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Washington Humane Society's 'Sugar and Champagne' celebrated canine valentines

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The Washington Humane Society's "Sugar & Champagne" annual reception, with more than 80 top restaurants' chefs participating, returns Feb. 5 to honor local crusaders against animal cruelty.

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BYOD -- bring your own dog, if you wish. Formal dress for them (and you) are optional, but non-retractable leashes are not.

Canine valentine costumes were most popular and timely last year. One dog's off-the-shoulder valentine-red gown with tulle skirt matched her human companion's red sequined sweater.

And BYO valid ID -- not optional. Everyone must be 21 or older, due to champagne and other fine sparkling wines.

All proceeds from the festive event at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center will directly benefit the Washington Humane Society's (WHS) animals and programs.

Tickets are $90 for the general reception from 7 to 9 P.M. And for $150, you also can enjoy a 2-hour (6-8 P.M.) exclusive tasting of savory delicacies by many of the area's finest chefs.

The event is 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.

Delectables will come from those fine establishments, and also from others such as Wolfgang Puck's The Source, José Andrés' Oyamel, SouperGirl's kosher soups, Le Diplomat, Trummer's on Main, and Zentan.

Several pastry chefs will make exquisite cakes to be paraded in a cakewalk and then auctioned off -- two cakes brought $600 each last year.

Canine-appropriate snacks last year included "Pup" tarts; bacon candy; lollipops; personalized scone bones and cupcakes...

Barkley Square will provide not only dog snacks, but also a (non-alcoholic, natch) Bark Bar.

"(A) dog will have his day," as Hamlet said.

And you will have a delightful evening, you lucky dog, benefiting less fortunate ones.

Washington Humane Society has just announced that its annual Fashion for Paws® Runway Show will be held on April 12 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Alas, no canines allowed except for the four-footed fashion models, and a few select dogs for adoption.

A dog will have his day, but not every day.

For more info and tickets: "Sugar & Champagne",, Feb. 5, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Pennsylvania Avenue at 13th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. Washington Humane Society (WHS),, 4590 MacArthur Blvd., NW, Suite 200, Washington, D.C. America's only Congressionally chartered animal welfare agency, the Washington Humane Society was established in 1870.