Dressed to the dogs for a doggone good cause

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • February 15, 2007

by Karen Feld



as told to Karen Feld

My mom brushed my thick red coat and long ears, sprayed me with Sexy Beast cologne and tied my red and blue bow tie. Although I stand less than a foot tall and weigh only 5 pounds, I know I looked very handsome Saturday night at the 3rd Annual Black Tie & Tails gala at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Alexandria. This pawsitive event benefitted dogs less fortunate than I am, those at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria waiting to be adopted.

The first stop was the doggie bar, the Woof Water Station. I sniffed the options: toilet water, Evian, Fiji, and Perrier. I turned up my nose at the toilet water and selected the Fiji. The bowl was too tall so my mom poured me a bottle capful to quench my thirst before greeting the other 80 dogs – all sizes and breeds.

Alexandria Rep. Jim Moran — who co-sponsored a bill barring dog fur imports from China — and two-month-old Little Lulu stopped to chat. “She’s named after my wife and loves to snuggle,” said Moran. “She sleeps on a pillow between us.” Moran added cautiously, “We waited until we had been married a year to get her.” This evening was for and about dogs but Moran did comment on the Democrats’ control of the congress: “At least people in Northern Virginia will know we’re not crazy and that our priorities – envisioning diplomacy and investing in education– are different from those of the White House.”

The highlight of my evening was meeting pet psychic Diane Roadcap of Springfield. She actually knew what I was thinking. She talked to me and translated symbols that I gave her. I told her that “I have my mom wrapped around my paw, and I feel like a little celebrity.” Roadcap told my mom that I was showing her “ribbons.” She said that I come from a line of champions. She’s right, but I wondered how she knew that. She told me that my purpose in life is to be a “healer, and I should be doing some kind of therapy work.” She also told my mom that I showed her “airplanes,” which she interpreted as a fondness for travel. I am a well-traveled guy since I accompany my mom all the time.

Dogs made fashion statements as they pranced down the runway, just like the ones at New York fashion week. The show was choreographed by Carlos Mejias of Olde Towne School for Dogs and Kristina Robertson of Barkley Square. Dakota, a standard poodle, modeled a black corduroy and hounds tooth jacket. Shelby, a shepherd mix accompanied by Kristen Hutchinson of Alexandria, looked graceful in her ballerina outfit. My favorite was Heidi Weigl’s Maltese, Gia, wearing a Burberry dress. The canine couture was auctioned following the show. Madeline Mitchell, who bakes dog treats for Whole Foods, designed a red Chanel-look dog coat. Nancy Jo Kemp of Alexandria created a coat for her cocker spaniel, Annie, from her mother’s mid-century mink from the now defunct Garfinkles and closed it with a brooch out of her mother’s jewelry box.

Both dogs and their people had a good time from Sarie, the toy Pomeranian, 15, riding in a carriage decorated with pink roses and a boa who was introduced to me as a rescue mascot and ambassador for senior dogs to Sandy, a Sheba Enu, who was dancing up a storm with Gordon Kromberg, president of the Animal Welfare League. Kromberg adopted Sandy, a tripod, from the shelter after she was hit by a car. As the event winded down, Francis Luong had to bribe his Afghan, Ellie, with treats to get her off the dance floor.

Campari, a toy poodle, lives in Washington, DC, with his companion, writer Karen Feld.

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