explained that one-third of Stray Heart’s funds comes from the town of Taos and Taos County. The remaining two-thirds come from grants, donations and fundraisers like Dog Days X.

“Dog Days is going to be really fun this year,” Karr said. She commented that the silent auction items will include experiences such as raft trips, a balloon ride, ski pass, golf trip and many restaurant certificates as well as gift baskets for dog lovers, cat lovers, wine lovers and more. Other auction items include an original painting by Thom Wheeler and a large giclee print by Taos artist Ed Sandoval. The raffle winner will receive a luxury Simmons Beautyrest mattress set donated by Domito and valued at $2,500.

“We’re excited about this,” said Karr.

Soul band

Jack Mack and the Heart Attack have a serious reputation for being a top-notch soul band. To drop just a few names, Jack Mack’s members have performed, recorded or written for Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, Greg Allman, The Eagles, Keb Mo, James Brown and Natalie Cole, among others. Bonnie Raitt has said on record that they are one of her favorite live bands. Curtis Salgado, who has won two Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year (2013, 2017), said “The first time I heard Jack Mack I thought I better get off my butt and step up my game.”

Mary Domito has been a fan of Jack Mack since the 1980s. When she was thinking about whom to invite for the 10th anniversary of Dog Days, the band naturally came to mind.

“I wanted to bring a large band with very happy, cool, upbeat music,” said Domito.

The eight-piece band which includes a horn section and backup singer has two original members who have been playing together since the band formed in 1980: guitarist Andrew Kastner and saxophonist Bill Bergman. Lead singer Mark Campbell has been with the group since 1985, and trumpet player Roy Weigand joined sometime in the ‘90s. The current lineup also includes Kathy Merrick (vocals), Greg Brown (drums), Richard Grossman (bass, vocals) and Carlos Murguia (keyboards, vocals).

Sax player Bergman said this will be Jack Mack’s first time performing in Taos. The band will be playing some songs off of their latest release, “Back to the Shack.”

“It’s a lot of fun. We have a dash of James Brown, and a dash of all the best soul artists. It’s a fun party vibe. It’s all about having fun,” Bergman emphasized.

Jack Mack’s musical successes include seven records, blockbuster movie soundtracks, and hundreds of global television and stage performances. Some interesting work lies ahead for the band. Back in 1996, Jack Mack was playing at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, for the Summer Olympics when a domestic terrorism pipe bomb exploded. Because of this, Jack Mack is going to be featured in two film projects about the bombing event: a Netflix series called “Manhunt” and a Clint Eastwood movie due out next summer.

Bergman said it was a thrill to meet Eastwood.

Local support

Business sponsors and supporters for Dogs Days X are Mattress Mary’s Taos Lifestyles and Mountain Lifestyles, 10,000 Wags, the Taos News, Randall Lumber & Hardware, Hotel Don Fernando, Super Groomers, Cid’s Food Market, The Lora Company Real Estate, PPC Solar, Guadalupe Credit Union, KNCE-FM 93.5 Radio, Taos Mesa Brewing, Digerati Design, and Copy Queen of Taos.

“Thanks to all the businesses who donate every year and donors and volunteers and everybody at Stray Hearts,” remarked Domito. “It takes a village.”

For more information about adopting an animal from Stray Hearts, visit the animal shelter during its hours from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday (closed on Wednesday) at 1200 St. Francis Lane in Taos. Call (575) 758-2981 or visit For more on the venue, call (575) 758-1900.

Stray Hearts Animal Shelter

1200 St. Francis Lane, Taos

(575) 758-2981

Open 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday

Closed on Wednesday

Current special adoption fees

$50 for any animal (includes spay/neuter, vaccinations, microchip)

Regular adoption fees


Puppies (8 weeks-6 months) $145

Dogs (6 months-8 years) $80

Mature dogs (8 years and older) $55

Senior dog for senior citizen, no charge*


Kittens (8 weeks-6 months) $95

Cats (6 months-8 years) $65

Mature cats (8 years and older) $45

Senior cat for senior citizen, no charge*

*Senior citizen age 65-plus

Millions of homeless animals

‘In the U.S., there are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Barely half of these animals are adopted. Tragically, the rest are euthanized … Many people are surprised to learn that nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.’ — The Humane Society of the United States (

Stray Hearts is a "no-kill" center.

Regional spay-neuter resources

Taos County law requires pet owners to spay-neuter companion dogs and cats. There are a number of resources to help. Puppies and kittens can be spayed-neutered as young as 8 weeks old.

Zimmer Feline Foundation

Vouchers for free cat spay/neuter services for local veterinarians,

(505) 466-1676

Four Corners Animal League

Low-cost dog spays-neuters with local veterinarians

(575) 776-2928

Planned Pethood Taos

Provides free traps for feral and outdoor cat trap-neuter-release program and other spay-neuter support

(575) 613-4110

Española Humane Veterinary Clinic

Free spay-neuter services to companion and outdoor or feral dogs and cats for New Mexico residents

(505) 753-0228


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