You would expect someone named after a dog to have a fondness for animals.
In the case of George A. "Frolic" Weymouth, renowned for his environmental stewardship as a cofounder of the Brandywine Conservancy, that understates the reality. A recent tally of his personal menagerie: 11 horses, four dogs, five cats, 12 parakeets, six chickens, two cows, and sundry birds and fish.
Echoing Weymouth's passion is Victoria B. Wyeth, the 31-year-old granddaughter of Weymouth's great friend Andrew Wyeth - "one of the great painters of all time," Weymouth notes emphatically.
Although the two have known each other since Victoria Wyeth's infancy, both volunteered independently to assist the Chester County SPCA with a forthcoming fund-raiser, they said last week.
Rich Britton, a spokesman for the CCSPCA, acknowledged that it had been a difficult year for the independent nonprofit, and that he hoped for a big turnout at the public gala. Demand for services is up, while a challenging economy has prompted more people to surrender their animals and taken a toll on donations, he said.
"The Chester County SPCA is thrilled by, and greatly appreciative of, the support and generosity of Frolic and Victoria," Britton said. "They epitomize the compassionate and philanthropic spirit of the Chester County community."
Wyeth, who grew up surrounded by animals, including many immortalized in paintings by her grandfather and her uncle Jamie Wyeth, said that ever since she had read about the "vile, despicable" fate of Emma and Luna, she had wanted to help the CCSPCA.
The two pet dogs from a Chester County farm were found shot between the eyes at close range and positioned tail to tail along railroad tracks in October. Despite a massive investigation initiated by the CCSPCA, national publicity, and a $50,000 reward, the case remains unsolved.
A phone call from U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller, a family friend, gave Wyeth the opportunity, she said. The judge hoped Wyeth would agree to speak about her late grandfather at Forget Me Not, the CCSPCA's annual gala on June 20.
Wyeth said she was thrilled. Besides, she added, who wants to buck a judicial order?
"Not only is he [Schiller] an avid supporter of animals and of Wyeth art, but he's also a wonderful matchmaker," Wyeth said with a broad smile.
Schiller recently introduced her to someone she's now dating, Wyeth said. When the judge suggested she take to the gala a video from a 2008 interview she did with her grandfather for Japanese TV, it was a given, she said.
Wyeth said the video, which will be part of her presentation, starts with a formal question-and-answer format that focuses on Andrew Wyeth; by the end, it becomes a loose, fun gabfest between her and Andy, which is how friends and family addressed him.
The setting for the gala comes courtesy of Weymouth, who also got a phone call he couldn't refuse. His came from Linda Kaat, one of the volunteers responsible for keeping the Brandywine Battlefield site open after crippling state budget cuts.
Weymouth said Kaat, also development and public relations manager for the CCSPCA, wanted to know whether the gala could be held at the Big Bend, his lushly landscaped 250-acre estate. It gets its name from being situated at a crook of the gurgling Brandywine.
No arm-twisting was needed, Weymouth said, describing Kaat as a wonderful person who's been doing good work for decades.
Weymouth, whose signature summer straw hat shades his infectious grin, added that the troubled economy makes contributions to charities more important than ever.
He said he had to restrain himself from yelling, "Tightwad!" when people who can afford donations blame the economy for not opening their wallets.
And even though a previous commitment will keep Weymouth from attending the fund-raiser at the Big Bend, "I love for people to use it," he said, especially for such an important cause.
After all, it was his 3-year-old brother's lost foxhound that gave birth to his name. The tot's incessant wailing - "Where's Frolic? Where's Frolic?" - exasperated his mother.
"To shut him up, I was handed to my brother," Weymouth said. "It stuck."
For information on registering for the Chester County SPCA gala, call 610-692-6113 or visit http://www.ccspca.org/.