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Dogs in tiaras, tuxes at Washington Humane Society's 2014 'Sugar and Champagne'

About 400 canines and their human Valentines gussied up for the "Sugar & Champagne" reception Feb. 5. Some 950 attendees raised $100,000 for the Washington Humane Society.
About 400 canines and their human Valentines gussied up for the "Sugar & Champagne" reception Feb. 5. Some 950 attendees raised $100,000 for the Washington Humane Society.
Jason Allen Photography, Courtesy of Washington Humane Society

About 400 canines and their human Valentines enjoyed treats from top restaurants at the effervescent "Sugar & Champagne" reception Feb. 5, that raised almost $100,000 for the Washington Humane Society and honored local crusaders against animal cruelty.

Goldendoodles Harley and Leo with Washington Humane Society board member Kenton Keith at WHS' Sugar and Champagne fundraiser Feb. 5.
Courtesy of

The 950 people paled in comparison with the duded up dogs:

  • A silver lamé hoodie worn by a Pomeranian named Moosey.
  • An English bulldog in a wee Washington Capitals hockey shirt emblazoned with "Ovie", obviously named for star Alex Ovechkin.
  • A red brocade kimono on Yorkie Snickers.
  • A tiara atop a tea cup Yorkie, Sophie. It went splendidly with her pink ruffled Valentine's gown.
  • A hounds tooth patterned skirt, not on a hound but a Shih Tzu, Jasmine who topped it off with a blue "fascinator". No allusion to "Blue Jasmine", her owner assured me.
  • A Gucci-esque collar and leash, but the interlocking GG logo stood for Great Gatsby, the name of the great big 120-pound lab sporting them.
  • "Chilly", a white standard poodle with pastel pompadour, ears, and tail, is a star of Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery & Dental Care,, whose "mission is to see that no animal is euthanized due to prohibitive high cost."
  • Too too many tutus and tuxes to count.

"All the dogs look fabulous -- phenomenal," critiqued Mallory Hancock, who designs "luxury canine couture" including the silver lamé hoodie.

Hancock will debut her Regal & Pooch spring fashion line at the next Washington Humane Society (WHS) benefit, the equally popular Fashion for Paws® Runway Show April 12 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

The variety of dogs at the Sugar & Champagne fundraiser Feb. 5 was as varied and exotic as the delicacies served -- for pooches as well as people -- by about 80 top restaurants' chefs. All donated their talents and food.

Mutts, er, mixed breeds ruled. They included many Washington Humane Society "alumni", like Russet, who wore her multi-pastel pom-pom "party collar". Another rescue, Sabra, was from Israel, after a Hezbollah terrorist attack in 2006.

Among the intentional mixed breeds were Goldendoodles, golden retriever-poodle mix, and a Schnoodle, a schnauzer-poodle mix. The two Goldendoodles, Harley and Leo, were actually white, wore red ties, and BYOB, brought their own soccer ball in Harley's mouth. The Schnoodle had neither a German nor a French name. "It's Fredo, because we're Italian," his male companion told me.

The exotic pure breeds spanned the globe from Havanese to Pekinese, and Coton de Tulear of Madagascar.

Samples of the delectables -- some vegan, some vegetarian, gluten-free, grain-free -- included:

  • Hot and sour soup with duck wonton from Wolfgang Puck's The Source.
  • Alaskan king crab and blue fin tuna sushi from Fujimar.
  • Dog biscuits made to taste like the "signature burger" of the Shake Shack.
  • Bacon candy for dogs as well as humans. After one man downed it, he exclaimed, "Holy cow." His dog, wagging his tail while ruminating the tidbit, appeared to be agreeing.
  • "Puppy Bubbly" was actually a dog treat in champagne flutes, by Olde Towne Pet Resort, with two locations in Virginia.

Champagne and liquor for humans abounded, also donated. After the event, I toasted WHS with Thibaut - Janisson of Charlottesville, Virginia. It's the best I've tasted from anywhere outside of France.

The event was hosted by celebrated chef Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray of Equinox Restaurant, Muse Cafe at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Vir.

The Gray's cookbook, "The New Jewish Table", won the prestigious 2014 international Gourmand Award.

All proceeds from the event at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center directly benefited the Washington Humane Society (WHS) animals and programs. It cares for some 30,000 animals each year and provides programs including sheltering, adoption, humane law enforcement and education.

Lisa LaFontaine, WHS president and CEO of Washington Humane Society, told the enormous crowd, "We've seen animals in the worst shape, put them back together, and found homes for them. It makes us happy and proud, and gives us strength."

WHS is America's only Congressionally chartered animal welfare agency, and was established in 1870.

For more info and tickets: Washington Humane Society,, 4590 MacArthur Blvd., NW, Suite 200, Washington, D.C. WHS' Fashion for Paws® Runway Show, April 12, Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

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