Thursday, 20 June 2013 13:18

RSVP: Raining Dogs and Dollars

By Trina Lucas | Entertainment

The American Cancer Society gave new meaning to “raining cats and dogs” last Thursday, June 13, as close to 150 stylish guests arrived at Saratoga National Golf Club with their canine escorts in tow. Dodging drops was impossible in the steady rain, but the showers did nothing to dampen spirits under the tent. The third annual Dogs & Divas benefit was a barking success!

An icy dog bone woofed at the tent’s entrance to welcome ladies, and a few gentlemen, to the reception station featuring champagne, sparkling water and ‘The Yappy Granny,’ a signature cocktail of raspberry vodka, Midori, Apple Pucker and pineapple juice. Apple-green in color, the drinks matched the floor-length table linens that were topped with striking black and white polka-dot cloths, inspired by Diva Extraordinaire Michele Riggi’s event finale last year. Continuing the theme, large glass centerpieces were filled with polished Granny Smith apples, all to be donated afterward for the rescued and retired animals at Peaceful Acres Horses. 

To brighten the dreary day, specialty vendors offered colorful accessories for dogs and divas alike. Pam Worth, preparing to be at the Saratoga Race Course this summer, displayed Spoken’s fun collection of leather bracelets and belts adorned with crystal-laden horseshoes. Cassandra Partyka introduced attendees to GAS Bijoux, the new line of French jewelry available exclusively at Saratoga Trunk. And Bloomingtails owner Tanya Urbanczyk offered perfectly patriotic party hats, handmade by Tina Ottati, to all of the four-legged friends. They were fashionable toppers for the pups posing at Heather Bohm-Tallman’s Doggy Booth. 

At noon, chairwoman Riggi took the stage to welcome guests and introduce Benita Zahn, News Channel 13 Anchor and Mistress of Ceremonies. With her own dog, Tiki, by her side, Zahn reminded everyone of the day’s mission—a world with less cancer and more birthdays. One-hundred birthdays, in fact, as the American Cancer Society itself reaches that milestone this year. She also discussed the critical role pets play in the lives of their owners, particularly in the recovery of cancer patients. Zahn then lightened the mood, introducing Natalie Sillery to kick off a fashion show gone to the dogs. 

Escorted by their dapper pups, models walked the canine carpet in styles from Frivolous, The Pink Paddock and Saratoga Trunk. Among them were Rebecca Beers, Arbonne District Manager, and her dog, Mona; motivational speaker Gayle LaSalle with her handsome Maestro in ‘tails’; Christianne Smith of Designsmith Studio with Shitzu Tucker; portrait artist and photographer Tammy Loya with her sweet Sophia, a King Cavalier Spaniel; Nikki and Isabella Roche with Chihuahuas Lulu and Taffy; and Michele Mack, cancer survivor and Senior Director of the American Cancer Society, with her Yorkie guy, Fenway. 

Once again, however, the grand finale stole the show. Setting the theme for 2014’s event, Riggi donned a jewel-encrusted, rainbow sherbet high-low gown by Jovani. She was accompanied by four of the posh pups, each vying to ride her skirt down the ‘dog’walk.

Seen admiring the colorful fashions were Lisa Moser, Phyllis Bynum, Beth Alexander, Julie Bonacio, Margie Rotchford, Frankie Flores, Sylvia Kravis Phillips and Louise Straney.

No bones about it, despite the steady rain, the fundraiser was a smashing success for the American Cancer Society. Kudos to everyone who braved the weather, the unflappable valets who got drenched keeping guests dry and the quintessential hosts at Mazzone Hospitality who did everything possible to create an ark of a tent comforting dogs and divas!

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