Jessica Benavides
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Photo Credit: Thomas Garza Photography Brian Curtis, Arlene Kirkland, John Payne, Lana Payne, Jacob Payne, Katherine Payne, Karen Froehlich

The 21st night of September was certainly one to remember for SPCA of Texas supporters and animal lovers. The Hyatt Regency Dallas’ foyer filled quickly, as hundreds of dapper gents dressed up to the nines and hundreds of lovely ladies wearing their most dazzling dresses and adorned in their finest jewels arrived for the SPCA of Texas’ annual Fur Ball gala.

Greeted by the SPCA of Texas’ signature purple on every possible surface, guests glided through the lobby, glittering as they went, chatting brightly to one another and wishing congratulations to this year’s chairs, John and Lana Payne, and co-chairs, Jacob and Katherine Payne (who also happen to be their children) on a job well done. Sipping on wine and nibbling on passed bites, the joyous group hugged old friends, made new ones and caught up from their summer adventures as a jazz trio, members of Party Machine, set the relaxed yet festive mood for the evening.

In one particularly busy spot, a passel of puppies and a crate of kittens lapped up the love from delighted guests. People maneuvered their way through the throng, perusing the spectacular silent auction items put together by the 2019 Auction Chairs, Sandra Fite and Julia Howard, and Auction Co-Chair Amber Camper.

When doors opened for dinner service and the evening’s program, guests paused to admire a gorgeous ice sculpture in the shape of a dog, thanks to Tito’s the Vodka for Dog People, as they were greeted by even more purple and were beckoned into the ballroom by a sea of flowers, thanks to Simply Elegant owned by Heather Rubin-Evetts, set on gorgeously appointed tables. They floated toward their seats to enjoy their salads of baby romaine and pecan smoked mozzarella with plum tomato dressing.

Emcee Brian Curtis, NBC 5 News Anchor, kicked off the evening’s ceremony, sharing his emotional story that led him to finding his own SPCA of Texas rescue dog, Ocho. Newly named President/CEO Karen Froehlich was next to offer her thanks, praising the hard-working chairs and committees for a wonderful event, thanking the board of directors for their unwavering support, thanking the staff and volunteers for providing every animal exceptional care and a loving home, and highlighting the organization’s accomplishments over the past year.

After a delightful dinner of grilled sirloin, pan-roasted chicken, shiraz demi, yukon potato puree and dessert of chocolate covered carrot cake, the evening continued with the SPCA of Texas enlightening donors and sponsors about the amount of work that goes into rehabilitating the animals that come into their care. Animals like Hercules, who has a medical condition that requires meticulous treatment, and like Mazi, who was abandoned at a truck stop and who will need a wheelchair to walk. Both deserving dogs and their foster families received standing ovations from the crowd.

Another dynamic duo then took the stage, Brian Curtis and auctioneer Grant Snyder, who was flown in from L.A. The zippy pair’s infectious enthusiasm and playful banter prompted the crowd to open up their hearts and their pocket books to set a record fundraising amount for the annual Fur Ball gala auction. Plus, with a little help from Jacob Payne and a dozen other Jesuit College Preparatory senior students, the duo introduced the Russell E. Dealey Challenge. Dealey graciously challenged everyone at the black-tie event to give an extra $100 and he would match their gift two to one, up to $54,000. Altogether, the money would equal $81,000 in honor of the SPCA of Texas’ 81st year!

Fur Ball 2019 then brought the high-voltage fun with headline entertainment by Party Machine, and guests danced the night away.

Attendees included: Sunny Ackerman and Susie Lyne, Steve Atkinson and Ted Kincaid, Wally Brewster and Bob Satawake, Stephanie Carreon-Elliott, Mandy Strauss, Andrea Alcorn, Phyllis Comu, Ron and Anna Corcoran, Peter and Lynn Dauterman, Russell E. Dealey, Robert Dombrowski, Gwen and Leldon Echols, Sandra and Colin Fite, Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia, Regina Montoya, Marsha Pendleton-Gray and Dr. Richard Gray, Kristen and Scott Greenberg, Gus Hinojosa, Steven and Jennifer Kenny, Carolyn and David Kubes, Cindy and Don Lindsley, Jennifer Lindsley, Donna and Brian Loughmiller, Christine Martin, Sonja McGill, Mary and Matt Metz, Pamela, Lily and Sarah Moayedi, Carol and Ed Nelson, Beth Nunez, Betsy Orton and Sharon Fancher, Dhruva and Hiren Patel, Dr. Laura Rabe, Joan Rogers, Christina and Chase Sanders, Hillary and Mark Schwarz, Tammany Stern, Susie Swanson and Kevin Coffey, Mary and Skip Trimble, Karen Urie, Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury, and Anja Woodson.

Fur Ball 2019 was a financial success thanks to Chairs John and Lana Payne, Co-Chairs Jacob and Katherine Payne, Auction Chairs Sandra Fite and Julia Howard, Auction Co-chair Amber Camper and Underwriting Chair Arlene Kirkland. 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 2019 will go directly to the SPCA of Texas to help rescue, heal and find homes for thousands of animals.

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