JUST IN: 2017 ReuNight Co-Chairs Reveal Location, Date And Llama Of Honor For The Family Place Fundraiser

Richard and Jennifer Dix (File photo)

Ron and Kristi Hoyl (File photo)

After weeks of begging, demanding, cajoling and stalking 2107 ReuNight Co-Chairs Jennifer and Richard Dix and Kristi and Ron Hoyl, they finally fessed up the plans for The Family Place fundraiser.

Llama (File photo)

Last year’s dinner and live auction were part of the opening festivities of  downtown’s Forty Five Ten. So what could top that?

Well, the Dixes and Hoyls have managed to do it. They’ve arranged to be “one of the first public events” at the 21st century reawakening of The Statler. The evening will start off with a cocktail reception on the ground-level garden followed by a three-course dinner upstairs in the grand ballroom. After the live auction, the celebration will continue around the pool with the Dallas skyline serving as a backdrop.

And what would an event like this be without a celebrity? Forty Five Ten had Donna Karan. The Statler will have a representative of the hotel’s original mascot, Llinda Llee Llama, at the cocktail party. It’s doubtful the llama will be able to stay for dinner.

The night of modern-day fundraising in a legendary landmark will start at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8.

BTW, individual tickets are gonna be extremely limited, so consider being a sponsor to guarantee your spot. Check with Mary Catherine Benavides at 214.443.7770 about the various levels of sponsorship. 

Operation Kindness Pet Food Pantry And Royal Vaccination Fund To Assist Pets Of Financially Strapped Families

This past Saturday area animal shelters were busier than a bee at the Arboretum. The occasion was “Clear The Shelters,” that literally adopted out a lot of the pooches and felines. The Dallas Animal Shelter alone found new homes for 324 dogs and cats.

Of the thousands of animals at area shelters, some are strays, but many are family pets that have been turned in due to lack of funds. According to Operation Kindness CEO Jim Hanophy, “Economic reasons account for 25% of the pets surrendered per year.”

That’s right. Many man’s best friends and felines had to be turned in because the money just wasn’t there for food and health care.

Adopted cat (File photo)

In the past the North Texas Food Bank’s Food 4 Paws and the North Texas Food Pantry have helped provide food for pets whose human companions are strapped for funds.

Recently, the North Texas Pet Food Pantry has relinquished its program to Operation Kindness. The new program will be called Operation Kindness Pet Food Pantry.

North Texas Food Pantry President/Founder Cheryl Spencer reported, “I’m so honored that the hard work and effort that went into the North Texas Pet Food Pantry will be sustained by Operation Kindness. This pet food pantry is such a vital part of the community and I’m grateful that it will be continued on.”

In addition to providing free pet food, cat litter and flea and tick prevention for up to three months, Operation Kindness is “launching the Royal Vaccination Fund to help provide low-income families with access to rabies, parvo and distemper vaccinations. This program is inspired by an Operation Kindness foster family who experienced the devastation of distemper, when their foster dog Princess lost six puppies to distemper.”

Survivor of distemper (File photo)

To get things rolling Artist for Animals has “matched the first donation of $2,500.”

Anyone who has seen a dog suffer from this incredible painful and contagious disease knows that this undertaking is an excellent idea.

Of course, Operation Kindness is eager to have donations of money and dog and cat food from individuals and companies. But the Carrollton-based, no-kill adoption center is also looking for volunteers “to assist with donations and supply pick up and pet food distribution.”

Any pet owner in need of the services provided by Operation Kindness Pet Food Pantry or the Royal Vaccination Fund can apply online. Once they qualify for the programs, they can pick up for the food at Operation Kindness on the third Saturday and Second Wednesday of every month between noon and 3 p.m.  Eventually, the plan calls for distribution locations throughout the community.

Jim’s vision is “a world where all cats and dogs have loving, responsible, forever homes and this pantry is going to help keep pets out of shelters and in their homes.”

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert!: 2017 Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party

Dallas Zoo “hip kids”

While there were a bunch of  gals in animal-print sundresses and tanned fellows in cotton shirts at the Dallas Zoo, a couple of tubbies were the center of attention for the 2017 Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party on Wednesday, June 14. And the twosome made fat seem downright adorable as they did aquatic antics in the pond. The duo were Boipelo and Adhama, the two Nile Hippos that had recently set up housekeeping in the Simmons Hippo Outpost.

Cora

Owl

The other Zoo Ambassadors politely took their place on the sideline including the owl that didn’t give a hoot (Sorry, but it was too good to resist.) about being upstaged.

Michael Meadows, Christi Contreras and Margaret and Carl Weinkauf

While the post is being prepared, check out the people and the critters at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Families, Friends And Four-Legged Types “Step Up For Hope” Cottage’s Centennial Celebration Kick Off

Starting back in 1918, Emma Wylie Ballard launched what would be Dallas’ oldest non-profit, non-faith based adoption agency — Hope Cottage. And while it may be celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, Hope Cottage is still known for being for the young and the young-at-heart. That’s why it kicked off its 100-year celebration on Saturday, June 3, with a walk around it new digs in the Wilson Historic District with families, friends and the four-legged types. Here is a report from the field:

Carmyn Neely, John Dickey, Melissa Tamplin Harrison, Scott Sams and Brooks Quinlan*

The damp weather on Saturday, June 3, did not deter stalwart families, fans and supporters from turning out for the 1st Step Up for Hope charity walk kicking off Hope Cottage’s yearlong centennial celebration. Participants began their walk at the agency’s spiffy new home in the Wilson Historic District.  Moms, dads, kids, friends and pets ambled along a scenic path winding through the bucolic streets of the Wilson, past turn of the century homes, lovingly restored and maintained by the Meadows Foundation. KRLD anchors Melissa Tamplin Harrison and Scott Sams, Adoption Ambassadors for Hope Cottage’s centennial year celebration, served as celebrity MC’s.  Both Melissa and Scott are adoptees and Melissa was adopted from Hope Cottage at the age of 16 months. 

Ranger*

Nathan “stepping up for Hope”*

Team BKD was the team raising the most funds with Team Stevens raising the most funds as a family.  Ranger and his sassy bandana won the award for the Best Dressed Pooch at the Pooch Parade.  Sponsors for the event included BKD, LLP (Premier Sponsor), RGT Wealth Advisors (Water Sponsor), Gensler (Pooch Parade Sponsor), Bioworld (T-Shirt Sponsor), Carlotta Rhoades (Breakfast Sponsor) and Jenny L Womack, P.C. (Entertainment Sponsor).

Hope Cottage is Dallas’ oldest nonprofit, non-faith based adoption agency. Since 1918 Hope Cottage has been building and nurturing families through education, counseling and adoption services. Those interested in learning more about upcoming centennial celebration events, should contact Hope Cottage Chief Development Officer Leslie Clay at [email protected] or 469.917.2535. 

* Photo provided by Hope Cottage

The Family Place’s Dream Of 50,000-Square-Foot Ann Moody Place Became A Reality For Those Escaping A Nightmare Of Abuse

Paige Flink

While gobs of women gathered in the Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom to learn about leadership and opportunities at the D CEO Women’s Leadership Symposium on Friday, June 2, The Family Place CEO Paige Flink was standing on a couch in the Ann Moody Place lobby. She had wanted to attend the Anatole event, but on this day her priority was leading the army of workers and staffers in preparing for the Sunday reception for the new Ann Moody Place, with an expected attendance of 300. At this moment she was personally placing the artwork so it was just right.

Major donors for Ann Moody Place

But the artwork on two other walls in the reception area were Paige’s pride and joy. They were masterpieces — simple signs with the names of the major donors who had made this remarkable place come into being.

When TFP opened in the 1970s, domestic abuse was still in the closet and remained there for a couple of decades. According to Paige, who first volunteered at TFP and then was named executive director in 1997, that all changed dramatically in the mid-1990s. When asked what the turning point was, Paige explained, “Thanks to OJ Simpson, the world changed.” It was a wake-up call that if “a celebrity, who had made a phone call and tried to get her husband arrested and couldn’t,” how could a regular human being get help? As a result, domestic violence “became a household word,” laws started to change and “then our visibility grew starting in 1996.”

The need for shelter spurred TFP to create its Safe Campus with 110 beds in the early 2000s, but more was needed as the number of clients and their needs grew. It was in the early 2010s that Paige and TFP board undertook a daunting project to build another campus — a $13M, 40,000-square-foot facility in the medical district that would provide shelter, office and programming areas and child-care facilities. In May 2015, TFP acquired the site for their 2.42-acre dream child. Then on Thursday, October 1, 2015, it was announced at the annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon that the The Moody Foundation had donated $5M for the project’s “The Legacy Campaign” chaired by Lynn McBee.

But as they delved into the effort, they realized more square footage and funding were needed. The size was increased to 50,000 square feet, and the goal was a whopping $16.5M.  And then there were construction surprises, like having to drill down 70 feet to hit bedrock. Still, TFP team and board directors not only managed to meet that goal, they raised $16.898M.

The facility is projected to handle 2,000 clients a year. Paige said that while the average age of their clients is 29, they do get seniors — “The oldest person we have ever served was 78 years old.”

But back to the tour of the three-story buildings that now make up the compound of safety and education.  On a wall there was a healthy smudge, evidently resulting from the non-stop moving of equipment and furniture. Paige was not a happy camper spying the imperfection. TFP VP of Development Melissa Sherrill understood, saying, “It’s like a new car. You don’t want to see the first imperfection.” But then she assured Paige that it would be gone with the final sweep of the touch-up crew.

Children’s pantry shelves

As busy as the move-in scene may have sounded, the years of planning, designing, discussing and fundraising were coming together, with the results being bigger and better than even Paige had first imagined. Nothing had been left out. There were various dining, food preparation, counseling, training, meeting, quiet and groups rooms, as well as a computer lab, a one-chair hair salon (“JoAnn’s Room”) and a wing for children’s needs provided by Crystal Charity Ball. Proudly, Paige pointed to a large storeroom with shelved walls for canned goods and toys. Why would canned goods be needed? Paige explained that for clients making the transition out of an abusive home life, they might have to explain their whereabouts to their abuser upon returning home and could simply say they went to the food bank.

Food pantry shelves

Thanks to a relationship with UT Southwestern Medical School, second-year residents will be brought to the Place by a doctor to see the clients at the in-house mini-clinic that includes examination and dental rooms. But, always searching for more, Paige adds, “The other volunteer opportunities here are for medical doctors to come to give me some night-time clinic. I have a pediatrician, but I could use more pediatricians and general medicine and gynecology.”

Dental facility

Examination room

Throughout the multiple levels were signs re-enforcing the purpose of TFP — “Take a breath. You are safe,” “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other” and “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” Even the pillows from the Pillow Bar are embroidered with “Dream BIG.”  

Ann Moody Place signage

Ann Moody Place bed

Bedroom suite bathroom

The residential area of apartments were painted in a blue that Paige had discovered in Charleston, South Carolina, because it was both soothing and timeless.  There are family suites and individual rooms with bathrooms and closets.

Paige Flink Healing Garden in center courtyard

In the center of the campus was a two-level courtyard. The upper level was the Make It Count Children’s Playground. The lower was the Paige Flink Healing Garden. When asked if the children’s area could use a misting system to combat the summer heat, Paige didn’t hesitate, “If someone would give me one, I wouldn’t hesitate!”

Bird Flying free of a cage sculpture

Judy Walgren’s photos

There were interior designers  like Jan Showers, Mecox, Shay Geyer, Wisteria, Christy Drew and Mary Cates, who had provided directions and resources to create a safe and nurturing environment. Utilizing art as therapy for both adults and children, Moody Place showcases local talent. In addition to encouraging artists to contribute, art-loving Joyce Goss curated “Retail is Art” for high school students to provide the collection of art showcasing food in one of the dining rooms. It turned out that all the artists were women. Rebecca Aguilar helped get Latina artists to contribute. A former client had given two sculptures. One was a woman holding an open cage in one hand and a freed bird in the other. On the wall of Paige’s corner officer overlooking the campus were photographer Judy Walgren‘s Pulitzer Prize winning photos of past TFP clients.

Lockers

Travis Hollman and his company had created walls of lockers for the clients to safe keep documents and paperwork. Paige admitted that the need was the result of client focus groups.

Melissa Sherrill in Barkingham Palace

The SPCA had been a fabulous resource on how to run the Barkingham Palace, a kennel that included a washing machine, dryer and even a quiet room for families to spend time with their pets. While that had been underwritten, Paige admitted that the food was still in need of financial support.

Looking out on the grounds from a third-level terrace, Paige limited photography of the exterior of the building or the surrounding area. No photo could be taken that might hint of Moody Place’s location. Security had been a priority in every aspect of its creation because that was the first step for her clients’ recovery from lives of fear and abuse. As Paige said, “Once you’re behind the walls, you’re totally secure.”

Ann Moody Place is breathtaking and unfortunately so needed. That’s why Paige admitted that her future will be filled with fundraising for its operation. Her hope is you will support Moody Place, but never need it.

For more photos of Ann Moody Place, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Preservation Dallas Gives Out Its Preservation Achievement Awards At The Statler

Robert Decherd was wiping the perspiration off his forehead with a hankie, and who could blame him? It was, after all, very warm and crowded inside The Statler, where more than 300 people had gathered for the 18th Annual Preservation Achievement Awards. The Tuesday, May 30th event capped off Preservation Dallas‘ month-long celebration of National Preservation Month, which aims to promote cities’ histories as a key part of their prospects for future growth.

Veronica Gonzalez, Amanda and Jim Lake Jr., Barbara Lake and Craig Melde*

During a reception before the awards dinner, guests including Joan and Alan Walne, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Award Honorary Chair Ken Downing, Veletta Forsythe Lill, Deborah Brown, John Crawford, Joel Williams, Amanda and Jim Lake Jr., Barbara Lake, John Allender, Katy Slade, Robyn Jacobson, Craige Melde, Nick Emery, Carolyn Perna, Veronica Gonzalez, Veletta Forsythe Lill, Brad Nischke, Buddy Apple, Shane Deville, Rachel Roberts, Tancy Rampy, Danelle Baldwin Smith, Stephen Smith and Ivy Sweeney chatted in a big open area of The Statler, the historic, not-yet-open Dallas hotel that’s being renovated into apartments, hotel rooms, and retail space by the Centurion American Group. (Brown, by the way, said she was wearing a dress with a vintage Statler-Hilton label. She’d bought the “Town & Travelwear” frock a few years ago at The Chic Cherie vintage fashion shop.)

Ken Downing*

The star attraction at the reception, though, was a live “celebrity llama” from the ShangriLlama Adventure Farm in Parker. The presence of the 4-year-old selfie magnet named Bahama Llama was a nod to the Statler’s early years, when a llama called Llinda Llee Llama was a fixture there. After the reception the guests were ushered into a long, narrow—and, again, very warm—room for the dinner and program. There, the tables had been arranged with little space between them, flies buzzed about the food that was served up family-style and, for anyone unfortunate to be seated in the “back,” it was hard to see or hear the program’s speakers.

Shane Deville, Rachel Roberts, Mehrdad Moayedi and Mike Rawlings*

Rawlings kicked things off, saying that it’s “remarkable that Dallas is getting the national attention it is getting across the country” for the revitalization of its downtown. Downing, who was honorary chair of the awards committee, admitted that he’d been “brought kicking and screaming to Dallas from Los Angeles 20 years ago.” Of The Statler, he recalled, people said, “‘What an eyesore! What a behemoth!’ Well, if this is what a behemoth looks like, bring me more behemoths, because they need to be saved!”

Downing gave way to Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who delivered the evening’s keynote. Meeks talked about the value of older buildings and older neighborhoods in reviving cities, pointing to the thriving LoDo district in Denver (in her native Colorado) as a good example. She also noted that Dallas currently leads all of Texas in taking advantage of historic tax credits for building redevelopment.

Stephanie Meeks*

Then it was time for the awards, which honored 16 of the most significant preservation contributors and projects of the previous year. The winning projects were: Cupaioli House, Gables Residential State-Thomas Brownstones, Geotronics Building, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Highland Park Town Hall, Jefferson Tower, Lee Park WPA Roque Courts, Mayflower Building, Sidell House, Typo Campus-600 North Tyler Street, and Wheatland United Methodist Church.

John Allender, Katy Slade, Robyn Jacobson, Craige Melde, Nick Emery and Carolyn Perna*

Receiving special recognition awards were: Downtown Dallas Inc., AIA Dallas, Dallas County Medical Society Alliance, Conley Group, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. When at last the final trophy had been handed out—and the last thank-you had been thanked—one woman seated in the back of the airless room laughed, “I’m afraid when I stand up, my dress will be stuck to me!”  

* Photo credit: Kim Leeson

JUST IN: Thanks To Dollar Day! The Dallas Zoo Busted The Million-Human Mark Earlier Than Ever On Thursday

Gregg Hudson (File photo)

Despite the heat, more than 19,000 folks took advantage of Thursday’s Dollar Day! at the Dallas Zoo. In addition to an amazing show of humans, it resulted in the Zoo breaking the million-visitor mark for the third straight year. And this million-breaker was the earliest one yet!

According to Dallas Zoo President/CEO Gregg Hudson, “Once again, more than a million people have turned out to support our mission of engaging people and saving wildlife. Our community knows how hard we’ve worked to make the Dallas Zoo one of the nation’s best zoological parks, so it’s appropriate that we broke the million mark this year on a day when we look to give back to that community.”

The staff attributes the successful numbers to the following:

Dallas Zoo’s “hip” kids

  • The April opening of Simmons Hippo Outpost, the zoo’s new $14 million, 2.1-acre exhibit which is an immersive African waterhole habitat featuring two hippos and okapi. It includes a 24-foot by 8-foot viewing window that brings guests eye-to-nostril with the Nile hippos as they explore their 120,000-gallon waterhole.
  • The April opening of the National Geographic Photo Ark Here through Sunday, October 1, the outdoor exhibition showcases more than 80 stunning images from world-renowned photographer Joel Sartore, featuring some of the most endangered animals on earth.
  • The zoo’s much-celebrated baby boom, including the arrival of Bahati in March, the first lion cub born at the zoo in 43 years; beloved elephant Ajabu, who turned 1 in May; and the May birth of giraffe calf Tsavo, born to world-famous mother Katie.
  • Earning its sixth consecutive Certificate of Excellence award as one of the world’s best businesses by TripAdvisor, the largest travel reviewing and planning web site, and maintaining a four-star rating on Yelp.

Congratulations to the Zoo-sters, both human and critter.

Update: Daisy Mae Has Less Legs To Stand On, But More Love To Support Her

It’s amazing that Daisy Mae, the white Labrador pup, managed to pull herself out of the gangbuster collision on Tuesday, July 11, and survived in a nearby ravine for days without water and comfort. Thanks to Mutts and Mayhem, she was found, rescued and taken to a vet.

Posted by Mutts & Mayhem Animal Rescue on Wednesday, July 19, 2017

But after checking with canine orthopedic specialists and her loving owner Erica Cruz, Daisy’s back left leg had to amputated due to the devastation.

She is now on pain killers, recovering and looking forward to a reunion with her family.

Nigel

According to four-year-old Nigel (a three-legged Pyrenees/poodle), “We tripods really get along quite well. Why there are even websites dedicated to our  ‘tripawd’ situation. In some way we feel so sorry for you humans with only two legs. Daisy is young and has a loving family. In no time she’ll quickly adapt to her new way of getting around.

“By the way, can you fix me up on a date with Daisy when she’s up and about?”

While Daisy and Erica are still recovering from the shock of the accident and their physical damage, their being together will help the mending.

But there’s still the funding for Daisy’s medical treatment.  Mutts and Mayhem is still trying to help ease the financial challenges that Daisy’s facing. It’s simple. Just go to this page and right under the amount of donation, click “Animal(s) you would like to sponsor.” That’s where you write “Daisy Mae.”

If you can help show your appreciation with ca-ching, wonderful. If the money just ain’t available, just send good thoughts.

* Video courtesy of Mutts and Mayhem

Dallas Zoo Residents Are Ready For A Herd Of Visitors For Thursday’s Dollar Day! Special

The Dallas Zoo folks snuck up on a lot of folks. Instead of waiting until August scorches the area, they’re holding the infamous Dollar Day! this Thursday. That’s a $14 saving for adults and a $11 saving for youths and seniors.

Not only is admission going to be a dollar, but the following will be available for a buck each:

  • selected snack items (canned drinks, water, hot dogs and chips)
  • nectar to feed the lorikeets
  • bird food at the Travis and Zach’s Birds Landing

Giraffe (File photo)

And if you want to splurge and look like a big spender, here are some other bargains for this one-day-only special:

  • $2 T-Rex Express mini-train
  • $5 Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorail
  • $5 giraffe feedings (and, yes, the giraffes do have long black tongues)

Since parking is going to be $8 and traffic is expected to be limited, try out the DART Red Line.

Hippopotamus (File photo)

BTW, prepare yourself for the Simmons Hippo Outpost. These two are more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.

BTW, don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses and cameras.

Surrounded By French Fashions, Equest Women’s Auxiliary Committee Learned About Wylie Sale And Style Show’s Honorary Chair

With French designer Roland Mouret holding court in the Glass House of Neiman Marcus Downtown, the Equest Women’s Auxiliary committee members like Auxiliary Founder Louise Griffeth, Elsa Norwood, Linda Secrest, Di Johnston and Stacey Walker, were being hosted by NM Downtown VP Jeff Byron for lunch on Thursday, May 18.

Roland Mouret fashion

Roland Mouret fashion

As models floated around the tables, Roland didn’t mind taking a purse from a couple of models and setting them aside until he spotted another walking mannequin whose look was ramped up with the addition of one of the errant purses.

Roland Mouret

Andy Steingasser

The big news of the day was Equest CEO Lili Kellogg’s reporting that the original Equest home base in Wylie had been sold thanks to Equest Board Chair Andy Steingasser, who also negotiated the cash deal and donated his commission to Equest.

According to Lili, the Equest program would be based at Texas Horse Park, where they could focus all their energies on established programs and expand to include partnerships with Paul Quinn College, the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Independent School District.

Lili Kellogg, Beth Thoele, Jeff Byron and Angie Kadesky

In the meantime, she reported that the staff was busy making the move out of Wylie with a deadline of Thursday, June 1.

Regarding the Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show on Tuesday, October 3, at Brook Hollow, Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Angie Kadesky and Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele revealed that Robyn Conlon would be serving at the honorary chair.  

JUST IN: Accident Victim Daisy Mae Was Just Found In A Ravine With A Broken Femur And Rescued By Mutts And Mayhem

While some folks were attending church and others were sleeping in, the amazing volunteers with Mutts and Mayhem were out in the summer heat helping a total stranger. They were stomping through the terrain just off of the Bush Tollway.

Back story: Last Tuesday, Erica Cruz hitched a ride to work with a couple of friends. Her 11-month-old white Labrador named Daisy Mae insisted on tagging along. Suddenly, the car they were riding in was hit from behind by an 18-wheeler. In addition to a sprained ankle and whiplash, Erica’s back was fractured in two places. Luckily, the other passengers got off with minimal injuries. But Daisy Mae couldn’t be found. She wasn’t in the wreckage nor anywhere around. Erica was helpless. She was bed bound and asked for help via social media. The response was spectacular with a lot of friends and strangers pitching in.

A family dog, Daisy Mae had been missing for almost a week after her and her owners were in a car crash in Plano…Daisy has been found but likely has a fractured pelvis and femur. Her left leg is swollen twice the size that it should be and she could no longer walk from her injuries. This is her rescue video courtesy Mutts & Mayhem Animal Rescue.HOW TO HELP: http://on.wfaa.com/2uyiq2P

Posted by WFAA-TV on Sunday, July 16, 2017

 

For days, the search in the sweltering heat and off-and-on rain continued. Late this morning Daisy Mae was found in a ravine by the rescue group Mutts and Mayhem.

Needless to say, Erica was in tears when she got the news.

Daisy Mae*

In addition to being hot, Daisy couldn’t walk. Carefully, the team took her to the animal ER where they discovered her back femur was broken in several place and would require surgery in the days ahead. But that kind of surgery can be costly, so Mutts and Mayhem has reported that you can go to their donation page and specify under “donation purpose” that the money goes to Daisy’s care.  

BTW, Mutts and Mayhem is a nonprofit animal welfare group that was founded in 2013 by two active-duty paramedics. It relies solely donations. If you could spare the change, they sure could use it.

But let’s cut to the chase. If you were on the way to something or other with your BFF and were in a true-blue accident, wouldn’t you appreciate a come-from-nowhere source of strangers scouring for help? Yep! That’s what everyone thought.

* Photo and video provided by Mutts and Mayhem

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Zoo

According to Dallas Zoo intern Lauren Lombardo*,

The dog days of summer may be here, but the Dallas Zoo knows just how to get families off the couch with a wild outdoor adventure. We’re debuting new exhibits and more than 2,000 animals that are sure to please the whole family. So pack a cooler and join us from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily!

Simmons Hippo Outpost*

Our new Simmons Hippo Outpost features a 24-foot by 8-foot underwater viewing window that’ll bring guests eye-to-nostril with these majestic “river horses” as they swim around their African waterhole. The exhibit is the first major addition to the Dallas Zoo since Giants of the Savanna opened in 2010, and offers an elevated view of our hippos from the Wilds of Africa Safari monorail—trust us, you’re going to want to bring the camera. Catch a daily hippo keeper chat at 2:30 p.m., and you might just see these hefty herbivores munch on a head of lettuce.

You can also find more than 80 large scale photos throughout the Zoo as part of the National Geographic Photo Ark exhibition. These larger than life images are perfect for snapping selfies or striking a pose with your favorite animal. We’re one of only three zoos showcasing this incredible collection of photos by photographer Joel Sartore through Sept. 4.

If that’s not enough, we’re currently in the midst of an adorable baby boom! Little lion cub Bahati and giraffe calf Tsavo are making daily appearances in their habitats. You can see Bahati play with mom Lina and aunt Jasiri in the Wilds of Africa as well as hand feed giraffes at the Diane and Hal Brierley Giraffe Ridge.

Admission is free for children age 2 or under and Zoo Members, $12 for children age 3-11 and seniors over age 64, and $15 for adults age 12-64.

* Much to the disppointment of the staff, Friday was Lauren’s last day at the Zoo 
** Photo provided by the Dallas Zoo

A Human’s Holiday Celebration Is A Pet’s Night Of Fear And Anxiety

This Fourth of July promises to have clear skies just perfect for firework displays throughout the North Texas area. Why you may not even have to leave your mansion to hear the ka-booms and see the flashes overhead.

Anxious pooch (File photo)

But while such a sight is breathtaking and all in the best spirit, the sounds and sights can be devastating for some… like pets.

According to Lost Dogs of America, more dogs “run away from home over the Fourth of July holiday than any other.” 

Here are some tips to prepare for that “just in case” situation:

  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and, most importantly, that its registration is current.
  • Do not take your pet to Fourth of July festivities.
  • Take your dog for a walk during the day. The cat doesn’t need to take a stroll.
  • If you’re set on taking the pooch to a parade, remember the pavement is going to be hot. So, walk and have them sit on a grassy spot and bring along some water. You may not get thirsty, but you’re not wearing a fur coat.
  • Secure them in an indoor crate with the TV and/or music playing, preferably in a room with window shades down.
  • The ASPCA has provided a free app to help you locate your pet, just in case the night results in their running away from home.
  • Ask your vet for advice specifically on how to deal with your animal companion’s anxiety.

BTW, have a current photo of your pet? Even if you don’t have a camera, you can take a cellphone picture. It will be vital if your pet does make a mad dash, so that you can immediately post on social media as well as distribute handouts.

JUST IN: Mary McDermott Cook To Take A Second Bow As Honorary Chair For 2017 Zoo To Do’s “Animal Gathering”

Mary McDermott Cook (File photo)

Animal-loving philanthropist Mary McDermott Cook had so much fund fundraising as last year’s Zoo To Do‘s honorary chair that she’s signed up for a second year.

In fact, quite a few of the 2016 Zoo To Do crew is making a return trip to raise money for the Dallas Zoo including 2017 Co-Chair Barbara Daseke and 2017 Live Auction Co-Chair Hal Brierley

This year’s event at the zoo will take place of Saturday, November 4, with the theme “Animal Gathering.”

They’ve got their work cut out for them. Last year’s event raised $1.4M and since then there’s been the addition of a couple of hungry and adorable hippos.

It should be a howling success since there will be a full moon out that night. 

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Heritage Village

Melissa Prycer*

According to Dallas Heritage Village President and Executive Director Melissa Prycer,

If you have never visited Dallas Heritage Village, Old Fashioned Fourth is a perfect occasion to pack a picnic lunch and bring the family! In fact, for many North Texas families, this annual event has become a tradition. Not only can you enjoy all of the fun fourth activities, the Village’s historic buildings will be open for touring, and costumed interpreters will be on hand to visit about what life in North Texas from 1840 to 1910.  Dallas Heritage Village, one of only five nationally accredited museums in the Dallas area, showcases a Victorian Main Street, a railroad complex, a log cabin, a pre-Civil war home, an 1860’s farmstead with livestock, a 19th century church, schoolhouse and more. 

Dallas Heritage Village*

On this special holiday, families decked out in red, white, and blue, begin coming into the gates around 10 a.m. with picnic baskets, bikes, and little red wagons to spend the day making memories together. The event runs until 3 p.m. with the highlight being the patriotic parade at noon.

Dallas Heritage Village*

In this parade the kids are the stars! However, don’t tell our Mammoth Jack Donkeys that – each year they lead the parade and like to think it’s all about them. For many years Nip and Tuck have led the parade, but they have now relinquished that duty to the young newcomers – brothers Willie and Waylon. Nip and Tuck are OK with that, but they hope you will stop by and take your patriotic pictures with them so they won’t feel left out!  And don’t forget to say hi to the sheep. They tend to get their feelings hurt with all the fuss over those donkeys.

Dallas Heritage Village*

Before marching in the parade, come by the craft station and decorate your bikes, wagons, and even yourself with patriotic items we will provide at no cost. Our Dallas Junior Historians will be hosting the annual carnival again this year, and we encourage you to bring a little extra change to participate – 25 cents for each game or 5 games for a dollar. Games include our famous stick pony race for ages 3-11, “go fishing” for prizes, and bean bag toss. And it wouldn’t be Old Fashioned Fourth without checkers games (stations will be set up to play), horseshoes and graces, as well as a July 4th craft – painting fireworks with cardboard tubes and making Uncle Sam with Popsicle sticks! This year’s guests will also be able to get sneak peek at our exciting new early childhood learning space, which will have a grand opening in September.

Dallas Heritage Village*

Dallas Heritage Village is located in the heart of the booming Cedars area at 1515 S. Harwood, Dallas, 75215, near urban living and restaurants and the popular Dallas Farmer’s Market complex. Admission for Old Fashioned Fourth is $5 for ages 13 and older. Those 12 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at the gate.  Visit dallasheritagevillage.org or call 214.421.5141 for more information! We look forward to seeing you soon!

* Photo provided by Dallas Heritage Village

MySweetCharity To Launch Mini-Series — “Summer Pitch”

MySweetCharity

North Texas is now at “that point in the summer.” The kids have seen all the movies including the losers. The good old swimming hole is starting to look like it could boil lobster. Summer camp is either in the rear view mirror or still a couple of weeks away.

What’s left for the summer of 2017? Lots!

Thanks to North Texas nonprofits, there are still loads of gotta-dos available. Some are obvious and well known; others are off the traditional radar. But they’re all family oriented and the results of North Texan generosity.

In the days ahead, MySweetCharity is going to run a brief series — MSC Summer Pitch — for these organizations to describe their things-to-do for your consideration.

Why not give ‘em a try and don’t forget to take photos.  

Canine Companions For Independence Graduation At Kinkeade Campus Changed Lives For Both Humans And Their New BFF

Linda and Terrence Marler

May is filled with graduations and that applies to pooches as well as youngsters. On Friday, May 5, Canine Companions for Independence held a graduation ceremony at its Canine Companions for Independence Kinkeade Campus at the Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving. It was overflowing with humans like Jan Rees-Jones with Susan McSherry, Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Linda Marler and her husband Terrence Marler as well as four-legged types.

Before the graduation took place, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, who had been the driving force for Texas’ only CCI, teased new Baylor Scott and White CEO Jim Hinton, who had just recently arrived in North Texas from New Mexico: “When Jim first got here, he asked me what are those green objects. I told him, ‘Jim, I know you’re from New Mexico, but those are trees. We have a lot of those here.’ ”

Jim and Kristen Hinton and Ed Kinkeade

Following Ed, Jim told the crowd, “I love my wife first, I love my dogs second and I love my kids third and I’m completely unapologetic about that.”

Despite the Hinton dogs still living for the time being in New Mexico, Jim confessed that he does Facetime with them. “The good news is that they recognize my voice and I’m still a little bit of a wag. I miss those dogs terribly. To me this effort is a convergence of two things that I am passionate about: one is dogs and the other one is healthcare, taking care of people. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Judge Ed Kinkeade. It is his vision; it is his passion; it is his unique way that has caused this to exist.”

Jim recalled his attending the previous graduation and “I asked the question that all first-time guests ask, ‘Why are all these Kleenex boxes sitting around?’ And so for the past several months, I’ve been building up this moment with my wife [Kristen] and she is with me today. I’ve noticed that she’s already getting a little teary and we haven’t even started the darn program yet. So, she’s going to be a mess before this thing is over. ”

Luckily, there were boxes of tissues placed throughout the room. Sure, it was Cinco de Mayo to the rest of the world, but it was a parting of relationships for some in the room and for others it was the coming together for a lifelong journey.

Canine Companion for Independence puppy in training

Canine Companion for Independence puppy graduate Dutch II

One group consisted of young Labradors that for two years had been raised through the “awkward years,” thanks to volunteer puppy raisers. These dogs had been loved, hugged and been exposed to the world. Now, they were leaving the comfort of their homes and stepping up to a new level of education that would take place at the facility for months by skilled trainers. Their goal was to become the “companions” for those in need.  

Judy Schumpert and #18

A word about the puppy raisers; they range from all types. Some are families; some are prisoners; and then there was Judy Schumpert, who was turning in her 18th dog and already training her 19th : “I’m either on a mission for God or a glutton for punishment. I’ve got to keep doing it until I can do it no more.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone living, loving and working with a puppy for two years and then giving them up. New puppy raisers Mary Catherine Lombardi and Erica Hotvedt admitted, “When we got started, I think we knew what we were getting into. But I think the final goodbyes are harder than we expected.”  They recognized that their puppy Yoshi III, however, was destined for a truly remarkable role.

That purpose became so apparent when the graduation of the new teams took place. For the past two weeks, the seven humans had arrived and lived at the facility to be matched and trained with their new best friends.

Edgar

Chosen as class spokesperson for the graduating teams, Edgar, with Chase V at his side, eloquently told of the importance of this program for the graduating humans. One was an autistic child, whose outbursts would “calm down immediately” when her pooch, Tess VI, “came to the rescue.” Thomas, whose weakened motor skills caused by cerebral palsy resulted in his dropping things to the floor, had been helped by  Atlas IV retrieving them for him. Wheel-chair-bound youngster Lauren‘s arm was subject to bouts of spasticity and limited control, but when Egan II lay down at her side, it was still and under control. Edgar himself admitted that there were times when he would fall out of his wheelchair and Chase’s bark command would sound the alert for assistance. Thanks to Dutch II, wheelchair-bound Lauren was looking forward to getting out on her own and not being “a burden on my parents.” Sara, who works with first responders in dealing with PTSD, would be assisted in the future by Aiken II, who would be “the non-judging entity in the room that helps the patients relax.” 

From the left: (seated) CCI graduate team Lauren and Egan; (standing) Puppy raisers Andrew, Ella, Mark, Angela and Lauren’s mother

Edgar continued, “These stories are a mere excerpt of what has happened in the past 10 days. Can you imagine what is going to happen in the next 10 years? All of us graduates would like to say thank you for being here today, whether you’re a donor, a puppy raiser, a volunteer. Even if this is your first time with Canine Companions, that’s how it starts. That how you get the ball rolling.”

Summing up the two weeks of team training, he addressed his fellow graduates: “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one. And here we stand on the brink of a 10-year-journey. It won’t always be easy, but I promise it will be worth it. All the troubles that we deal with daily will soon be alleviated by an incredible new resource, my new best friend that is unconditionally at our side just waiting to help anyway they can. Thank you.”

As the new teams headed home for a new life of independence, the new recruits were taken to their CCI spotless digs for the next step in their education to be a life-changing partner for someone in need.   

Lauren and her mother

And that’s why the boxes of Kleenex were throughout the hall.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: Canine Companions For Independence Graduation

Canine Companions for Independence South Central Training Center

Unlike many May graduates who have diplomas but are in need of jobs, the Canine Companions for Independence graduates left the stage for a lifelong career with their human partners on Friday, May 5. Also as part of the ceremony at the Kinkeade Campus at Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving were the puppies that have been raised by volunteers for nearly two years. They were turned over by their puppy raisers to CCI trainers to see if they, too, would make the grade.

As the class spokesperson said, “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one.” Needless to say, there was plenty of Kleenex put to use for the standing-room-only crowd.

Lauren and her mother

As the post is being completed, check out the pooches and people at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: 2017 Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Barbara And Don Daseke Reveal Fundraiser’s Plans

While the two-legged critters wore shades as the sun set slowly over the Dallas Zoo’s Highland Hippo Hut, the two showstoppers chilled in the Simmons Hippo Outpost lagoon last night. The twosome were Adhama and Boipelo that almost stole the show from the reveal of plans for the 2017 Zoo To Do.

Dallas Zoo’s “hip” kids

But more about that at a later date.

In the meantime, here are the deets: Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Barbara and Don Daseke have arranged to have Diane and Hal Brierley in charge of the live auction; Barb and Steve Durham as host committee co-chairs; Cindy Gummer handling decorations; Kate and Lane Britain as underwriting co-chairs; Anatole Brett Krafft as wrangler and ZaZa Chef Dan Landsberg as head chef.

The date is set for Saturday, November 4. It’s going to be a great one with the Dasekes, the committee heads, the chefs cooking all over the place and the multitude of newborns that are cropping up all over the zoo.

2017 Fur Ball Team Reports At Kick-Off Party That The SPCA Of Texas Fundraiser Will Be “Reigning Cats And Dogs” Come September

The two-legged critters got together at Highland Park Village’s Alice And Olivia to dine, shop and learn about plans for the black-tie 2017 Fur Ball. Needless to say, guests were purring with approval when details of the SPCA of Texas fundraiser were revealed. Here’s a report from the field:

Fur Ball Kick-Off party*

Friends of Fur Ball gathered on a lovely spring evening at Alice and Olivia at Highland Park Village on Tuesday, May 2, for the Fur Ball 2017 kick-off party! Guests were all decked out in spring finery, and joined 2017 Fur Ball Chair Cindy Lindsley; Auction Chair Sandra Fite; Co-Chairs Laura Floyd, Allie Jarvie and Jennifer Lindsley; and Auction Co-Chair Cameron Gummer to enjoy shopping, champagne and sweet and savory bites.

Cameron Gummer, Cindy Lindsley and Sandra Fite*

Champagne and wine, thanks to Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, were passed while guests enjoyed light bites provided by Whole Foods and Bird Bakery’s signature cupcakes. The evening’s superb staffing was provided thanks to KMG Events. People’s pooches also felt the love thanks to gourmet dog treats from Dane and Dale Pet Provisions.

Sincere thanks Alice and Olivia for welcoming the happy crowd and for donating 15% of proceeds from the evening’s sales to the SPCA of Texas! Very special thanks to Alice and Olivia for hosting the beautiful bash, especially CEO Stacey Bendet and store manager Carson Haynes.

The event was held in support of the SPCA of Texas’ Fur Ball 2017, “Reigning Cats and Dogs,” DFW’s salute to the bond between people and their pets. The elegant black-tie gala will delight the senses with Emcee Ron Corning, dancing, headline entertainment by Limelight and live and silent auctions. SPCA of Texas’ Fur Ball 2017 will be held on Saturday, September 30, from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the Omni Dallas.

All money raised through Fur Ball 2017 will go towards the SPCA of Texas’ important mission to rescue, heal, and find loving homes for vulnerable animals.

Sharon Fancher, Katy Murray, Lynn McBee, Gus Hinojosa and Betsy*

Karen Urie and Kristen Greenberg*

Debra Burns and Russell Dealey*

Guests included Lynn McBee, Russell Dealey, Betsy Orton, Sharon Fancher, Paula Calise, Giana DePaul, Kay Whelan, Anja Woodson, Andrea Reich, Chad England, Ashley Berges, Mark Soto, Ashley Berges, Diane Taheri, Tatiana MurphyElizabeth and Harold McCoy, Carly O’Keefe, Carla Webb, Cameron and Jay Gummer, Kristen Greenberg, Dean McSherry, SPCA of Texas Chair Katie Murray, Gus Hinojosa, Steve Atkinson, Teresa Henderson, Karen Urie and Susie Swanson.

* Photo credit: Thomas Garza Photography

Not Even A Rainy-Day Delay Could Put The Whoa For The Equesters Galloping Ahead From Their “Field Of Dreams” Gala

One thing is for sure. Those horse-loving Equest folks are flexible. When radar showed threatening weather storming into North Texas for Saturday, April 29th’s Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park, cool minds ruled, coordinated with vendors, sponsors, guests and the ponies and moved the whole kit-and-kaboodle to the next day. Here’s a report from the “field of dreams:”

Kelly Howard, Blair Dwyer and Elizabeth Schwartz*

Ray Johnston*

The Equest Gala, themed “A Field of Dreams,” was truly an inspirational evening of hope, determination and joy. With Saturday’s forecast of severe storms, a difficult decision was made to reschedule the gala to Sunday, and the Equest team, Gala committee, and event planner Katy Sky Group produced the unthinkable: a beautiful fundraising gala for 450 guests complete with all the bells and whistles. The 36th annual Equest Gala was another example of Equest’s can-do spirit.

Jocelyn White and Jody Dean*

Finely dressed in their equestrian best, guests perused the magnificently decorated Equest barns and arena at Texas Horse Park. Ray Johnston performed an acoustic set during the reception – providing the perfect soundtrack to the blue skies and cool temperature. Sipping on signature “Field of Dreams” margaritas and sampling the Bourbon and Biscuits Bar, guests cozied up with the lipstick-wearing Equest Mini-Ambassadors Cisco and Dare at the Mini Kissing Booth. Just as festive was the Tequila with Taco station where delighted guests enjoyed Milagro tequila and a photo with Equest’s famous donkey, Taco.  One of the best parts of the night was seeing the proud smiles worn by the Equest riders during Horse and Rider demonstrations.

Andy Steingasser*

Guests enjoyed a family-style southern gourmet dinner from Farm to Market Catering, while Emcees Jocelyn White of Designing Texas and Jody Dean of KLUV 98.7 FM introduced Equest CEO Lili Kellogg, Equest Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser, and Equest Gala Co-Chairs Kathy and Jeromy Fielder, among others.

Kathy Fielder, Bella Fielder and Jeromy Fielder*

Cary Pierce*

A compelling video touched charitable hearts before the start of the live auction. Over $50,000 was raised during the fund-a-mission and five Equest therapy horses were sponsored by generous donors. Other guests bid on stellar live auction items including a four-night vacation in Breckenridge, a Napa Valley Getaway, a live painting by Dace Lucia Kidd, and a Belize Dream at the Las Terrazas Resort. Guests also had the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind silent auction items, and purchase a key for $100 that the lucky winner could use to unlock a $2,500 Neiman Marcus gift card.

An equestrian chic gala – especially one located in a barn – would not be considered a success without two-stepping. Dancers from Arthur Murray Dance Studio opened the dance floor, quickly followed by guests’ cowboy boots shuffling to the musical lead of Cary Pierce, and surprise musical guests Crystal Yates and Jon Christopher Davis.

Phyllis Comu and Susan Schwartz*

Darin and Margot Ruebel*

Additional attendees included: Equest Co-Founder Susan Schwartz, Bill and Lezlie Noble, Monique and Reed Williams, Margot and Darin Ruebel, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Phyllis Glazer, Bridget and Tom Black, Jessica and Michael Barnett, Ricky Callahan and Jennie Healy, Connie Sigel, Mimi and Rich Sterling, Patrick and Kristy Sands, Carolyn and Romy Anderson, and Alanna Smith of WFAA Good Morning Texas, among others.

* Photo credit: Thomas Garza

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show Letters About The Annual Fundraiser At Brook Hollow Hit The Mailboxes

Louise Griffeth and Angie Kadesky

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Founder Louise Griffeth’s dining room was jammed the other day with gals. But they weren’t brunching. Instead of plates of croissants and cucumber sandwiches, the ladies with pens in hand were facing stacks of letters inviting Equest friends and supporters to be a part of the Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show.

While Louse and EWA President Angie Kadesky were in the kitchen providing fuel, Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele was in the dining room supervising the handiwork. Beth’s plan was to take the personalized letters to the mailbox on Tuesday following Memorial Day.

Elisa Summers (File photo)

Heather Washburne (File photo)

Before you head to cooler places, check your mailbox. If you don’t find a letter from an EWA-er, don’t feel left out. Chances are that it’s trapped in the postal universe. Just so you don’t have to fret or stalk your postman, here are the highlights. Presented by Highland Park Village, this year’s theme is “Reins of Hope” with Robyn Conlon as honorary chair. The annual Equest Award for Community Service will be presented to sisters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne.

So, even if the letter didn’t make it through the rain today, ink in Tuesday, October 3, for the Equest fundraiser lunch and fashion show produced by Jan Strimple at Brook Hollow. The Equest Mini Ambassadors are hoping you’ll be there.

Still have questions and can’t wait for your letter? Just check with Beth!

JUST IN: Sale Of Wylie Facility Has Equest Packing Its Saddlebags And Consolidating The Equine Therapy Program At Texas Horse Park

For the next ten days, the Equest folks are going to bustling. While they’ll be tending to the horses and clients, Equest CEO Lili Kellogg reported that they’ll also be packing their stuff. It seems that their Wylie facility has been sold and they’ve got to be out of there by Wednesday, May 31, and calling Texas Horse Park their mane (sorry, about that) home.

Lili Kellogg

Andy Steingasser

Dave Perry-Miller’s Andy Steingasser revealed that the 42.5-acre property was sold to a Chinese developer. Not only is Andy the board chair for Equest, he’s also the Realtor who handled the deal and donated 100% of his commission to Equest.

The original asking price was $2.5M, but Andy wasn’t talking what the final amount was. All he could say was that he’d had many sleepless nights.

BTW, just as in every move, the Equest team could use some help. They need storage bins, label makers and industrial shredders. Here’s the link how you can buckeroo help.

JUST IN: Robyn Conlon To Serve As Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show Honorary Chair

Robyn Conlon (File photo)

Today must be “Honorary Chair Announcement Day.” This morning it was the news that 105-year-old Margaret McDermott would serve as the honorary chair for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala.

Now, Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Angie Kadesky has revealed that joining Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show Chair Beth Thoele for the Equest fundraiser will be Robyn Conlon as honorary chair.

Presented by Highland Park Village, the fashions on the runway at Brook Hollow on Tuesday, October 3, will be from HPV with Jan Strimple heading up the production.