Nick Lees: Haute Dawg Gala raises money for the Edmonton Humane Society

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John Steinbeck said he saw the look in a dog’s eyes – “a quickly disappearing look of astonished contempt” – that convinced him that dogs think humans are crazy.

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The looks on the faces of the 25 dogs who took part in Haute Dawg, a gala and fashion show at the Fairmont Macdonald Hotel last week, convinced me he was right.

An army of volunteers fed and prepared the dogs to walk around the ballroom, some canines wearing outrageous frilly costumes that no self-respecting dog would wear on a walk between the fire hydrants.

Diane Buchanan, president of the organizing committee, managed the evening with aplomb.

“Pets make a house a home,” she told me. “When I was little I had a cat and then a dog. And my late husband Gordon and I have always had dogs.

“I made a donation to the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) and had an idea to help raise awareness for the cause. Dogs and fashion could be a fun event while supporting animals in need.

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To help him, Buchanan enlisted his good friend Elexis Schloss, who, among other contributions, transformed the Mac’s ballroom into what Buchanan described as “a sparkling gem”.

Keeping the evening on track – not easy! — was CBC host and producer Stacey Brotzel, who kicked off the evening by introducing the Edmonton Police Service Pipe Band and Drums.

Funds raised go to the EHS Spay/Neuter Program, which has a mobile surgical unit to help pet owners facing financial hardship.

“More funding will go to prevent the birth of millions of unwanted puppies over the next five years,” Buchanan says. “Do the math – puppies having puppies having puppies, having puppies. We are rapidly entering the millions.

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The unit can also be used to neuter and neuter feral cats. Funds were also given to Dogs with Wings, whose mission is to promote the integration and independence of individuals and social service organizations by providing them with highly trained assistance dogs.

Edmonton Fire Chief Joe Zatylny and Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee have both received checks allowing them to add a service dog to their canine service.

Chef McFee stole the show a few times, first making affectionate faces at a little Yorkshire Terrier as if greeting a grandchild for the first time, then offering a smile as wide as the bridge high level when he won a coin toss. prize for a Royal Canadian Mint gold coin valued at $2,500.

Meanwhile, medical student Jane Johnston won a gold card worth $2,500.

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When two people each paid $6,000 at a live auction for a round of golf with McFee and Zatylny, and while auctioneer Sine Chadi and auction watcher Ted Power made excellent work, a look exchanged between the eyes of Jack Russell Terrier, Winston and Siberian Husky, Koda, said it all. I’m sure it was the “humans are crazy” look.

Another sought-after item at the live auction, offered by Elexis Schloss, was a tea party for 50 people at the former government residence on Connaught Drive, where Schloss lives and where Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed tea decades ago. The tea, to be served with the same menu as that enjoyed by Her Majesty, sold for $3,500.

There was a lot of applause when Const. Daniel Heigh led his service dog Beny into the room, followed by Sgt. Michael Gatha and his dog Razz.

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But Buchanan later became the “wow” of the evening.

Few knew – obscured by the pandemic? — that the show’s creator a year ago in March was named the Hon. Lieutenant Colonel of the Military Police Regiment.

“My invitation came from attorney Sol Rolingher after he had held the position for 15 years,” said Buchanan, who paraded through the ballroom in his military attire, complete with a beret.

“Our 1MP area of ​​responsibility, the largest in Canada, stretches from Victoria, British Columbia to Thunder Bay, Ontario, and includes Army Navy, Air Force, Military Police and Reservists .”

In my humble opinion, Buchanan was the best dressed woman at the dinner and her Biewer Terrier Money Penny, in matching outfit, was the best dressed dog.

Both wore dresses by Kathryn Todoruk Couture, which were made of lemon Italian silk with fringe on the skirt. The tops were soft yellow Italian satin with lemon silk insets.

Money Penny is friendly, playful and energetic. But when she stopped to sniff my shoes, there was no doubt that I received that quickly disappearing look of astonished contempt.

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