JUST IN: Equest Gala Moved To Sunday

Equest Gala change of plans*

With all the threats of Saturday night’s stormy weather ramping up, area organizers are kicking in back-up plans. Word just arrived that the Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park has been postponed 24 hours to Sunday. Here is the official word from the horse’s mouth:

Due to weather beyond our control, we have made the decision to postpone the Equest 2017 Field of Dreams Gala to Sunday, April 30. The new Gala start time is 5 p.m. with shuttles running from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and returning at 7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The reason is simple — safety for two- and four-legged critters. Very good move on Equest Gala Co-Chairs Kathy and Jeromy Fielder‘s part.

Just think. If you weren’t able to attend the original Saturday night, you’re in luck to see the horses Sunday and can make it happen by checking in here. On the other hand, if you can’t make it Sunday night, why not show your Equest support and consider your ticket purchase as a donation and let Amanda Fastle know, so they can adjust plans. However, if the household budget is tight and you really need that money, then check with Christine Volkmer about a refund.

* Graphic courtesy of Equest

 

Equest Gala Organizers Have The Ponies Rearing To Party And Umbrellas Aplenty Just In Case Of Predicted April Showers Prove To Be True

Saturday’s Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park is being threatened by local weather guessers with stormy weather. But according to Gala Emcee and former weather-caster Jocelyn White, it’s always a guessing game.

So, don’t let the threats of showers dissuade you from heading to the protected stable area leading to the covered arena, where all the dining and dancing will be taking place. The horses have been spiffing up all week for the big fundraiser, and the humans have been taking precautions.

Jocelyn White (File photo)

Kathy Fielder (File photo)

Co-Chair Kathy Fielder reports, “We are still hoping our Field of Dreams will be dry, but we are prepared if spring showers come our way. Thankfully, the event areas, including the beautifully transformed arena, are covered. If needed, we will have plenty of umbrellas to keep folks dry, and bourbon to warm them up. Our Equest Clients and Therapy Horses are ready to shine.”

What’s more, you won’t have to worry about driving to and back from the festivities. The buses will be running come sleet, snow, soggy roads or whatever. Just make sure you have your spot on the shuttle saved by checking in with Amanda Fastle at 972.412.1099, Ext. 215.

Under Blue Skies Equest Gala Patron Party Ponied Up For Guests At Ashley Tatum’s And Newt Walker’s Terrace Overlooking Exall Lake

Just blocks away from the AWARE Patron party, Ashley Tatum and Newt Walker took full advantage of the clear skies following the early morning storms on Wednesday, March 29.

Their fabulous terrace overlooking Exall Lake had loads of Equest supporters including two miniature equine ambassadors — Cisco and Dare — that accommodated one and all for photos and pats on the head.

Honorary Co-Chairman Allan McBee’s beard that he grew for being part of the Dallas Opera’s “Moby Dick” cast was still in full flourish. However, Honorary Co-Chair/Allan’s wife Lynn McBee was counting the days for the beard to be gone.

Allan McBee

Kristina and Phil Whitcomb

Upon hearing the differences of opinion on the beard in the McBee household, Kristina Whitcomb said that she took Lynn’s side about her son’s beard, “but his wife loves it.”

Lester Keliher

Gretchen Darby and Kathy Fielder

On the terrace to hear about the Equest fundraiser — Field of Dreams — were Margaret and Lester Keliher, Equest Gala Co-Chair Kathy Fielder, Equest CEO Lili Kellogg, Gretchen Darby, Phil Whitcomb and Di Johnston with daughter Claire Johnston.

Claire Johnston and Di Johnston

Lili Kelloggg

Tickets for the Saturday, April 29th gala at Texas Horse Park are going fast.

JUST IN: Barbara And Don Daseke To Co-Chair 2017 Zoo To Do’s “Animal Gathering” Under A Full Moon

Don and Barbara Daseke (File photo)

On Saturday, November 4, there will be a full moon in the sky. That should have an estimated 700 folks howling at the 2017 Zoo To Do.

News just arrived that the twosome who will be co-chairing the event will be those animal-loving critters Barbara and Don Daseke.

This year’s Dallas Zoo fundraiser should be quite a hip-hip hurray event with the added attraction of the soon-to-open Simmons Hippo Outpost, plus all the new babies that have been born this year. And that’s not to mention the more than 25 chefs cooking at various stations around the Giants of the Savanna, hand-feeding the giraffes, and Party Machine providing music late into the night. As for the attire, stow the ties and ball gowns. This one is strictly a walk-about in khaki slacks, cheetah prints, and safari hats.

Giraffe

According to Barbara, they’re already working on the live auction items that seem to get better and more intriguing each year. Just this past year, Barbara was the 2016 Zoo To Do Live Auction Chair and that one still has folks clucking about the amazing zoo-oriented experiences that went for sky-high bids. 

While individual tickets start at $750, the VIP Ticket Package of $3,000 is a top-dog offering with all types of goodies. To find out the details, call 469.554.7445.

Stay tuned for developments as they take place.

EarthxGlobal Gala Patrons At Scott Ginsburg’s Mansion Included A Hairy Guest With Two Toes And Big, Brown Eyes

The evening of Saturday, March 25, could not have been more perfect for an outdoor gathering of earthlings. Perhaps it was due to insider arrangements by EarthxGlobal Gala Chair Emeritus Trammell S. Crow and Mother Nature.  

Didn’t matter who was responsible, Gala Honorary Chair Scott Ginsburg’s Highland Park estate was simply splendiferous, with a DJ on the elevated outdoor terrace overlooking the pool.

Susan and Steve O’Brien and Mary Kathryn Bass

Caroline Branch and Karl Chiao

Sloth and handler

While there was no lack of gorgeous-looking people like Susan and Steve O’Brien, Mary Kathryn Bass, Karl Chiao, Caroline Branch, and Michael Cain to check out, the guest drawing the most attention was a two-toed sloth, much to the delight of guests. The handler reported that despite the length of the sloth’s claws, her hugging was no problem.

However, when one guest reached out to touch the sloth, it was obviously startled and clutched her date, who provided her with reassurance and a couple of sweet potato strips.

Andrew Ward and Amanda Ward

Matt Myers

Over to the side, mom Amanda Ward told how her son, 14-year-old Andrew Ward, had been smitten with Earth Day. It seems that last year Andrew volunteered for the mega-event and got hooked. That introduction led the Lakehill student to think about tackling the problem of air pollution in China. Andrew decided to start off by aiming to reduce the air pollution emitted by Chinese factories. In discussing his plans with fellow Lakehill grad/Earth Day 2017 Event Director Matt Myers, Andrew discovered that Matt, who’d attended school at China’s “MIT” in Beijing, had also been aware of the pollution situation there and had thought about ways of solving the problem, too.

Trammell S. Crow

Arriving like a rock star, meantime, Trammell was ready to take on the world—literally—as he handed out small colorful “earth” marbles instead of calling cards. He was also very excited not only about the EarthxGlobal Gala, but about the upcoming Earth Day Texas event itself. Trammell said it would be including a number of prestigious universities, several national labs, 50 different NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and even a fracking conference. The organizers hope to best last year’s attendance of 130,000 by as many as 5,000—provided the weather holds up.

According to Laura Reeder, the EarthxGlobal Gala was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 22. But when they realized that both the Art Ball and Cotes du Coeur were scheduled that night, they simply moved the EarthxGlobal Gala to Fair Park’s Discovery Gardens on Friday, April 21. It will be just one part of the activities planned for Earth Day Texas from Friday, April 21 thru Sunday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Watch For Hobbits Thursday, Friday And Saturday While Touring The Whimsical Shire Of Preston Hollow For Equest

Now that this wet stuff seems to be calming down, the upcoming days seems bright and shiny. Evidently, the Equest organizers arranged something with Mother Nature to have perfect weather for folks to explore the Tolkien-inspired Shire in Preston Hollow.

The Shire of Preston Hollow*

While other estates in the neighborhood are manicured like a socialite’s nails, this acreage is a wonderland with its 9,000-square-foot main house, an attached conservatory and a detached guest house known as the Hobbit House. Why, Frodo Baggins would feel right at home there! And rightly so. After all, it took seven years to create. Why, one would actually expect Legolas to flutter by or to be greeted by Gimli at the drawbridge before crossing to the portcullis.

Inside there will be “couture fashions and accessories from Lily of the West and Hari Jewels, with designer guests appearances, and additional luxury items from Origins of Santa Fe Boutique” plus refreshments and music. And while Shadowfax, Arod and Bill the Pony won’t be on hand, their good buddies, the Equest mini-ambassadors, just might be hoofing around for a photo or two.

Like Brigadoon, this magical property at 4668 Meadowood Road will be available for touring this Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to benefit Equest. Alas, it’s only available for checking out by big kids (21 years and older). Organizers are requesting a minimum donation of $20 for the equine therapeutic program. Register right here.

* Photo provided by Equest

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!