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Paws Out, a Barking Ball for the Pupperazzi

Posted on Jun 10,2009
Filed Under Pets , Community,

Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks <br /> <br />Washington Humane Society President and CEO Lisa LaFontaine, Director of Marketing and Communications Tara de Nicolas and Mix107.3 FM's Tommy McFly (with rescue dog Chip), at the Bark Ball Saturday at the Capitol Hilton.
Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks
Washington Humane Society President and CEO Lisa
LaFontaine, Director of Marketing and Communications
Tara de Nicolas and Mix107.3 FM's Tommy McFly
(with rescue dog Chip), at the Bark Ball Saturday at
the Capitol Hilton.

The "Pupperazzi" was out in full force Saturday night, enjoying the area's premier Black Tie event in honor of those with four paws on the floor.
About 900 dog-lovers showed up in their tuxes at the Capitol Hilton for The Bark Ball, the highly-woofed-about annual benefit for the Washington Humane Society. The event raised about $250,000.
 “The Humane Society expects to care for over 12,000 animals in our shelter this year and respond to an additional 14,000 calls from community members experiencing some kind of distress," said Humane Society President and CEO Lisa LaFontaine. "This is one of the ways we pay for it all."
The evening began with a silent auction, open bar and Bark Bar for the diva doggies. Silent auction items ranged from art work to pet pampering to out of town getaways, with or without your pet.
A Bark Bar of canine treats was provided this year by Del Ray's Barkley Square Bakery and Boutique. The four-legged guests dined on treats like peanut butter buns, garlic knots and royal snaps. By the end of the evening, nary a crumb was left.
“It's an honor to be involved with such a great event that brings attention to animal awareness, especially this year which is the inaugural DC week for the animals," said Barkley Square owner Kristina Robertson of Alexandria.

Guests made their way downstairs for the dinner, presentations and live auction. A member of the Hilton event staff said “this is the first time we have had this event here and we are having so much fun with all of the dogs.”

Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks <br /> <br />Sharing a loving moment at the Bark Ball.
Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks
Sharing a loving moment at the Bark Ball.

The tables were set with the first course, a delicious chilled mango, ginger and yogurt soup that was reminiscent of summers spent on the beach. The soup was accompanied by a salad of bib lettuce with marinated mushrooms, local pear tomatoes and drizzled with a meyer lemon vinaigrette.
For the pups, each place contained a peanut butter paw print cookie with yogurt frosting wrapped in a Barkley Square cellophane bag that was trimmed with a paw print ribbon.
The remainder of the dining experience included a lentil chili with artichokes and fennel as the main course and a trio of desserts. The dessert plate was presented with flare and included a dark chocolate dipped strawberry, warm cherry cobbler and vanilla soy bean panna cotta.
Allison Seymour, Fox 5's morning anchor,  served as master of ceremonies with her dog Brownie, a shelter dog. Seymour introduced LaFontaine and Gala Chair Anissa Grossman.
Guests watched a special video message from event chair George Stephanopoulos, his wife Ali Wentworth and their two dogs.  Due to a sudden change in schedule, Stephanopoulos could not emcee the event. This was followed by a video which included photos of volunteers and law enforcement officers, going about their daily work, which included outreach after Hurricane Katrina and successful adoption stories. “No animal is turned away and no call is unanswered,” the video announced.

LaFotaine said  that “in the last six weeks no animal has been euthanized in the District of Columbia.” In order for the Humane Society to maintain this trend, she said they have to receive community support and donations.
Derek Hopkins served as the evening’s auctioneer.  The live auction began with an original painting for the Washington Humane Society by Karen Derrico of Painting 4 Paws. Karen created the Bark Ball invitation and said she was “thrilled to participate and raise money for such a great cause and she would be happy to do more in the future to help animals.” Her painting fetched $2,100 to help the animals.

Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks <br /> <br />When Pooch meets High Society, it's high time to run for cover.
Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks
When Pooch meets High Society,
it's high time to run for cover.

Another popular item was a "Beverly Hills Experience" which included including First Class airfare for two and a stay at the ultra-luxe Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which went for $3,500.
A "DC at its Finest" package of  hotel accommodations, dining and a fitness received $1,600. Perhaps the most sought-after item of the evening was a meal prepared in the winning bidder’s home for 12 people prepared by Todd Gray of Equinox, which brought in $4,200. The live auction wrapped up with a United States Capitol Dome Tour for seven. It fetched a winning bid of $1,000.

The K9 rock star, Scooby, was in attendance, wearing a formal tuxedo and top hat. He was a "pupperazzi" favorite as he sat and posed for the camera.  
“Scooby loves to sit for the camera; he is even booked to make an appearance at the upcoming Dog Zone at the Alexandria Red Cross Waterfront Festival,”  his owner said.
Also in attendance was Cocoa the Chihuahua, who was recently featured in the Virginia Tourism ads seen at area Metro stations. Cocoa was wearing a couture green tuxedo made by Barkley Square.
Several diva dogs wore everything from pearls to pick tutus. By the end of the night, with full tummys and sleepy eyes, they were where whisked home to dream about their magical night.

Contact the writer at

To see a Slide Show of the Bark Ball, Click Here:

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