Winter 2004

A personal reflection from Chris Dalton

Dogs on the “Red Carpet”? You better believe it!

On November 1, 2003 something very special happened in downtown Albuquerque. Hot jazz, cool people and lots of dogs. No More Homeless Pets, the Doubletree Hotel, and Three Dog Bakery threw the first annual “All Saints Ball” to benefit No More Homeless Pets’ spay and neuter programs.

To say the event was a hit would be to downplay it. Over 150 people, with dogs in tow, came to the Wool Warehouse for a $75 a plate black-tie dinner, dancing, and a lot of tail wagging. At 6:00 p.m. the first car pulled up to the front of this historic building. The valet parking attendants rushed to open car doors. They helped the guests and their dogs out of the vehicle and onto the Red Carpet. Under the marquee’s bright lights, humans and dogs strutted up the stairs to have their picture snapped for posterity by our photographer Kyle Gordon. The dog event of the season was underway.

Soon, a virtual flood of cars cruised down 1st Street and up to the valet parking signs. They mobbed the Red Carpet and the welcome desk just inside the front doors. Upstairs in the dining area there was a buzz of activity. Dogs greeted dogs. People greeted people. Dogs greeted people – you get the picture.

If you haven’t seen the Wool Warehouse in a while, you need to check it out. Picture Hollywood circa 1930’s. The band started their set and local jazz singer, Linda Cotton, sang old standards. The music set the mood and affirmed to all of us that this really was happening. Dogs at a formal dinner – ground breaking to say the least. You could tell by people’s expressions that the evening was much more than they had expected. Top drawer all the way!

Dogs and humans settled into their places. Mayor Martin Chavez, the Board of No More Homeless Pets, and the director of the Animal Services Division graced the head table while the wait staff patiently stepped over and around dogs to deliver a terrific meal. Everyone savored the dinner prepared by the Doubletree Hotel and quite a few people even shared it with their dogs. It’s always nice to see people out with their dogs. But to see people still laughing, even when their tuxedos and evening gowns are covered with dog hair and drool, proclaims a truly wonderful event.

As guests finished their meals and the dogs began to get restless, a whole troop of Girl Scouts appeared from the back room to aid with walking and water breaks for the dogs. These girls did an amazing job and had a great time, too. Professional and courteous, they added an element of good natured playfulness to the evening and the dogs loved the play break. With the girls caring for the canines, their humans were free to dance, but not even the dance floor was dogless. Imagine a Shiba Inu with a bow tie dancing with a ravishing blonde in a deep red satin evening gown. Like I said before – GROUND BREAKING!

By 10:30 p.m. the evening was winding down. Yet people seemed reluctant to leave. Could being in a glamorous environment with their beloved pet get them thinking more about the welfare of animals? I personally hope so. If nothing else, I think it proved to every person in attendance (ticket holders, wait staff, musicians and Girl Scouts) that dog events, in any setting, are possible and a lot of fun.

Bringing “animal people” together is always unpredictable and spontaneity abounds, which is what being a pet owner’s all about, isn’t it?

Now, the big question, will we do it again? Well, if you were paying attention at the beginning of the story, I did say “First Annual,” so the answer is a definite — YES!

If this sounds like something you would be interested in attending, mark your calendar for the same time next year or if this sounds like an event you would like to help with next year, contact No More Homeless Pets (505-410-6647) or Three Dog Bakery (505-294-2300).

Thanks again to all those who took part in this special event and keep doing all the good things that you do!

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