PAWS Chicago: Fur Ball 2014 a record-breaker for homeless pets

PAWS Chicago, the city’s largest No Kill animal shelter, hosted its 13th Annual Fur Ball at The Drake Hotel on November 14.  This event is one of my favorites, not only because it supports this great organization, but because it's the largest event in town that welcomes pets!  So, not only do you see elegantly dressed people, but you see dogs (and sometimes cats) wearing formal wear, too!

Attended by more than 750 people and 275 pets, the ball is a beloved annual event where pets enjoy all festivities with their owners, from walking the red carpet to dancing late into the night.  There's even a special doggie buffet and a pet spa, for those so inclined.

The evening featured a rousing appearance by Smashing Pumpkin’s frontman Billy Corgan, recently featured on the cover of PAWS Chicago Magazine. As a dedicated supporter of PAWS Chicago’s work (he owns two PAWS kitties), Corgan hit the auction block to offer a once-in-a-lifetime, music lover’s dream experience with a personal, in-home Smashing Pumpkins concert for 20.  Corgan, along with guitarist, Jeff Schroeder, will play an intimate hour-long set. In total, the Pumpkins raised $120,000 for homeless pets.

In addition to remarkable vacation destinations, sports packages and a fine wine collection, one of the highlights of the evening was a $45,000 bid to sponsor PAWS Chicago's next transport van. These vans will be utilized to take homeless dogs and cats from high kill shelters to Paws medical center every day.

The event was a record-breaker for PAWS raising more than $1.6 million.  It was co-chaired by Stephanie and Jake Henry and Anne Marie and Murray Peretz.  Janice and Philip Beck were honorary chairs.

All of the funds raised will allow PAWS Chicago to continue to expand its important lifesaving programs that reduce the number of homeless animals killed each year.  Since its founding in 1997, PAWS has helped reduce the killing rate of homeless animals in Chicago by 71%.  (Photos by Sparenga Photography)

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