Jessica Benavides
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Credit: Thomas Garza Photography (L-R) Pamela Graham, Arnold Spencer, Mary Spencer, Russell E. Dealey, Cindy Lindsley

It was a $1 million night for the SPCA of Texas at the annual Fur Ball gala, celebrating their 80th anniversary. Benevolent, bejeweled and bubbly supporters of the SPCA of Texas helped the organization celebrate the milestone at the gala on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. The date of the event is significant, as it is the exact date the organization received its Texas State Charter on September 22, 1938.

Bathed in purple from the lights of the Bank of America Plaza, Reunion Tower and the Omni Dallas Hotel, the Dallas skyline shined brightly against the lingering clouds from the day’s thunderstorms and beckoned people toward downtown, where over a thousand guests joined Event Chair Cindy Lindsley, Co-Chair Jennifer Lindsley, Auction Chair Julia Howard and Auction Co-Chair Sandra Fite in enjoying the black-tie event.

A fabulous, floral statue in the shape of a white dog, complete with a purple top hat, and made of daises greeted guests as they entered the hotel. Everyone paused to get a glimpse of the exquisite and unique creation, provided by Flower Reign by Shane Walker, who also provided all of the dazzling centerpieces on each table in the ballroom. The buzzing crowd filled the Hyatt Regency foyer for cocktail hour. Guests clamored to get a first glance at the array of items up for auction, greeting each other over sips and nibbles. Meanwhile, in one particularly busy spot, a passel of puppies lapped up the love from delighted guests. People maneuvered their way through the throng, as two members of Party Machine set the mood for the evening, their electric guitar and saxophone creating a jazzy ambiance.

The Hyatt Regency Dallas got in on the festivities and presented the SPCA of Texas with a special treat, a check for $1,138.83 dollars from all change tossed into the hotel fountain in support of the animals. The Hyatt Regency’s mascot and former rescue dog, Leo, made a special appearance, looking dapper and donning a suit and purple bow-tie for the occasion.

When doors opened, guests were greeted by even more purple, with the SPCA of Texas’ 80th anniversary logo beckoning the crowd into the room. They floated toward their seats to enjoy their salads of pesto roasted salmon fillet, fennel parsnip mousse and mango salsa. While sipping on wine, champagne and liquor provided by Barefoot Wine and Tito’s Vodka.

Emcee Brian Curtis, NBC 5 News Anchor, kicked things off, sharing his own personal story about his most recent rescue dog, Ocho, who he adopted from the SPCA of Texas. He thanked everyone in the room for donating to the organization, saying Ocho’s adoption wouldn’t have been possible without them.

SPCA of Texas President and CEO, James Bias, was next up. He talked about the important work the organization has done in the past 80 years. He also thanked the event chairs and auction chairs for their hard work on the beautiful evening. Event Co-Chair Jennifer Lindsley was next to share her thanks, acknowledging 80th Anniversary sponsors, Dr. Larry and Mrs. Joan Rogers, and Presidential Sponsors, Russell E. Dealey and Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones. Chair Cindy Lindsley then had the honor of introducing a special message from the Honorary Chairs, President and Mrs. George W. Bush.

“Congratulations to the SPCA of Texas on their 80th anniversary. We’re happy to serve as Honorary Chairs of this year’s Fur Ball. And we’re proud to support the work of the SPCA, as they rescue, rehabilitate and rehome pets in our community, like our beloved dog, Freddy,” said the former president and first lady, as they thanked the SPCA of Texas for providing Freddy to them.

Guests then had a chance to enjoy their dinner of cast iron roasted filet mignon with an herb cheese mousse, plus a side of onion crusted, tequila lime broiled gulf shrimp, Yukon potato marquise and lemon zest French beans. The delicious dessert was a fruit n’ Berry tart, chocolate hazelnut mousse cake and a lemon cheese cake garnished with dried raspberry dust and a dark chocolate disk bearing the number 80 in honor of the organization.

The evening’s ceremony continued with the SPCA of Texas highlighting the work that goes into rehabilitating the animals that come into their care. Animals like KD, who was abandoned on the side of the road. KD’s new parents were brought on stage along with several staff members, as the room honored the hard work and dedication of all of those who help the animals every day. Curtis implored the young people in the crowd to step up and to follow in their parents footsteps of supporting the organization and saving animals, before turning things over to the auctioneer for the night, Louis Murad of Murad Auctions.

The live auction heated up as guests bid often and bid high on the evening’s eight fabulously over-the-top live auction items.

At the culmination of the program, Debra Burns, Sr. Vice President for Development announced a special $200,000 gift from long- time supporters and board member Stacey and Don Kivowitz. The gift will support the continued delivery of affordable and accessible community medicine and wellness care through The Kivo 2.0 mobile unit, a 33-foot veterinary clinic on wheels that will help animals in areas of desperate need. Stacey Kivowitz explained her and Don’s passion for animals and for Dallas as well as the pride they have for the work of the SPCA of Texas compelled them to make this commitment.

Fur Ball 2018 then brought the high-voltage fun with headline entertainment by Party Machine, and guests danced the night away.

Attendees included: Dr. and Mrs. Larry and Joan Rogers, John Ackerman, Lydia and Peter Addy, Steve Atkinson and Ted Kincaid, Jim Bass, Katie and Lawrence Bock, Joy Brawner, Diane and Hal Brierley, Paul and Cathy Brown, Tim Brown, Pamela Busbee, Roberto Cañas, Linda and Ozzie Chapa, Christie Choi, CJ and Phyllis Comu, Russell E. Dealey, Beverly Dealey, Giana DePaul, Bill Driscoll, Gwen Echols, Pooya and Patra Fazel, Chris and Lisa Fox, Mike Glazer, Dr. Richard Gray and Marsha Pendleton-Gray, Dean Gresham, Maureen, Joe and Heidi Hafertepe, Caleb Hernandez, Gus Hinojosa, Sally Jalonick Hudnall, Mary Jalonick, Felicia Kerney, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, David and Carolyn Kubes, Brent Lemmon, Brian Loughmiller, John Mayfield, Janet and Dr. Rocky Mckelvey, Catherine and Mike Merritt, Carol and Ed Nelson, Lana and John Payne, Katherine Payne, Meredith Perot, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Christina and Chase Sanders, Hillary Hurst Schwarz and Mark Schwarz, Jim Snodgrass, Carolyn Speed, Mary Spencer, Mary and Arnold Spencer, Judith and Danny Tobey, Mary and Skip Trimble, Patricia Villareal and & Tom Leatherbury and Dr. Jeff and Anja Woodson.

The SPCA of Texas sincerely thanks special partners, 80th Anniversary Sponsors: Dr. Larry and Mrs. Joan Rogers; Presidential Sponsors: Russell E. Dealey, and Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones; Diamond Sponsors: Carolyn Speed and Sewell Automotive; Sapphire Sponsors: The Addy Family, H/3 Foundation, Marsha Pendleton-Gray and Dr. Richard Gray, Dr. Judy and Dr. Randy Kirby, Hillary Hurst and Mark Schwarz, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury; Ruby Sponsors: Sandra and Colin Fite and One Life Radio; Emerald Sponsors: Steve Atkinson and Ted Kincaid, Diane and Hal Brierley, Eric Broughton, The Catherine Corrigan Foundation, Linda and Ozzie Chapa, Guaranty Bank & Trust, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Julia Howard, Sally Ann Jalonick Hudnall and Jim Snodgrass, Kibble Pet and KP Groom, Katherine Lawrence, Katy Murray, Thompson & Knight Foundation, and Mary and Skip Trimble; Table Sponsors: John Ackerman, Andrea Alcorn, Alliance Insurance, Aaron Augustine, James Bias, Joy Brawner, Debra and Kirsten Burns, The Honorable Roberto Cañas, CB Choi Family Foundation, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Conceptual Interiors, Carol Lee and Frank Davis II, Nicole Desproges, Don Amsler Company, Douglas B. Dorey, Donna Gannon, Bob Goldberg, Whitney Keltch Green and Paul Green, Maureen and Joe Hafertepe and Lana Payne, William Hathorn, Robert Haynsworth, Judie Heitzman, Phillip Hixon and Pamela Graham, Debi and Rick Hodges, Holland Asset Partners, Hollywood Feed, Stephanie Howard and Anja Woodson, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Law Offices of Claire Collins Schwarz, Brent D. Lemon, Merck Animal Health, Nancy and Ty Merelli, Ruth Mutch, Carol and Ed Nelson, Martina Nemer and Steve Scruggs, Orangetheory Fitness, Origin Bank, The Perot Family, RKD Group, Christina Sanders, Mary and Arnold Spencer, Steckler, Gresham, Cochran PLLC, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Straton, Jr., Tejas Ranch & Game Fence, Vinson & Elkins, Shannon L.K. Welch, Kirt Woolsey, and Randy Zoetewey; Hospitality Sponsors: Barefoot Wine and E. & J. Gallo Winery; Media Sponsors: CTL Marketing Print and Design Studio and Dallas Modern Luxury Magazine; and Floral Sponsor: Flower Reign by Shane Walker.

Fur Ball 2018 was a tail-wagging success thanks to Honorary Chairs President and Mrs. George W. Bush, Chair Cindy Lindsley, Co-chair Jennifer Lindsley, Auction Chair Julia Howard, Auction Co-chair Sandra Fite, and event emcee Brian Curtis. The evening’s production was provided by Nomad Productions. Photographers for the evening were Thomas Garza and Monika Normand.

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 2018, celebrating the organizations 80th anniversary, will go directly to the SPCA of Texas to help rescue, heal and find homes for thousands of animals. Next year, Lana and John Payne will serve as Event Chairs for Fur Ball 2019, and their daughter Katherina Payne will serve as Event Co-Chair. Sandra Fite and Julia Howard will serve as Auction Chairs, and Amber Camper will be the Auction Co-Chair.

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