“Lights of Compassion” a weekend designed to focus the light on our animal friends kicked off with a delightful afternoon tea and fashion show on the Grand Patio at the Bellagio on Friday, May 17, 2013. After all, compassion is always in fashion.
More than 100 guests came out to applaud the work of the American Humane Association. For more than 130 years, the Association has brought compassion and commitment to the betterment of children and animals across our nation and around the world.
The attendees came from as far away as Florida to enjoy entertainment from Carol Connors, two-time Oscar nominated singer/songwriter, and Frankie Moreno, Las Vegas' headliner and Performer of the Year.
Connors approached the stage in a fighter's robe, appropriate for the woman who was Oscar-nominated for writing the theme for Rocky. “Gonna Fly Now,” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song and has become part of popular culture. During her career, Connors was nominated for ten major music awards including Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, and two Oscars.
Frankie Moreno stars in his own show at the Stratosphere. His talent is legendary in Las Vegas and his fame continues to spread beyond the Las Vegas boundaries. The former child prodigy pianist made his national debut on Star Search and most recently impressed national audiences with his appearance on Dancing With The Stars. He is the consummate performer who long ago lost count of the number of instruments he can play. Along with his brothers Tony and Ricky, he produces new brilliantly crafted songs and music every year.
Beyond that, Frankie is an animal lover and brought along his 130 pound Great Dane, Leopold, to model in the fashion show, accompanied by Moreno's lovely wife Becky.
Beyond the luminaries were the fashions and the models including women, children, and the wonderful animals that provide us with friendship and service. The fashions for women were from Eli Tahari. The canine creations came from Fifi and Romeo as well as Custom Critters.
The dogs, in addition to Moreno's Leopold, included Suzie Q, a rescue dog who now works with the military andLuke who is just back from Iraq.
Smiley, one of the canine stars of the day, is the spokesdog for the Hero Dog Award. The winner will be announced at a special event in Beverly Hills on October 5. More information is available athttp://www.herodogawards.org/
Lisa Vanderpump, one of the weekend's honorees, most notably known now as one of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and most recently, the 2013 season of “Dancing with the Stars” brought along her adorable gigolo, Giggy, a three year old Pomeranian who was dressed to kill.
Las Vegas legends Siegfried and Roy, long time champions of humane treatment of all animals were in attendance.
Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the American Humane Association reminded attendees of the valuable work of the organization. While the money raised in Nevada will be used in the state, it seems prophetic that barely days prior to the devastating destruction in Oklahoma, this organization talked about the dollars which well may fund services needed after the tragedy there. As Dr. Ganzert said, with your help, “American Humane Association will continue to be there to stand with them and help them ride out the storms of life.” Two days after the tornado in Moore Oklahoma, the Association dispatched its Red Star Animal Emergency Van, an 82 foot tractor trailer with supplies which will be muc needed.
A silent auction which included items for both people and pets added to the fun of the day and the opportunities to support the organization.
Proceeds from this event will establish a disaster preparedness program for the rescue of animals in Nevada and American Humane Association’s Wags4Warriors program benefitting our military veterans through the healing power of animal-assisted therapy.
The American Humane Association 's mission is to ensure the welfare, wellness and well-being of children and animals, and to unleash the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both.
Many of the attendees also partied at the Saturday evening Great Gatsby-themed Gala at the Anthem Country Club estate of Bruce and Barbara Lee Woollen in Henderson.
For more information on the American Humane Association and its programs, visit www.americanhumane.org.
Photos by Dianne R. Davis or Burt Davis