The 2022 Fur Ball at the Hyatt Regency Dallas was an animal lovers delight on Saturday, October 1. As if the remarkable tales of rescued animals whose lives had been turned round wasn’t enough, there was still more. To the delight of guests like Clay Jenkins with his mom JoAnn Jenkins and his daughter Madeleine Jenkins, Ali Turiano and Ismail Santiago, Phyllis Comu, Chad West, Jeremy Raines, Cathy and Paul Brown, Christie and Elbert Choi, Lori Eads, Bridget Sommerlatte, Dana Rhoden, Michael Gonzales, Whitney Eichinger, Guy Heartfield, Jonathan Kelly and Kim Morris, a Hollywood touch of glamour was on the scene. Longtime animal advocate/actress Loretta“Hot Lips Houlihan” Swit not only flew in for the SPCA of Texas fundraiser, but she got in the swing of things by rallying bids up with auctioneer Grant Snyder. Here’s report from the field:
Benevolent, bubbly and bejeweled supporters of the SPCA of Texas’ Fur Ball gala gathered on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas where over 500 guests enjoying the black-tie event. As guests rolled up to not one but two valet stations, sponsored by Sewell Automotive, they were greeted by Daisy the rescue dog, who was the star of the show, featured in an inspiring video later in the evening that inspired many a paddle to raise.
During cocktail hour, playful puppies frolicked in the foyer, cheekily stealing every heart with kisses and tail wags. Plus, a 360-degree photo booth from Premiere Booth thrilled guests who pirouetted and posed as their videos were captured in the round.
A wall of purple greeted guests, along with larger-than-life marquee letters that glowed in the iconic “SPCA” purple thanks to Shout It Dallas. Not to be outdone, more photo ops awaited guests inside the ballroom in the form of a stunning perch wall that was limned in gold and boasted the names of chairs, committee and sponsors along with photos of a precious pup and sassy kitty. More than one person playfully posed in the golden window. Guests browsed the bountiful silent auction, also placed inside the ballroom as they sipped their delicious drinks—featuring Mijenta Tequila, FIOL Prosecco and Tito’s Handmade Vodka—and noshed on tasty, passed treats. Faux boxwood dogs and cats, bedecked in purple florals thanks to Dr Delphinium Designs, anxiously awaited guests to take them home in return for a donation to their real-life counterparts at the animal shelter. Tables, both square and round (including two massive king’s tables) glowed purple or any of a rainbow of colors, as the night progressed.
NBC 5 news anchor/emcee Brian Curtis kicked off the festivities by introducing Sampha, a rescue dog who came to the SPCA of Texas deathly ill with Parvo, and thanks to the SPCA of Texas’ veterinary team, he healed and is thriving, simply in need of a forever family. Brian then thanked the guests for making a difference in the lives of thousands of animals in the SPCA of Texas’ care each year.
Co-Chairs Dhruva and Hiren Patel were next up joined by Pumpkin the charming, and adoptable, puppy. The happy couple then enjoined the crowd to give generously to provide life-saving care for animals in need and thanked the Fur Ball working group, including Live Auction Chair Cindy Lindsley, Table Host Chair Rebecca Marabito and the Host and Auction Committees. They thanked the event’s generous sponsors like for their commitment to the SPCA of Texas’ mission, and everyone in the room for their generosity.
“Your support tonight turns dollars into life-saving surgeries for rescued animals, special behavioral support for the fearful and neglected and an extra bag of food that can help a loving owner keep their pet,” said Dhruva Patel. “Without each of you here tonight, thousands of animals each year wouldn’t experience healing, hope and love,” added Hiren Patel.
SPCA of Texas Development VP Amanda Rainey joined on the stage by Arwen, a dog who was rescued from a large rescue seizure and is now ready for a home to call her own, next extolled the SPCA of Texas’ mission to rescue animals from abuse, heal animals in need and keep pets with their families.
Jubilant and joyful guests then sat down to a delicious diner duo and divine desserts. Soon after, it was time for the live auction, and the room hummed with excited shouts and paddles raised high thanks to the efforts of auctioneer Grant Snyder.
The live auction heated up as guests bid often and bid high on the evening’s five fabulous live auction items plus a surprise sixth. Live auction items included such gems as a seven-night stay at the Casa Villa Blanca in San Miguel de Allende and a priceless package focused on the animals and for the animals, featuring a behind-the-scenes tour of the SPCA of Texas with President Karen Froehlich and an exciting ride along with SPCA of Texas Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit.
A surprise item was a 5-day trip to the famed Planet Hollywood Beach Resort in Cancun, Mexico, for not only a beautiful beach vacay, but, more importantly, in time for “The Sands 80’s Week,” including access to concerts and events featuring Boy George and Culture Club, Belinda Carlisle, Sheena Easton, Lou Gramm, The Cult, Vanilla Ice and many more.
Grant then introduced the heartbreaking yet heartwarming video of divine Daisy, who was rescued from abuse and suffered from multiple horrific health conditions like severe heartworm infestation, and yet has transformed into a loving little lady with the wiggliest, most adorable nub of a tail that ever charmed a pet-lover’s heart. Daisy triumphantly emerged onto the stage just as the video wrapped up, and the crowd jumped to their feet with wild applause. It was the perfect kick-off to the paddle raise, Pony Up for Paws.
The paddle raise kicked off with a fabulous surprise $50K challenge match thanks to the Roberta Wright Reeves Trust and donors were gifted with glittering sparkle rings as a small token of thanks.
But the surprises weren’t done! Joining Grant and Daisy onstage was none other than Loretta Swit, “Hot Lips” Houlihan from iconic TV show M*A*S*H. The trio raised the volume another several dozen decibels with their excited exhortations for donations, all for the benefit of the animals in the SPCA of Texas’ care.
Board Chair Steve Atkinson and his table even donated an extra $1,000 for the pleasure of taking a photo with Loretta Swit, which inspired many others to jump on the bandwagon, albeit at different levels.
Joined on the stage by Coco Bear the rescue dog, Steve thanked the SPCA of Texas Board of Directors as well as Staff and Volunteers for their tireless support, work and dedication to the animals and the organization’s mission. Finally, Brian returned to the stage to thank guests and finish up the usual housekeeping items.
Fur Ball guests then poured onto the dance floor with headline entertainment by The Roof Raisers, and guests danced the night away.
Those two valet two areas? The SPCA of Texas is thrilled to report that the Hyatt’s valet ran the smoothest in the event’s history!
Fabulous and fun co-producers Hamilton Sneed of HAS Events and Steve Kemble amped the party up to the sky with vision and artistry, creating the perfect evening for guests to enjoy.
The SPCA of Texas sincerely thanks sponsors:
- Joy Sponsor: Sewell Automotive,
- Caring Sponsors: VCA Animal Hospitals, Kathy L. Smith, Marsha Pendleton-Gray and Dr. Richard Gray, Café Pacific, BC Homes LLC and Tito’s Handmade Vodka;
- Companion Sponsors: Steve Atkinson and Ted Kincaid, Brandt Financial Services, LLC, CB Choi Family Foundation, Central Market, CityVet, CTL Print and Design, Jared and Haley Guerin, Geoff J. Henley, Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc, Holland and Knight, IDEXX Laboratories, Merck Animal Health, Mijenta Tequila / FIOL, Dhruva and Hiren Patel, Mary and Arnold Spencer, RKD, Victory Ave Equipment Financing Inc.;
- Best Friend Sponsors: Sunny and John Ackerman, Donna Bajaj, Sharon Bromberg, Jennifer Mason and Andrew Maten and Jeff and Emily Brooker, Citizens National Bank of Texas, CityVet and Dr. Rachel Neese, Robert “Dumbo” Dombrowski, FORVIS, Karen Froehlich, Anna Galvan, Dr. Robert and Rena Haynsworth, Blair and Guy Heartfield, Higginbotham, Big Jean The Gambling Machine, Rebecca Marabito, MarshMcLennan Agency, Mijenta/FIOL, Realtex Ventures, LP, Courtney and Brandon Roane, Amanda Strauss, Rebecca and Dan Tatsch, Braden Wayne and Savannah McCutchin and Terrific Ten; and
- Media Sponsors: “Modern Luxury Dallas” and MySweetCharity. The evening’s production was provided by Nomad Productions.
Fur Ball is DFW’s salute to the bond between people and their pets and a celebration of the SPCA of Texas’ important mission to provide every animal exceptional care and a loving home. All money raised through Fur Ball 2022 will go directly to the SPCA of Texas to help rescue, heal and find homes for thousands of animals.
* Photo credit: Thomas Garza ** Photo credit: David Wilfong, SPCA of Texas