A fashion show at Hotel ZaZa this month saw more fur and more legs than any other runway during Fashion Week. In fact, most models wore nothing but fur and boasted not two but four legs.
The city's chicest pets brought new meaning to the term 'catwalk,' which saw 17 pooches and one fashionable feline on February 10 at Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston's masquerade-themed Best Friends Brunch. The event raised more than $100,000 for IM's AniMeals program, which feeds the pets of Meals on Wheels' homebound seniors.
One such senior spoke at the brunch and even sent her Chihuahua, Coco, down the runway.
"Not only do they feed Coco, but they give her shots, cut her claws, give her medicine, and they even give her toys," 88-year-old Betty Harris said. "It's amazing how much they give. I can't thank the staff and the vets enough. They are such a joy. And Coco thanks you, too!"
Little Coco earned big applause as she was carried down the runway during the popular fashion show segment, emceed by TV personality Casey Curry. The program also saw returning models like Rocco, a Burberry-clad schnauzer.
It was another schnauzer, though, that won the top prize as gauged by the audience applause meter–Max, a mini chocolate variety, who sported a classic black vest. His owner and co-model, Brigitte Kalai, co-chaired the event with Sippi Khurana and honorary chairs Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust. The Lundquist twins, renowned animal lovers, also brought their rescues down the runway.
So, too, did Houston veterinarian and Mrs. Texas Legacy 2018 Dr. Jennifer Hennessey, who rescued her companion, Tensai the cat, when he was an abandoned kitten with a broken pelvis.
And then there was Ace, the gender-bending French bulldog in a fabulous pink feather boa and matching bedazzled sunglasses, who sashayed down the runway.
The real star of the show, though, was honoree Susan Boggio, a long-time AniMeals supporter and animal welfare champion. Boggio literally walks the walk—just before being honored as the 2018 AniMeals on Wheels Champion, she rushed to rescue a 9-month-old puppy she read about on Facebook.
That's par for the course when it comes to Boggio, speakers said, who's personally rescued countless animals and lends support to a number of charities around Houston.
"There is so much you learn from being generous," she said. "There is so much that needs to be done. We can all give more and do more. There is someone who needs you. That's what makes life worth living."
AniMeals began a decade ago after Meals on Wheels drivers found senior clients were putting their food directly on the floor, preferring to go hungry over their four-legged friends.
"For many, these pets are our seniors' only companions," AniMeals committee chairwoman Heather Holland said. "They are their families."
Now, AniMeals feeds more than 1,200 animals with 10,000 pounds of pet food each month, and new programs help with transportation for much-needed veterinary services like check-ups, vaccinations, and medical procedures.
About $240 feeds a pet for a full year, IM says, and volunteers are always needed for both AniMeals and Meals on Wheels drivers in Houston.