Forget the catcalls, the audience was “howling” as the pups took the stage on Saturday, January 26th in honor of the third Annual Unleashed: Dinner With Your Dog to benefit the Nashville Humane Association. Perhaps it was the accompaniment of their celebrity walkers or the possibility of being adopted by an onlooker that instilled confidence in these proud hounds, but this much is true–they owned that stage.
The turnout of 200+ attendees (not including dogs) and sold out meal passes proved that this event continues to live up to it’s reputation of being one of Nashville’s favorites. Upon arriving on the sixth floor of the luxurious Hutton Hotel, I was greeted by a taste of unconventional elegance and class. The dimly lit lobby was overflowing with excited pet owners sharing smiles and stories of their beloved furry friends. As the proud mommies and daddies talked amongst themselves, their dressed-up pups shuffled at their feet and mingled with their new friends on ground level. Drinks were available during cocktail hour for both human and dog attendees, though our canine friends were treated to cold water rather than chilled wine. The excited pups and their pals were ushered into the main ballroom where place settings were not limited to table tops. Pedigree Brand acted as a sponsor for the event, providing a variety of items displayed in a buffet-style to suit all palates. It was quite a sight to see a Great Dane eat dinner at eye-level with event-goers while, simultaneously, a shit-tzu in a sparkly number munched on a meal at her owner’s feet.
Immediately following the unconventional dinner was the much anticipated fashion show. Led by celebrity walkers, and dressed to lure in potential new owners, these dogs sure put on a show! Between the wardrobe changes, the cameras flashing, the detailed outfits crafted by local designers and the excitement from the crowd, the dogs were true Nashville rock stars for the night! By the time the event came to an end, fewer dogs in Davidson County were homeless.
The Nashville Human Association has been providing a voice for those who are unable to speak since 1946. NHA is “committed to finding responsible homes, controlling pet overpopulation and promoting the humane treatment of animals.” The celebrities involved in this spectacular night included, but were not limited to, Country Superstar and Host for the evening, Kellie Pickler, recording artist, Danielle Peck, Sugarland drummer Travis McNabb, and artist and designer, Jeff Garner. Kellie Pickler brought great personality to this already vibrant affair. As a self-proclaimed “animal lover” and mother of three dogs herself, Pickler demonstrated her love for the cause as she “ooed” and “awed” as the dressed up cuties pranced by her on stage.
I experienced my own personal success as well. My biggest fear was thankfully not met, as I was not caught wearing the same dress as one of the runway models, thank goodness, because they would’ve worn it better!