From the paw-print red carpet entrance to the complimentary valet parking, guests knew as soon as they arrived at last Saturday’s sold-out Doggies and Diamonds fundraiser for the Cayman Islands Humane Society that they were in for a treat.
Sponsored by Diamonds International, jewellery cases lined one wall while clothing racks and tables filled with donated designer bags lined the other. The Arts and Recreation Centre at Camana Bay was filled with tables and a ‘dogwalk’ while the room buzzed with anticipation of the evening’s events.
‘The lovely touches, like the paw print red carpet to the lovely table decorations and the setup for the clothing sale and silent auction made one feel like they were in a boutique in South Beach,’ Carolyn Parker, president of the Humane Society, added. ‘The room was transformed into a lovely setting and the food was delicious – thanks to Mise en Place.’
Providing music entertainment for the evening were guitarist Jonathan Ebanks and violinist Kate Allenger. John Foster emceed the event while Vicki Wheaton took over to compère the fashion show. Mise en Place had catered the event so that guests enjoyed a buffet dinner to dine on while watching the pups strut their stuff.
Guests were also able to mingle with the Humane Society dogs that would take to the runway, having completed a six-week beach training programme run by Kenneth Morgan. Escorted by the handlers who had trained them in recent months, the dogs sported sparkly bow ties and each had their own moment in the spotlight in the dog show.
Handsome, fuzzy-furred Prince, escorted by Lorene Stewart, was tired out from the excitement and decided he couldn’t move more than two steps before he lay down on the runway and refused to go any further, much to the amusement and adoration of the crowd.
Anna, handled by Alysha Stoangi, performed for the crowd, sitting and lying down on command before trotting off back to her starting place.
Scout, led by Mr. Morgan, was on the ball for his commands as well, and Phoebe and Shadow, handled by Jorry Remizowski and Trina Legge respectively, were also exceptionally behaved on the night, though all 10 dogs impressed guests with their sociable nature, despite the overwhelming number of people there to watch them perform.
‘The dogs performed beautifully during Project Ruff-Way,’ said dog show coordinator and Humane Society volunteer Trina Legge. ‘They all showed their true personalities – Prince proved to us that he is a low-key animal who doesn’t like the spotlight and just wants to be loved. Target displayed how much he loves to please his handler and showed a bit of his goofy side as well. Phoebe also proved her loyalty to her handler, as she would not walk the runway without him at the end of the evening.’
She added that Rolex, handled by Ryan Vanderwal, has spent close to a year in the shelter so far and needs to find his home. ‘After the show he can truly be called man’s best friend, he is loyal and obedient but still loves to have a little fun,’ Ms Legge said. ‘I am so proud of the entire dog handling team and volunteers; our hard work has paid off and we can’t wait to hear all of the happy ‘tails’ of adoptions over the next few weeks.’
Ms Legge had created business cards for each dog with their picture, name and some information about them to hand out to interested potential ‘parents’ on the night.
‘None of the animals have been adopted yet but there was a lot of interest. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they will all find ‘fur-ever’ homes very soon.’
The entertainment continued with prizes for the guests, including the gate prize of a trip for two to Breezes Resort in Jamaica, which went to James Gilbert. Also, Diamonds International had donated a diamond necklace as the grand raffle prize, which went to Carol O’Neill.
‘Our raffle prizes were exceptional,’ said Pamela Hart, vice-president of the Humane Society and fundraising chairperson. ‘A Persian carpet from Rugs Oriental, Cartier handbag from Cartier, Lalique cat figurine from Kirk Gallery, a weekend at Morritts Tortuga donated by Mimi Morritt, just to list a few.’
For the fashion show, Mary-Dale Alton, Laurice Fraser, Edith Yates Veleris and Miss Cayman Nicosia Lawson returned to reprise their role as models, while newcomers such as twins Kendal and Morgan Malewicz and Diamonds International’s Kirsten Rosenbaum, along with the new Miss Teen Cayman Jamesette Anglin, also took the stage in a variety of fashions from designers such as Dolce and Gabbana.
‘The clothes donated for the fashion show reflected the glamour of the evening,’ Ms Parker said.
Mrs. Hart also gave thanks for the sponsors and donors of the evening’s fashions, which helped to raise a considerable amount of money.
‘The beautiful evening gowns came from our sponsor Off the Peg, and all other items of clothing, including many well-known designer items, were donated by ladies from the Cayman community,’ said Mrs. Hart. ‘We received 30 designer handbags and that silent auction of just the designer handbags brought in $6,171.’
Event coordinator Vicki Legge has heard nothing but positive feedback from guests who attended.
‘I think the event was fabulous,’ she said. ‘Everyone had fun because it was different from the usual fundraiser. A lot of people put a lot of work into it. We had a great turnout and made money for the shelter. I’m happy.’