Russell “Rusty” Dealey’s home is an all-guy place with five male cats and boy bunnies. While all the critters are rescues, only one has three legs. His name on the books is Tripod, but in the household he’s known as Muffin. The eight-year-old cat came into Rusty’s life when SPCA supporter Mary Spencer invited Rusty to meet him. It was a connection for life.
And while he had to leave his flock at home, Rusty was showing his support for the SPCA of Texas at its 80th anniversary Fur Ball on Saturday, September 22, at the Hyatt Regency. The event celebrating the oldest animal welfare organization in North Texas brought in net proceeds estimated at $525,000.
Chaired by the mother/daughter team of Cindy Lindsley and Jennifer Lindsley, the gala drew a crowd of more than 1,000, including KXAS anchor Brian Curtis, SPCA President/CEO James Bias with his children (Erica and Jose) and Jennifer Murphy, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Christie Carter, Pam Busbee, Beverly Dealey, Pamela Graham, Mary and Arnold Spencer, Shane Walker, Billy Fulmer, Steve Kemble, Chad Collom, Cathy Vieth, Katie and Lawrence Bock, Mary Jalonick, Diane and Hal Brierley, Phyllis and CJ Comu, and Mary and Skip Trimble.
Kristen Greenberg owed Phyllis Comu for her standout green and blue Theia gown with the “pooch” on the front. Seems that when Neiman’s was having its big sale last year, Phyllis spied the dress, but it just didn’t fit her curves. So she called Kristen and told her to hustle over and get it.
And while Kristen’s gown may have been the showstopper of the black-tie affair, Leo took the honors for the gents. Originally a rescue, the lemon Beagle found his life companion Julie Eenigenburg and a job as the Hyatt’s pooch ambassador. Another “canine” attracting attention was the floral statue of a white dog, complete with a purple top hat, that greeted guests as they entered the hotel. It was the work of Shane and his Flower Reign company, which also provided all the centerpieces on each table in the ballroom.
The purple theme—purple is the SPCA’s signature color—extended even outside, as Bank of America Plaza, Reunion Tower, and the Omni Dallas Hotel all were lit up in purple in honor of the SPCA of Texas.
Also demonstrating the Hyatt’s “animal-friendly” decor and attitude, the hotel handed over a check for the $1,138.83 in change that had been tossed into its lobby fountain during the year.
After shopping the silent auction and checking the adoptables, guests entered the ballroom, all decked out in purple, pink and yellow, for dinner—filet mignon with an herb cheese mousse, plus lime-broiled gulf shrimp—and an entertaining program. It included a live, eight-item auction conducted by Louis Murad, plus a special message of the night. It seems that animal-loving Stacey and Don Kivowitz had given $200,000 to the SPCA of Texas for a 33-foot-long mobile spay/neuter vehicle. Needless to say, there were howls of delight upon hearing the big news. Later, guests danced the night away to entertainment headliners Party Machine.
Katherine Payne and her folks Lana and John Payne have already signed on as event chairs for the 2019 Fur Ball. Stay tuned for the honorary co-chairs. It’s gonna be a tough follow-up act after 2018’s Honorary Co-Chairs Laura and George W. Bush.
* Photo credit: Joseph Haubert