Annual Bark Ball Raises Hefty Sums for Humane Rescue Alliance


Dogs in bow ties, tuxedos and dresses? You don’t say.

This past Saturday Oct. 16, the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) – a non-profit dedicated to “celebrating the human plus animal bond” — held its 34th annual Bark Ball at the Washington Hilton at 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW, raising more than $410,000 in support of HRA programs and services to the “animals in our community and the people who love them,” according to an HRA press release.

This year’s ball offered two ways of participating: a viewing party and cocktails at the Washington Hilton or a virtual program from home.

More than 300 attendees gathered for the in-person viewing party, many of whom brought their dogs, donned in bow ties, tuxedos and dresses, as their dates. Bark Ball transformed a hotel ballroom into a lively dog park for the evening, complete with pathways, streetlights and trees, live music, an agility course, caricature artists and food trucks. DDOT was not spotted planning any bike lanes through the ballroom.

NBC4 Meteorologist and animal advocate Chuck Bell kicked off and closed the evening with a welcome address and closing remarks.

Personal stories from HRA staff, volunteers, fosters, adopters and community partners that represent HRA’s tagline: “Animals. People. Community” – a motto that reflects HRA’s deep commitment to animals as well as “human stakeholders” were shared throughout the evening.

HRA released the following YouTube videos with captions in support of their work:

  • Animals: A record number of people opened their homes to animals during the pandemic, many for the first time. This video shares touching stories from fosters, new adopters and long-time pet parents about how much their pets meant to them.
  • People: This video highlights people in our community who have benefitted from our programs that help animals by supporting their people, too.
  • Community: Animals are social lubricants; people who would otherwise have little in common, connect and build relationships through their pets. This video introduces dedicated foster parents and how HRA’s foster community is changing the future of how we shelter animals.

Since its founding in the latter 19th century, using a community-based model to help both animals and those who rescue and care for them has been central to HRA’s approach and during the pandemic, it has been all the more helpful. “A community-based approach to helping animals and the people who love them has been at the heart of our mission since we were founded over 150 years ago,” said Lisa LaFontaine, president and CEO of HRA.

“Yet this last year, especially, has reinforced the importance of linking arms with our community partners, supporters and volunteers to make sure there are no gaps in service and that no one is left behind,” LaFontaine said.

Of the Bark Ball she said: “Tonight, is a celebration of all our relationships – integrated together like pieces of a puzzle – that provide us with the support, strength and reach to tackle the most difficult issues facing animals and people who love them in our own communities and beyond.”

Katie Hall and her Hero Dog (service dog in training), Sprout, sit for a caricature. In background:
Stephanie Shain, executive vice president and chief operating officer for HRA and
Alison Putnam, director of executive operations.

Brent Jackson, Alexandra Fielding, Trish Yan, and Jonathan Taylor, founder of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

Robyn Hinson Jones and her dog Sydney (adopted from HRA). Photo courtesy HRA.

Sheree and Les Wolf pose with their dapper pooch. Photo courtesy HRA.

Information on the Humane Rescue Alliance can be found here.

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