Hefty, Young Couple Meets Up In Dallas For Arranged Relationship

They didn’t know each other. They hadn’t even met via an online dating service. She had been living in Albuquerque and he hailed from glamorama Los Angeles. But they rendezvoused in Dallas this week for an arranged relationship. Sure, they’re a bit hefty and she’s just 10 years old, but according to those-in-the-know, they would find bliss together.

Boipelo*

Adhama**

Whoa! Before getting the wrong impression, it’s not what you think.

The two are Nile hippos and the new residents of the $14M,  2.1-acre Simmons Hippo Outpost at the Dallas Zoo. While Boipelo is a svelte babe weighing in at 2,395 pounds, six-year-old hunky Adhama hits the scales at 3,722 pounds.

According to Dallas Zoo Animal Operations and Welfare VP Harrison Edell, “Over the next 30 days while the hippos are in quarantine, our keepers, veterinary staff and nutritionists will keep a close eye on them to ensure they continue to do well. For now they’re living in separate halves of the new barn, but because of its open design, they’ve already ‘met’ each other through the fences and are getting along well.”

It’s been 16 years since the Zoo’s last Nile hippo, Papa, died. At the time of his death, he was 53 years old and “the oldest Nile hippo being cared for in a U.S. zoo.”

The official debut of the newbie river horses will probably take place in April. Stay tuned.

* Photo credit: ABQ BioPark./Courtesy of ABQ BioPark 
** Photo credit L.A. Zoo./ Courtesy of L.A. Zoo

North Texas Smarty Pants — TAG And Lee Park Jr. Conservancy — Make Kentucky Derby A Two-Day Fest Of Fundraising

Tired of hearing about event collisions? You know. That’s when two or three very interesting fundraisers are scheduled at the same time like this past Wednesday, when the luncheon slam-bang — Linz Award, Planned Parenthood and the Virginia Chandler Dyke — had guests making Solomon-like decisions. Not everyone can be a Janie McGarr, who attended the Linz VIP reception in the Omni’s Trinity Ballroom and then scooted on over to the Omni’s Dallas Ballroom for Planned Parenthood.

But how about some good news about two groups that had competed for the same type of guests and managed to make it all work this year?

Horse racing (File photo)

Back story: In past years, the Kentucky Derby has had the BrainHealth’s Think Ahead Group (TAG) and Lee Park Junior Conservancy holding their fundraisers at the same time to see the Run for the Roses. Ah, but this year those brainiacs came up with an idea — a two-fer by holding their event the night before to get the momentum underway plus celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Gee, no wonder they’re so dang smart!

So, here’s how North Texas is gonna celebrate the Kentucky equine race:

  • Harold Scherrell, Alison Percy, Scott Caldwell and Dan Hunt (File photo)

    Friday, May 5 (8 p.m.-midnight) — TAG holds Cinco de Derby at Marie Gabrielle with margaritas and mint juleps complementing Mexican food. If you haven’t been to Marie Gabrielle, don’t tell a soul. It’s Dallas proper’s sweetheart of an oasis within the concrete forest. Proceeds benefit the Discovery Group, a program at the Center for BrainHealth that “works to improve quality of life after an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.” As for tickets, non-TAG member tickets are going for $87 and members save $20 for their $67 tickets.

To keep things rocking and rolling, wake up late morning and put on your prettiest frock and nattiest duds and prepare for fashionable strutting and horse racing watching. (Editor’s note: put tea bags on top of those partied-out eyes for 10 minutes before applying the makeup.)

  • Tyler Stevens, Gay Donnell and Camille Cain Barnes*

    Saturday, May 6 (4 – 7:30 p.m.) — For the big spenders, the 9th Annual Day at the Races Co-Chairs Camille Cain Barnes and Tyler Stevens announced at the kick-off party at Vineyard Vines that there will be a VIP private champagne reception at Arlington Hall and Lee Park starting at 4 p.m. But, please let the jeans, cowboy boots and leather fringe take the day off. This one demands true southern comfort sundresses and seersuckers topped off with smashing hats. Well, after all, there is a competition for the Best Dressed and Best Hat. If it’s a pretty day, there will be lawn games. But if it’s one of those drizzle days, don’t despair. (Alliteration is everything, don’t you know!). Inside Arlington Hall there will be a silent auction, a wagering table, live music and watching the Derby on major screens. Remember? You’re there for the Kentucky Derby. Tickets are available now with Lee Park Junior Conservancy members getting a thrifty $125 per person and non-members paying $150. For that VIP special, it’ll be $500 for two and it include “an invitation to attend the Patron Party in April.” Love perks!

If you haven’t been to either or both of these events, stand in the stand-out corner. There isn’t a zit in the crowd and even AARP types suddenly become young fillies and stallions.

* Photo provided by Lee Park Junior Conservancy

Six New Teams Of Humans And Dogs Graduated For Brighter Futures Thanks To Canine Companions For Independence

Canine Companions for Independence at Baylor, Scott And White Health Kinkeade Campus*

Since opening in November 2015, Texas’ only Canine Companions for Independence has been graduating teams of dogs and humans for life-changing futures. It has also been the site of where puppy trainers give up their puppies for a final training period that will prepare them for their possible careers in helping humans in need.

While it takes a unique dog to be able take on such responsibilities, it has largely been found that Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and crosses of the two breeds are best suited as

  • service dogs — assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks.
  • hearing dogs — alert the deaf and hard of hearing to important sounds.
  • facility dogs — work with a professional in a visitation, education or healthcare setting.
  • skilled companions — enhance independence for children and adults with physical, cognitive and development disabilities.

On Friday, February 10, six teams were presented to friends, families and supporters of the people and their best friends forever at the Kinkeade Campus at Baylor Scott And White Health in Irving. In addition to being the only CCI center in Texas, it is also the only CCI in partnership with a healthcare system thanks to U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, who spearheaded the creation of such a facility.

With the permission of CCI, here are their stories for your consideration:

From the left: (back row) Sharon, Pam Megan, David, Stormi, Misty, Olivia, Ross, Becky and Nanette; (front row) Epic III, Kinsey II, Carlita II, Kit IV, Ranger V and Sandy VII*

  • Sharan, Pam, Megan and Skilled Companion Epic III – Megan fell in love with Epic the moment she met him. The day she found out he had been matched with her and would be her new best friend, the room filled with tears of joy. Megan is 14 years old and was born with intellectual and physical disabilities. This leads to anxiety, frustration, trouble with comprehension and lack of focus. Epic will help Megan by helping her focus, providing deep pressure and attention for her anxiety, but most of all by being a best friend. In a very touching moment, Megan exclaimed, “Mom, I’m not lonely anymore!” Megan’s family believes Epic will be the key to Megan reaching her full potential.
  • David and Service Dog Kinsey II – In September 1998, David was in a car accident that led to the loss of both his legs. He has double prosthetics that allow him to walk, however, he does have some mobility issues. He also sustained a TBI that now can cause him to become overstimulated in loud environments, as well as some short term memory trouble. Kinsey helps David by retrieving dropped items, opening doors and so much more, providing increased independence. David’s favorite thing about Kinsey is that she looks to serve him. He is looking forward to the future and all the experiences that are to come with Kinsey by his side.
  • Stormi and Facility Dog Carlita II – Stormi works for the Regional Victim Crisis Center in Abilene, Texas, an organization who works with children who are victims of sexual abuse. Carlita will accompany these children in both therapy sessions and the courtroom. Stormi says that there is only so much a human can do to help a child who no longer trusts adults. She hopes Carlita will bridge this gap and provide a calm, consistent and safe presence for these children who are in an otherwise scary situation. Stormi believes that Carlita is going to “heal a lot of hearts.”
  • Misty, Olivia and Skilled Companion Kit IV – Olivia is 13 years old and was born with a gene mutation that led to a rare skeletal disorder. Because of this, Olivia has limited fine motor and some gross motor skills and is developmentally delayed. She is also hard of hearing, which makes her very shy in public because she lacks confidence in what people are saying to her. Her mom, Misty, hopes her new dog Kit will help with some physical therapy, as well as allow Olivia to lose her fear of interacting with others and become the silly, outgoing person she is at home, when they are in public as well. Misty said that during their first two weeks with Kit, Olivia had already opened up and was communicating with adults more than ever in her life. There are great things in the future for this pair.
  • Ross, Becky and Facility Dog Ranger V – Ross and Becky work for Waskom ISD in East Texas. Ranger will now work alongside them in a special needs classroom as a facility dog. Ross and Becky believe that Ranger will be able to unlock the students’ potential for success. Ross explained that a lot of times school can become a negative place for students with special needs who struggle in the classroom. He hopes having Ranger around will turn school back into a positive, fun place for them. Ranger will work with students grades K-8. Ross and Becky hope he will improve children’s conversation with the faculty, keep them calm and focused, and provide structure and routine. They believe Ranger will truly change these kids’ lives.
  • Nanette and Service Dog Sandy VII – Nanette was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy at age 20. This is a progressive disease, so Nanette eventually lost her ability to walk and now has limited use of her arms and fingers. Sandy will help Nanette by retrieving dropped items, opening doors, turning on and off lights, pulling her laundry basket, and much more. Above all, Sandy gives Nanette a sense of security. Knowing that her dog can help her in so many situations makes her feel safe, and Nanette feels she can now do things without her husband around all the time. Sandy can also speak on command, alerting neighbors or other people nearby that something is wrong, or retrieve her phone if she gets into a tough spot. This is the beginning of increased independence for Nanette.

If you would like to attend a graduation, they are scheduled to be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on May 5, August 4 and November 3. But if you can’t wait to see this remarkable campus, tours are held on the first Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. And if you are interested in volunteering, orientation meetings at scheduled to be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon on April 8, June 10 and September 9.

* Photo provided by Canine Companions for Independence Lone Star Chapter

The Family Place’s Legacy Campaign Is Within A Whisker Of Achieving Its $16.5M Goal And Needs Help To Close The Books

Paige Flink (File photo)

Was it really back on October 2015 that The Family Place’s Paige Flink announce The Family Place Legacy Campaign — Building For the Future — to build a 40,000-square foot Central Dallas Counseling Center? Her goal for the capital campaign was a whopping $13M. To get things rolling, The Moody Foundation kicked in $5M that resulted in the facility being named “Ann Moody Place.”

While the physical process of groundbreaking and building has been underway, so has the effort because the goal increased to $16.5M with good reason. According to Paige, the center is going to provide such services and offerings to “help us meet the burgeoning demand for our services. Every year there are approximately 15,000 incidents of family violence reported to the Dallas Police Department. The Family Place, which is the largest family violence shelter in our community and one of the largest service providers in Texas, shelters over 1,000 victims a year at our Safe Campus with 108 beds plus cribs. Our existing shelter is regularly full. The new facility will allow us to shelter an additional 45 women and children each night. It will also house our expanded Central Dallas counseling services for victims and their children, and a medical and dental clinic for clients.”

Ann Moody Place rendering*

To accommodate those needs, Paige and her crew recognized from experience some of the reasons people in need don’t seek help. For instance, “studies show that up to 65% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave.”

Pets won’t be left behind

To ease those concerns, Ann Moody Place will have five dog kennels, five cat towers, a cuddle room where clients can visit their animals plus a dog run. Thanks to a partnership with the SPCA of Texas, a vet-tech will make sure all animals are vaccinated and care for.

But as the Monday, May 1st move-in date approaches, $220,000 is still needed to complete the fundraising. As a greater incentive to donate ASAP, Highland Capital Management has provided a $1M-challenge. For every dollar raised by Tuesday, April 4, Highland will provide 50 cents.

So, perhaps your budget can’t quite muster up a hundred thousand or two. Not to worry. There are other opportunities like

  • $500 for a 6” by 12” engraved brick
  • $1,000 for a donor to have his/her/their name(s) etched in a beautiful display in the breezeway connecting the two new buildings.
  • $7,500 for each of the two remaining outdoor seating areas in the healing garden

And wouldn’t you know that the dog kennels have all been underwritten, but the poor cats are playing second fiddle and are in need of $10,000-naming rights for each of the two remaining cat towers.

Of course, Paige has other underwriting opportunities. Why she just might arrange to have your name tattooed on her shoulder for the right price.  

* Graphic courtesy of The Family Place

SPCA Of Texas’ Paws Cause “Fetches” $115,000 To Benefit Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter And Wellness Clinic At Village Fair And The South Dallas Initiative

Perhaps more than ever, the need for spay and neuter has been moved to the top of the list of longtime solutions for the area glut of stray animals. With such city officials as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, City Councilperson Monica Alonzo and Dallas City Attorney Faith Johnson in attendance to drive the point home, the SPCA Of Texas‘ Annual Paws Cause — “Pawsitively Dallas Strong” — at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center on Sunday, January 29, took on an added importance in fundraising for the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the South Dallas Pet Initiative. The result was netting $115,000 for the program. Here is a report from the field:

Monica R. Alonzo*

Faith Johnson*

On Sunday, January 29, the SPCA of Texas’ Paws Cause, “Pawsitively Dallas Strong,” at the SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center saw more than 300 animal lovers come together to benefit the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the South Dallas Pet Initiative. The event attendees were welcomed with a purple search light, a purple carpet, dancing dog and cat mascots and actual dogs and cats galore.

2017 Paws Cause’s “Pawsitively Dallas Strong”*

Inside, guests enjoyed gourmet food from some of Dallas’ finest chefs, imbibed luscious libations–including the “Pawsitive Delight” signature drink, danced the night away to musical entertainment by Goga, took part in the Bone Appetite restaurant drawing and had their pictures snapped at the Flipbook photo booth. A raffle of high-end items tempted attendees with fine art, photography packages, pet care products, designer purses, fine jewelry and more. A highly successful live auction and Pony Up for Paws fundraiser completed the night.

Haute cuisine stations from several of the Metroplex’s best restaurants, including Salum, Parigi, Pink Magnolia, Cane Rosso, Whistle Britches and 3015 at Trinity Groves tempted guests with everything from  sumptuous savories to decadent desserts.

Paws Cause 2017 was a tail-wagging success thanks to 2017 Paws Cause Honorary Chair  Andrea Alcorn, and the Steering Committee, which included: Jane Arrington, Steve Atkinson, Rebecca Belew, Diane Brierley, Andie Comini, Phyllis Comu, Giana DePaul, Gwen Echols, Kristen Greenberg, Whitney Keltch, Christina Miller, Pam Ragon, Abraham Salum, Gloria Snead, Karen Urie and Cathy Zigrossi

At the pinnacle of the party, Mayor Mike Rawlings first addressed the crowd saying, “The spay and neuter initiative that the SPCA is taking on is the lynchpin of the plan…to solve the situation in South Dallas that is hurting neighborhoods. We’ve got tens of thousands of dogs that need to have this operation and I believe that when we do that we will not only make the lives of those dogs better, but the lives of the neighbors and the strength of Dallas will come with it.”

Andrea Alcorn and Karen Urie*

Then, SPCA of Texas Senior Vice President Debra Burns, Karen Urie, Andrea Alcorn, SPCA of Texas President/CEO James Bias and SPCA of Texas Board Chair Katy Murray took turns thanking the guests and encouraging them to give. Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson spoke in support of the partnership between the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office’s Animal Cruelty Unit and the SPCA of Texas.

The event netted $115,000 for the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the SPCA of Texas’ South Dallas Pet Initiative.

All proceeds from the Paws Cause event benefit the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and fund spay and neuter efforts in the Dallas community. This includes the SPCA of Texas’ programs that aim to support the pets and people of South Dallas to help address the serious stray animal, pet homelessness and pet overpopulation issues, also supporting the preservation of the bond between pets and people and keeping pets and the community healthy and safe.

Angela Thompson, Mary Spencer and Ann Marcus*

James Bias and Jan Rees-Jones*

Attendees also included Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Bobbi Snyder, Stacey and Arnie Verbeek, Bob Minyard, Angela Thompson, Candace Rubin, Ann Marcus, Hal Brierley, Leldon Echols, Marsha Pendleton-Gray and Dr. Richard Gray, Mary and Skip Trimble, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Mary Spencer, Betsy Orton and Sharon Fancher, Mike and Catherine Merritt and Claire and Kurt Schwarz.

Event sponsors included:

  • Diamond Sponsors: Andrea Alcorn, Friedman & Feiger LLP and Dr. Richard Gray and Marsha Pendleton Gray
  • Gold Sponsors: Diane and Hal Brierley, the Durham Family Foundation, Forty Five Ten, Gwen and Leldon Echols, In Memory of Guy T. Marcus, Trinity Industries Inc. and Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury
  • Silver Sponsors: Ralph Lauren – Highland Park and Skip and Mary L. Trimble
  • Copper Sponsors: Sharon Devereux, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Katy Murray, Ray and Patricia A. Smerge, Pam Ragon, Redfin Real Estate, Claire and Kurt Schwarz and Sandra Urie and Frank Herron
  • Bronze Sponsors: MaryLynn M. Black, Karen and Phil Drayer, Cassie Evans and Hattie Pearl Decker, Hillary Hurst and Mark Schwarz, Bobby Minyard, Carol Orr, Penny Rivenbark Patton, Lucilo A. Pena, Candace Rubin, Mary Spencer, Susie Swanson, Chad West and Mr. and Mrs. David Yost.
* Photo credit: Thomas Garza Photography

MySweet2017Goals: Beth Thoele

According to Equest Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele,

Angie Kadesky (File photo)

Beth Thoele (File photo)

“I share common goal with Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Angie Kadesky.  In addition to chairing a sold-out luncheon and fashion show at Brook Hollow Golf Club on Tuesday, October 3, we would like to honor the children, adults and veterans, who are served by this incredible organization.  We have seen how lives are transformed through the wonder of a horse and incredibly dedicated staff and volunteers.

“Our secondary goal is to bring awareness and support to Equest’s mission to enhance the quality of life for individuals with diverse needs using horses to bring hope and healing through Equine assisted activities and therapies.”

A Passing: Cherri Oakley

Before the women’s movement really started with Gloria Steinem hammering at the glass ceiling, Cherri Oakley was a hungry 20-something PR person who had gumption and could scramble. So the story goes, international hairstylist Vidal Sassoon decided to open a shop in Dallas in the early 1970s. Somehow Cherri got wind of Sassoon’s plans and managed to set up a meeting with his people. There was just one hiccup. Cherri didn’t have an office. But she wasn’t going to let that quash the opportunity. The fledgling PR practitioner temporarily rented space just to take the meeting and make the right appearance. It worked! Sassoon hired her and she was off and running to become a major player in the local PR biz.

Over the years, even Cherri had to laugh about the ups and downs of PR that fluctuated with North Texas’ business climate. When times were good, Cherri had a huge conference table. When times weren’t so great, the conference table hit the road. She had more than a couple of conference tables, so they say.

There is a great story in D Magazine about Cherri’s buying three spaces at Sparkman Hillcrest for $250 each in 1985. Her plan was one for herself and one for a maybe-one-day husband. In 1986 her beloved pooch, Roberta Black, died. Cherri decided that Roberta would find her final resting place in one of the plots. Alas, the Sparkman-Hillcrest policy would not allow it — “burying animals was against Sparkman policy.” Somehow, Cherri had her way — “We had to be discreet about it, but it was a very moving funeral.”

Cherri Oakley*

As time moved on and Cherri decided a Mr. Right was not going be in her life, she decided to sell the two remaining plots back to Sparkman-Hillcrest in 2008. But, alas, Sparkman-Hillcrest would “not buy them back.” Cherri was amazed to learn that her two spots were now valued at $7,590 each.

It is with regret that Cherri may be putting to use one of her Sparkman-Hillcrest spaces due to her death on Friday, January 20. And while Cherri’s 40 years in public relations may have ended, stories — both real and tall tale — will be the stuff that will allow her to live on in the annals of Dallas marketing circles.

A memorial service for Cherri will be held at Saint Michael and All Angel’s Saint Michael Chapel on Saturday, February 4, at 11 a.m.

* Photo credit: Matt Hawthorne

To Kick Off The Holiday Season, The SPCA Of Texas’ Paws Cause Crew Sipped And Shopped At Ralph Lauren

Having recovered from Thanksgiving feasting and family-get-togethers, the SPCA of TexasPaws Cause leadership and friends including Webster the Chihuahua held forth at Ralph Lauren in Highland Park Village on Thursday, December 1. It was just perfect for picking out that outfit for the upcoming Paws Cause at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center on Sunday, January 29. Here’s a report from the field:

Light from Ralph Lauren Holiday candles glinted off of the magnificent crystal chandelier gracing the entryway of the Ralph Lauren Boutique at Highland Park Village on Wednesday, December 1, where ladies and gentlemen gathered in the holiday spirit to celebrate Paws Cause and shop for friends and family, all to benefit the SPCA of Texas. Guests sipped wine and champagne and nibbled decadent macaroons as they browsed.

Nancy Latner, Mary Spencer and Susie Swanson*

Sincere thanks to  Susie Swanson for hosting and to the Ralph Lauren store for welcoming the festive crowd and for donating a portion of the proceeds from the event’s sales to the SPCA of Texas. Many of the guests were spotted walking out with armfuls of beribboned boxes and bags!

Guests included Honorary Chair Andrea Alcorn, steering committee member and heartbeat of Paws Cause 2017 Karen Urie, SPCA of Texas Board Chair Katy Murray, Susie Swanson, Diane Brierley, Gloria Snead, Penny Rivenbark, Judy Davis, Penny Patton, Kevin Coffey, Mary Spencer, Jocelyn White, Nancy Latner, Sharon Fancher, Steve Atkinson, Kristen Greenberg, SPCA of Texas President/CEO James Bias and SPCA of Texas Senior Vice President of Development Debra Burns.

Steve Atkinson and Kristen Greenberg*

Jocelyn White and Webster*

Katy Murray, James Bias and Karen Urie*

Paws Cause will be held on Sunday, January 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center at 2400 Lone Star Drive in West Dallas. Paws Cause is committed to supporting the SPCA of Texas’ programs that aim to support the pets and people of South Dallas through sponsorships and donations to help address the serious stray animal and animal overpopulation issue. For more information, visit www.pawscausedallas.com.

JUST IN: 2017 Equest Gala Plans Announced For Field Of Dreams With Kathy And Jeromy Fielder As Co-Chairs

From the left: (back row) Alanna Sarabie, Andrea Reich, Gretchen Darby, Dare, Keetha Hanlin, Regina Bruce, Melissa Vullo Bell and Renee Farinella; (front row) Dianna Pietra, Deve Sandord, Kathy Fielder and Britt Harless*

Despite last night’s dreary, wet weather, the horse-loving Equest crowd headed over to Samuel Lynne Galleries. The draw was not a new exhibition on horses. Rather it was the kick-off reception for the 2017 Equest Gala. Upstaging the art on the walls were the Equest mini-ambassadors, Cisco and Dare. It was the pair’s first visit to the gallery and vice versa.

Lili Kellogg, Jocelyn White, Lynn McBee and Susan Schwartz*

On hand to hear the news were Samuel Lynne

Co-Founder/artist JD Miller and his artist wife Lea Fisher Miller, Dan Pritchett, Deve Sanford, Mimi Noland, Nicole Barrett, Doug Murray, Georgette Doukas, Alanna Sarabie, Andrea Reich, Gretchen Darby, Keetha Hanlin, Regina Bruce, Melissa Vullo Bell, Renee Farinella, Dianna Pietra, Britt Harless, Debbie Murray, Regina Bruce, Heather “Miss Texas Teen” King, past Equest Chairman of the Board/Gala Chair Jocelyn White, Equest Co-Founder Susan Schwartz and Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser.

Laura and Jason Cope*

JD Miller*

Equest CEO Lili Kellogg revealed the news of the night. This year’s theme will be “Field of Dreams” with Co-Chairs Kathy and Jeromy Fielder and Honorary Co-Chairs Lynn and Allan McBee.

It will take place on Saturday, April 29, at Texas Horse Park with “gourmet southern cuisine, craft cocktails, live music and much-desired live and silent auction items.”    

There will be a demonstration of how Equest is making such a difference in peoples’ lives, head patting with Texas Horse Park residents and dancing to Texas Country Music. What were you expecting — minuets?

While sponsorships start at $5,000, Lili announced that “the first Gala sponsor to contribute a minimum of $15,000 or more” would receive an original horse photo donated by photographer Laura Cope.

For smart folks who reach the VIP status, the horse-ing around will start at 6:30, while the rest of the herd will hit the doors at 7. Since there is no on-site parking, shuttles will be available.

* Photo credit: Bob Manzano

JUST IN: Equest To Sell Wylie Property, Add Al Hill Jr. Family Arena At Texas Horse Park Facility With Completion Slated For Fall 2017

Equest just revealed a big reduction and expansion of its physical operation. The reduction is the putting up for sale its Wylie property. Despite the “For Sale” sign, it will continue operating from Friday, January 27, thru Saturday, May 13. Handling the sale will be Dave Perry-Miller and Associates’ Andy Steingasser, who is also Equest’s chairman of the board. Just to keep this above board, Andy is donating 100% of his commission to Equest.

Heather Washburne, Al Hill Jr. and Elisa Summers (File photo)

On the other hand, Equest’s expansion will be the addition of a new state-of-the-art arena at its Texas Horse Park facility. Named Al Hill Jr. Family Arena, the new arena will allow the organization to be “a closer step to Equest’s vision to be a model of excellence for worldwide therapeutic riding center. The beautiful energy-efficient clearspan steel covered arena will feature wooden kick boards, a blended equestrian-specific footage, large industrial fans, high-tech audio capabilities, and a platform for announcers and judges. It will increase opportunities for Equest to serve more clients and amplify outreach programming with the Dallas Independent School District, as well as additional audiences and organizations.”

According to Andy, “Al Hill Jr. is a Dallas businessman whom [sic] has had an interest in horses all of his life. Having an involvement using equestrian programs which benefits military veterans and especially handicapped children is a perfect combination of his personal interest. Having a distinguished arena that has multi-use functionality and accessibility will not only impact Equest but also the City of Dallas. We look forward to sharing more details in the coming weeks.”

Plans presently call for a March groundbreaking with completion slated for this fall.

Put On The Sunscreen And Take Advantage Of Dallas Zoo’s Penguin Days Special Deal

Dallas Zoo Penguin Days hosts (File photo)

The roller coaster of temperatures has resulted in cottons and shorts doing overtime. Just imagine — the end of December in the 60s and 70s!

But what luck! With the kids out of school, the malls jammed, the thank you notes written (well, almost) and running out of things to do, the Dallas Zoo’s Penguin Days special is just made for these balmy times.

Instead of the usual two-figure entry fee ($15 for adults and $12 for youngsters), it’s a mere $7 for both adults and kiddos over the age of two.

And why not avoid all traffic by taking DART’s Red Line to the Dallas Zoo Station. 

The Last Tree On The Lot

Years ago there was a child who was at that age when the belief in Santa, elves and flying reindeer was starting to fade. As she sat next to her father driving home from Christmas Eve dinner, she told him of her doubts about the season of miracles. Her father, who was dreading this talk more than the one about the facts of life, pulled into the garage and told her a story that his father had told him decades ago. On this Christmas Eve, we share the story with you.

That night was the coldest and windiest Christmas Eve ever. The seasonal Christmas tree lot was bare except for one little fir. People had wanted bigger, robust trees for their homes and the tiny tree just was passed by each time.

But despite the frigid temperatures, the tree and her guests huddled together and stayed warm. The little sparrows joined the mockingbirds and Mourning Doves in singing Christmas carols. The squirrels and mice applauded with great enthusiasm for each song. The little tree’s heart was warmed by all the happiness.

As the night went on, so the wintry conditions grew. Finally, just as the first ray of sunlight began to appear in the east, a great whoosh of breeze spun around the tree and there was silence. The tree and her friends discovered they had been joined by a sleigh, reindeer and Santa himself.

One of the mice peeked out from the tree’s branches and asked, “Perhaps you have a gift or two left?”

Mice can be a bit pushy, you know.

“I am pleased to say we had exactly the right number of gifts for children this year,” Santa replied.

“That’s remarkable,” said the tree. “How marvelous it must have been for all of my tree friends to be surrounded by presents. Just think what is happening right now? People are laughing and smiling and enjoying the happiness of Christmas. How lucky my tree friends are.”

“They probably are,” said Santa. “But unfortunately, I have a problem and must ask your help.”

The tree was surprised that Santa would ever need help.

Santa and a Christmas tree (File photo)

“You see,” Santa continued, “I forgot to get a tree this year and Mrs. Claus is going to be very disappointed if I don’t return with one. When I passed overhead just now, I was advised by the reindeer of a singing tree. Well, I know it’s rather late, but I was wondering if you and your friends would let me take you home to the North Pole.”

Before the tree and the little creatures could reply, Santa added, “By the way, we’ll need you for quite a while. You see we celebrate Christmas year round. It helps the elves keep focused.”

With that, Santa carefully lifted the tree into the sleigh and told all the creatures to hop on board for a trip to their new home. 

MySweetWishList: Equest

According to Equest CEO Lili Kellogg,

Lili Kellogg (File photo)

“Our wish at Equest this holiday season is to help more people like Katelin Beyer make the impossible, possible.

“Katelin is a bright and bubbly 20-year-old, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and stroke from a car accident. After being in a coma for 2 weeks, ICU for 21 days, enduring over 21 surgeries on her head alone, followed by two years of stays in multiple rehabilitation centers, her therapists and doctors told her that she would never walk again.

“Katelin’s family discovered Equest, and after a year of hippotherapy and hard work with her Equest therapist and favorite horse, Bounce, Katelin is walking.

“This is just one of many success stories Equest has seen over the 35 years as an organization. This holiday season please consider participating in our ‘Gift of the Horse’ campaign to help continue to change lives like Katelin’s. Equest’s equine facilitated therapy and horsemanship programs are provided to over 1,200 children and adults with disabilities and Veterans who have served our country.

Equest*

“Give the ‘Gift of a Horse’ in honor of or as a gift to someone you love this holiday season, and help make the impossible possible!

  • “$5,000 gives the Gift of Strength and provides for a therapy horse for a year.
  • “$2,500 gives the Gift of Independence and covers one semester of program expenses for a client.
  • “$1,000 gives the Gift of Wellness and provides a semester of counseling for a veteran or their family member
  • “$500 gives the Gift of Confidence and provides safety equipment for our clients.
  • “$250 gives the Gift of Education to local school children through the Equine Facilitated Learning program.
  • “$100 gives the Gift of Improved Health and provides a therapist for an occupational therapy session.
  • “$50 gives the Gift of Nourishment and feeds four therapy horses for a week. 

“To learn more about Equest and give a ‘Gift of the Horse’ please visit, www.equest.org.”

-By Lili Kellogg, Equest CEO

* Graphic provided by Equest

JUST IN: 2nd Annual Penguin Days Starts Three-Month Run Thursday

While some folks may not cotton to the upcoming drop in temperatures, there are Dallas Zoo residents that are thrilled. Okay, so maybe the reptiles don’t really care. They’re staying comfy in their heated digs in the Herpetarium. But Dallas Zoo’s Lydia Jennings just sent word that the African Penguins are beside themselves.

Penguins (File photo)

Dallas Zoo Penguins (File photo)

And as part of the wintry feel, the humans at the zoo have announced that starting tomorrow (aka Thursday, December 1) the second annual Penguin Days will commence.

What’s Penguin Days? No, it doesn’t mean that the staff dresses up in tuxedos and waddles around. Rather, it translates to bargains for Dallas Zoo guests. Until Tuesday, February 28, the price of admission will be dropped to $7 per person (kiddos age 2 and Dallas Zoo members will still be free).

Open daily except for Christmas Day, the 106-acre zoo’s hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

MySweetWishList: ZooProud Bricks

According to ZooProud Campaign Co-Chairs Diane Brierley, Jennifer Eagle and Don Glendenning,

Diane Brierlery (File photo)

Diane Brierlery (File photo)

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Jennifer Eagle (File photo)

Jennifer Eagle (File photo)

“Our next big project for the Dallas Zoo is the Simmons Hippo Outpost, scheduled to open in the spring of 2017. This will be the first major animal exhibit to open at the Zoo since the Wilds of Africa premiered in 2010, and brings hippos back to the Zoo for the first time in 15 years. We have had the privilege of serving as the co-chairs of the private fund-raising effort for this project.

Dallas Zoo*

Dallas Zoo*

“Our ‘one wish’ to finish out 2016 is to sell commemorative bricks for the hippo exhibit. The money raised by the sale of these commemorative bricks will provide the final funding needed for us to bring the hippos back to Dallas.

“Bricks are available in three sizes and price points:

  • “12”x12” fieldstone paver – $2,500
  • “8”x8” brick – $1,250
  • “8”x4” brick – $500

“We think the hippo bricks will make a lasting, meaningful gift for family and friends this holiday season. In addition, donors will be helping the Dallas Zoo complete another outstanding habitat, which will play a significant role in the effort to protect these magnificent animals from extinction.

“To purchase a brick, simply visit the Dallas Zoo’s website at www.DallasZoo.com/Hippos or just contact Dallas Zoo Associate VP of Advancement Karen Hamilton at 469.554.7420.”

-By Diane Brierley, Jennifer Eagle and Don Glendenning, ZooProud Campaign co-chairs

* Graphic provided by Dallas Zoo

JUST IN: Marketing Executive Andrea Alcorn To Serve As Honorary Chair For Upcoming SPCA’s Paws Cause

If you haven’t already got your 2017 calendar, hustle and get it now! Believe it or not, dates are being lined up and even the usual January ho-hums are turning into “Oh, my’s”.

Why, Saturday, January 28, is looking like a collision course of fundraising with the 19th Annual Bishop’s Gala (with Huey Lewis and the News but without a Bishop), the ChildCare Group‘s Great Adventure Hunt at the Perot and The Birthday Party Project celebrating its own fifth birthday at The Bomb Factory.

Andrea Alcorn (File photo)

Andrea Alcorn (File photo)

Now word comes that Sunday, January 29, is not going to be a stay-at-home day. The annual SPCA of TexasPaws Cause is gonna be partying it up at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Center from 6 to 9 p.m.

This year’s theme is “Pawsitively Dallas Strong” and the honorary chair will be blonde marketing exec Andrea Alcorn, who is also serving as president of KidneyTexas this year. That gal is gonna be busy!

Back to Paws Cause: This year’s event will be grazing feast with food from Salum, Parigi, Pink Magnolia and more!

Benefiting the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair, the event is being coordinated by the 2017 Steering Committee including Jane Arrington, Steve Atkinson, Blythe Beck, Rebecca Belew, Diane Brierley, Andie Comini, Phyllis Comu, Giana DePaul, Gwen Echols, Kristen Greenberg, Christina Miller, Janice Provost, Pam Ragon, Abraham Salum, Karen Urie and Cathy Zigrossi.

According to insiders, the Rees-Jones Animal Center residents are going to be all gussied up for the evening with hopes of impressing potential new BFFs.  

Tickets are available here.

Dallas Animal Services Is Having A Free-For-All From Black Friday To Cyber Monday Thanks To Zappos’ “Home For The Pawlidayz”

The Dallas Animal Services has such a special deal going on from Black Friday to Cyber Monday!

Adopted cat

Adopted cat

Adopted pooch

Adopted pooch

Thanks to Zappos’ “Home For The Pawlidayz” program, all animals at DAS will be free for adoption. Yup, that’s right. So, why wait in line or wear your manicured nails on the keyboard searching for the purr-fect (sorry, but couldn’t resist that one) gift, when s/he is just panting for you to come get ’em?

BTW, Zappos’ goal is to have 9,000 pets adopted nationally to “honor the 9,000 dogs and cats killed in America’s shelters each day simply because they do not have a safe place to call home.”

Seasonal Dip In Temperatures Approaches

Some folks have been complaining about temperatures hitting the upper 80s this month. After all, it is November and it just seems downright unnatural to wear shorts when you have a herd of woollies in your closet bleating to come out.

February 2015

February 2015 (File photo)

Well, pack up the shorts and pull out the cashmeres because today the temps are going to be dipping like a debutante on stage. Word has it that Saturday night, it just might hit the upper 30s. But this first cold front of the season ain’t going to be anything like the freezers of 2011 or 2015. Still, why not prepare now for what probably lies ahead in the weeks to come?

For oldtimers, you know the drill. For newcomers, here are some suggestions:

Snow covers neighborhoods (File photo)

February 2011 (File photo)

  • Bundle up with gloves, caps and jackets, if you’re going to catch a Friday night lights game.
  • Remember to take care of the three P’s — pets, plants and plumbing. It’s not going to freeze, but why not prepare those pipes now?
  • Put a blanket and some water in your car. Who knows? If you get stuck, you just might want a gulp of water and a wrapper until you get a tow.
  • Have your HVAC checked. It’s been a while since you turned on the heating element.
  • Check on your senior buds and physically challenged folks. Cold weather seems to hit them harder than you hardy types. See if their windows and doors are sealed to keep out the cold. And while you’re at it check yours, too.
  • It’s not too late to have a chimney sweep check your fireplace. You might also want them to clean your clothes dryer, too. After all, you don’t want the holiday glow to be your home going up in smoke.
  • Stock up on all those comfort foods. Homes just seem to handle the chill when hot chocolate is served or brownies are in the oven.
  • Remember those old blankets that you replaced with brand new ones? Why not donate the older ones to Goodwill or Dallas Animal Services?
  • Stock up on batteries, candles and matches.
  • Get a book and a couple of board games and/or jigsaw puzzles. If you lose electricity, you’ll find high tech goes down the drain and these old-timers can come in handy to handle the boredom.
  • Buy a toy. No, it has absolutely nothing to do with staving off the cold, but you just know you’re going to want to donate to a toy drive, so why not buy something now!

Thanks To Spirit Halloween, Children’s Ghouls And Goblins Had Their Pick For Halloween Garb

Racks of costumes

Racks of costumes

Despite trailing mobile IVs or being chauffeured in red wagons, the Children’s patients were just typical kids warming up for Halloween in the Children’s Medical Center Dallas’ Butterfly Atrium on Thursday, October 13.

There were racks of brand new costumes just ripe for the pickings. The children were able to shop for the ultimate perfecto costume just in time for trick and treating. They also had a chance to pick up backpacks, play games, have their faces painted and, of course, test out treats.

Andrea

Andrea

Payslea

Payslea

While some like Andrew hit the tables to apply crayons to paper, others like Payslea got a new look thanks to the face painters.

Even the Children’s therapy dogs got into the spirit of the day giving licks instead of tricks to fellows like Jesus.

Jesus

Jesus

It was all made possible by Spirit Halloween’s fundraising arm Spirit of Children. In addition to providing and hosting the party for the kids, the company has provided a total of $670,816 for Children’s Medical Center Foundation. The Spirit of Children was established in 2006 to help “make hospitals less scary for kids and their families by providing fun during Halloween and funding all year long.” Joining the Spirit Halloween volunteers and staffers were members of Child Life, too.

Spirit of Children representatives

Spirit of Children representatives

To be very honest, it was hard to tell who was having more fun — the youngsters or oldsters.

BTW, the voting on the Children’s Medical Center Dallas’ cutest Howl-oween pooch is still going on. Just check out the Children’s ad on the right side of this page before it’s too late.

Critter Lovers Head To House Of Blues To Release Their Inner Animal For A Howling Good Time

For decades the words “spay” and “neuter” have been the mantra of local animal activists. Because of the recent tragedies involving stray dogs and the report by BCG, the call to arms has been ramped up. But to “fix” the problem requires funding and lots of it for those who can’t afford the procedures.

Loads of dogs*

Loads of dogs*

On

Howl At The Moon*

Howl At The Moon*

Saturday, November 12, the Dallas Companion Animal Project is encouraging folks to “release your inner animal” at its fall fundraiser, “Howl at the Moon.” It will take place in the Cambridge Room of the House of Blues from 7 to 10 p.m. with loads of music, food, cocktails and a silent auction specially designed for animal lovers.

According to Event Organizer Brooke Scruggs, “This is about raising funds for spay-and-neuter days, community outreach, and other programs that are so valuable for animals in Dallas. But we also wanted to have some fun. It’s an opportunity to have a great time and do it for a good cause.”

If DCAP is new on your pet radar, it’s a non-profit “created to focus on the future of the community by strengthening the connection between people and animals. One of the services offered is SpayDay that provide free and low-cost spay/neuter to low-income families who could not otherwise afford to alter their pets.

* Graphic and photo provided by Rebecca Poling

Suggestions For A Safe Howl-oween

With Halloween approaching, parents know the drill about checking candy and keeping a watchful eye on little costumed folks not making the rounds alone.

Trick-or-treaters (File photo)

Trick-or-treaters (File photo)

But precautions also extend to pet owners. For instance, candy and pooches don’t mix well. Chocolate may be dandy for humans, but it can be lethal for dogs.

Pooch (File photo)

Pooch (File photo)

The SPCA of Texas has provided the following reminders on how to take care of critters on the night of goblins and ghouls.

  • Keep pets away from live flame decorations like candles and jack-o-lanterns, and restrict your pet’s access to hanging decorations such as streamers. Pets are curious and can become tangled or even choke if they chew on the decorations.
  • Pets may be terrified by tiny gremlins carrying big, orange, pumpkins full of sugar… wouldn’t you? If you have a protective dog that might feel threatened by strangers, keep him/her away from the door when trick-or-treaters arrive. Keep pets in a familiar place with lots of toys and soothing music to distract them from the doorbell.
  • Don’t let the family dog accompany the kids on their trick-or-treat outing. Although bringing your pooch may seem like a fun family outing, your pet would likely feel much safer and more comfortable in his or her own home away from all the Halloween festivities.
  • Make sure your pet’s Halloween costume includes a collar and identification tags, so you can be contacted if he or she does slip away during all the Halloween commotion. In addition to identification tags, ensure your pet is microchipped and the information is current, too.
  • And of course, if the thought of more homeless, unwanted dogs and cats scares you like it does the SPCA of Texas, you can help us spay and neuter more pets by donating today.
Black cat (File photo)

Black cat (File photo)

While in the past some shelter have not adopted out black cats around Halloween, SPCA’s Maura Davies reports, “We are not suspending the adoption of black cats until after Halloween or at any time during the year. We do not have any reason to believe that black cats adopted from us are at risk of being cruelly treated if adopted around Halloween or any time. Tragically, animals of all species, breeds and coat colors can become victims of animal cruelty or abuse any day of the year. Our Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit is here for those animals.

“We stand behind our wonderful staff who facilitate each adoption and our regular adoption counseling processes that ensure that all of our pets are adopted into loving homes. Further, we contact all of our adopters to follow up and offer any needed support after the adoption takes place.”

The Dallas Foundation Bus Tour Provided Donors With A Firsthand Look At Bonton Farms And Encore Park

One of the advantages of being part of an organization like The Dallas Foundation is the ability to come together for site visits of one of the nonprofits that aren’t on the radar. On Wednesday, October 5, the Foundation donors had the opportunity to check out Bonton Farms and Encore Park. While both are rich in history, they have also had their share of rough times. Thanks to philanthropic efforts by The Dallas Foundation and others, those situations are changing for the better. Here is a report from the field:

From the left: Judy Townley, Anne Holmes, Laura J. Brown, Lesley Martinelli, Steve Holmes, Sarah Burns, Sara Ahr, Helen Holman, Jenny Mullen, Steven Engwall, Claudia DeMoss, Lydia Addy, Carol Noble and Lori Giesler*

From the left: Judy Townley, Anne Holmes, Laura J. Brown, Lesley Martinelli, Steve Holmes,
Sarah Burns, Sara Ahr, Helen Holman, Jenny Mullen, Steven Engwall, Claudia DeMoss, Lydia
Addy, Carol Noble and Lori Giesler*

Intrepid Dallas Foundation donors spent an unseasonably warm October day exploring two unique urban experiments: Bonton Farms  in South Dallas and downtown’s Encore Park . Led by Director of Donor Services Lesley Martinelli and Chief Philanthropy Officer Helen Holman, the donors boarded a shuttle bus to the Bonton neighborhood.

Daron Babcock*

Daron Babcock*

The shuttle stopped at Bonton Farms, a two-acre spread snuggled up against the levee at the end of Bexar Street. The farm’s executive director Daron Babcock came on board to give a brief guided tour of the area.

Babcock explained that the historic African-American neighborhood was built in a floodplain, had two large public housing projects and devastated by floods and crime in the 1980s and 90s.

Today, the neighborhood is improving. The housing projects were torn down and replaced with new subsidized apartments. Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity built 133 houses on vacant lots. And Bonton Farm is growing fresh food which providing employment and business opportunities. The farm won The Dallas Foundation’s $50,000 Pegasus Prize for creative solutions to community challenges last year.

Bonton Farms' goat*

Bonton Farms’ goat*

Donors walked past rows of peppers, collard greens, lettuce and cabbage. The oversize garden grows 20,000 – 30,000 pounds of produce annually, Babcock said. The visitors were impressed. Their expressions turned to amusement as they stepped inside the goat pen. The farm’s small flock of brown and white Nubian goats gently swarmed the visitors and were rewarded with head-rubbing and back-petting. The donors stopped by the chicken coop, smiled at the Berkshire sow and finished their tour at a shed where visitors can purchase farm-produced honey and eggs.

The next stop was Encore Park in downtown Dallas. An outreach project of First Presbyterian Church and The Stewpot, Encore Park is in the process of reclaiming a historic building to highlight the city’s role in blues and western music, and create a new, safe space for homeless and housed Dallasites to get to know one another.

Jenny Mullen and Christy Coltrin*

Jenny Mullen and Christy Coltrin*

After enjoying boxed lunches at the church, donors headed across Young Street to The Stewpot and its Open Art studio. Colorful paintings and drawings created by the studio’s homeless artists covered every wall. Visitors learned about the program’s art classes and shows, then went back out into the heat to see Encore Park, its mural and 508 Park.

The group entered the long-abandoned Art Deco building at 508 Park, which was built in 1929 as a film warehouse and became a field recording studio in the 1930s. Blues legend Robert Johnson recorded there, as did Bob Wills and even Eric Clapton. The visitors marveled at the (nonfunctioning) elevator with its manually operated glass doors and the marble floor in the foyer.

Donors atop 508 Park Building*

Donors atop 508 Park Building*

The group climbed the staircase to the second floor, with its large banks of windows, which will eventually be the Open Art studio’s new home. Then it was on to the third floor, which will become a recording studio for the community. Last, the visitors headed up to the roof, which provided a great view of Encore Park’s community garden and outdoor amphitheater.

The Dallas Foundation is so pleased to be able to provide educational opportunities such as the Donor Bus Tour, which allows our donors to experience firsthand the inspiration and creative work of organizations like Bonton Farms and Encore Park.

* Photo credit: Jason Janik

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon Celebrated Equest’s 35th Anniversary With Guests Ponying Up For A Match Offer

Amigo, Rico and Teddy found Brook Hollow Golf Club to their liking on Tuesday, October 4. After all, the weather was perfect, the grass was green and they were the center of attention as guests arrived for the 2016 Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon’s “Riding High.” For their being part of the greeting lineup, Equest‘s Amigo, Rico and Teddy had come all the way from Equest’s Wylie facility and they definitely didn’t use Uber. The three equines opted for trailer accommodations with their handlers (Alyssa Cigainero, Shelby Nicoletti, Lizzie Ball and Tia Turkeulainen) and riders (James Taylor in English attire and Ryan Wolf in chaps) in tow.

Teddy and Alyssa Cigainero

Teddy and Alyssa Cigainero

Rico and Tiia Turkulainen

Rico and Tiia Turkulainen

Ryan Wolf, Amigo and Shelby Nicoletti

Ryan Wolf, Amigo and Shelby Nicoletti

Program Director Joan Cutler, who started out as an Equest volunteer back in the ’90s, couldn’t have been happier with her crew of horses, volunteers and staffers on the country club’s grounds.

Inside the clubhouse, Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Di Johnston was also all smiles about the day. Thanks to fashion producer Jan Strimple and Highland Park Village’s Lela Rose, Alice and Olivia, St. John, Market, Etro, Akris, Carolina Herrera and William Noble Jewels, there would be more than 70 outfits on the runway.

But before the fashions would be presented to guests like last year’s Honorary Chair Carolyn Lupton, Jean Lattimore, Lisa Cooley, Elisa Summers, Heather Washburne, Nancy Carter, Jill Rowlett and Bela Piertrovic, the program got underway with Di revealing that one of the best days during her presidency was the one in which Kara Axley agreed to chair the luncheon.

Carolyn Lupton and Jean Lattimore

Carolyn Lupton and Jean Lattimore

Kara recognized the partnership that Equest has had over the years with Highland Park Village and its being this year’s presenting sponsor. She then introduced Park Cities Presbyterian Church Associate Pastor Dr. Pete Deison, who reminded guests that “the heart of Equest is compassion. It is a value that is slowly and sadly waning in our society because we have become a society that is more interested in what we see on our computers and on our phones that we do reaching out and touching other people. We are also interested in the things that go fast rather than the time it takes to saddle a horse and touch an individual that needs our help.”

Following the invocation, Kara introduced 2016 Honorary Co-Chair Bill Noble, who described the love that he and wife/2016 Honorary Co-Chair Lezlie Noble have for Equest as a star with the five points — the staff, the volunteers, the horses, the clientele (handicapped children and military veterans) and the donors. “Equest cannot do what they do without you guys.”

Equest CEO Lil Kellogg then described how children who spend most of their days in wheelchairs are taller than all others when they ride their therapy horses.

Following Lili, a video was shown with Equest Founder Susan Schwartz and others recalling Equest’s 35 years of providing equine power for those with physical and emotional challenges.

Louise Griffeth, Kara Axley, Lindalyn Adams and Di Johnston

Louise Griffeth, Kara Axley, Lindalyn Adams and Di Johnston

As the lights went up, Equest Women’s Auxiliary Founder Louise Griffeth was at the podium introducing the 2016 Equest Award for Community Service honoree Lindalyn Adams. Louise described Lyndalyn as a “Superwoman” who has been the driving force for countless nonprofits and community organization, as well as being a great grandmother of four.

Following Lindalyn’s being presented with an award from Tiffany, Louise said that she had more news. An anonymous donor had agreed to match any monies raised at the day’s luncheon in honor of the 35th anniversary of Equest.

Annie Griffeth

Annie Griffeth

She then added that the poster at the entrance of the clubhouse would report the tally of the day, and that the illustration had been created by her new daughter-in-law Annie Griffeth.

Kara provided one more bit of news. Fashion producer Jan Strimple and Akris would be hosting an event benefiting Equest in the Akris store on Thursday, October 6, featuring their new Aidentity handbag from 1 to 6 p.m.

She also announced that Beth Thoele would be chairing the 2017 luncheon.

With the removal of the podium, the fashions started parading down the runway.

The only oops of the day occurred when a couple of guests managed to sit down in front-row seats that had been assigned to others, driving the real seat-holders away to the north 40. Then the same twosome arrived at one of the big-buck tables, forcing one of the assigned guests to hit McDonalds for a bite—and the venue’s staff to squeeze in an extra chair and place-setting at the table for the other displaced guest. Confused by the situation, the table host thought the event organizers had reassigned her/his original guests with the permission and approval of the castaways. Oh, well, mix-ups do happen. But even a McDonald’s Southwest salad can’t hold a candle to Brook Hollow’s pecan crusted chicken.

25th Anniversary Of Zoo To Do Was More Fun Than A Barrel Full Of Monkeys Thanks To The Zoo Brothers

Greeting October, Mother Nature blessed North Texas with Chamber of Commerce picture perfect weather. Perhaps this condition was due to Zoo To Do Co-Chairs/Heavyhitters Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy (aka Zoo Brothers) producing an incredible 25th anniversary for the Dallas Zoo fundraiser.

Hal Brierley, Mary McDermott Cook, Don Glendenning and John Levy

Hal Brierley, Mary McDermott Cook, Don Glendenning and John Levy

They even managed to have philanthropist Mary McDermott Cook agree to serve as honorary chair.

Diane Brierley, Nick Even and Lynn McBee

Diane Brierley, Nick Even and Lynn McBee

When confronted about the back-scene goings-on and the boys’ efforts, Diane Brierley dismissed any idea that it was the result of the Brothers’ better halves. As impressive as the boys were about attributing their successes to others, Diane insisted that the Zoo Brothers were indeed responsible for the mega-turnout of roughly 750 and the hopeful blowout of fundraising.

As proof of the boys’ efforts, the property was jammed, with the zoo residents a little surprised at the off-hour activities.

Giraffe

Giraffe

Because the zoo critters were used to a regimented schedule, some animals like the giraffes chilled in their barn during the day. Their reward was a very happy hour with guests hand-feeding Romaine lettuce and doing selfies with the longnecks.

Even among the giraffes, there is a pecking order, with Tebogo seeming to be the top dog. It was well understood that Ferrell and Five would play second fiddle. By the way, someone noted Ferrell’s and Five’s tongues hanging out. Seems that as youngsters they’d both had jaw work done, resulting in their tongues hanging out. Not to worry, though; they can pull ’em back where they belong whenever they want.

Wart hog

Wart hog

Not so photogenic or endearing but still a crowd pleaser were the wart hogs. Despite being the most in need of a plastic surgeon, they still were eye-catchers but not dream dates… unless one was a warthog.

Not so active was Moto, the 16-year-old tortoise. Since Moto could live 100 years, he’s just a kid in a shell.

Moto

Moto

Gorilla

Gorilla

Over at the VIP reception in Gorilla Research Station, the gorillas made an appearance in their compound for photo opps. While accommodating, one of ‘em just didn’t care for the after-hours work and the noise. But inside the Station, a chinchilla, Layla the three-banded armadillo and Gimli the baby crocodile were much more receptive to a lookey, a picture and even a touch.

Crocodile

Gimli

Three-banded armadillo

Laya

But the showstoppers of the entire event were the inhabitants of the Giants of Savanna. Here zebras and elephants grazed as ostriches raced by like Las Vegas showgirls rushing to be on stage.

Giants of Savanna

Giants of Savanna

And as the four-legged critters grazed on grass, lettuce and fruit, the two-legged guests dined on incredible delights provided by area chefs like Janice Provost, Abraham Salum, Jim “Sevy” Severson, Blythe Beck, Gilbert Garza, Elvis, Anita Hirsch and goodies from Meaders Ozarow’s Empire Bakery.

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum

Blythe Beck

Blythe Beck

Amy Severson and Meaders Ozarow

Amy Severson and Meaders Ozarow

Elvis

Elvis

Jim Severson and Laura and Tom Leppert

Jim Severson and Laura and Tom Leppert

Pat and Charles McEvoy

Pat and Charles McEvoy

Of course, the attire of the night was spotty to say the least. No, not that type of “spotty.” Tiffany Divis and Laura Leppert were channeling Winspear the cheetah with the spotted prints. In keeping with the silver anniversary of Zoo To Do, Diane Brierley got handsy. No, not that kind of handsy. She had silver nail polish and shoes… Lynn McBee, realizing that she had nothing zoo-ish to wear, dashed to Vince and bought some zebra printed shoes. How perfect they were to go with Nick Even’s zebra-designed socks! … Pat and Charles McEvoy were back just in time from ten days in Tuscany, where they attended Paula Lambert’s cooking class. While there they picked up a great piece of jewelry — a gold lion that Pat wore about her neck… Posing with unreal animals were David Davis, Tiffany Divis, Michael Faircloth, Lori Castillo and Rhonda and Fraser Marcus… Looking relieved to just be guests were 2015 Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Cindy and Chuck Gummer.

David Davis, Tiffany Divis, Michael Faircloth, Lori Castillo and Rhonda and Fraser Marcus

David Davis, Tiffany Divis, Michael Faircloth, Lori Castillo and Rhonda and Fraser Marcus

For more photos of all types of critters, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.