The dogs were the stars, greeting formally attired and costumed guests arriving at an Oct. 9 cocktail party and silent auction at the DoubleTree Hilton.

It’s a Humane Society Fur Ball tradition.

At the superhero-themed “Fantastic Fur,” there were special cuddles for an energetic Black Mouth Cur, a Southern working breed brought here for adoption as a rescue after the Louisiana hurricane. This breed, questioning guests learned, works hard and loves compliments but is sensitive and get its feelings hurt when its punished. There were empathetic smiles all around hearing this description.

Blond, lovable Branson visited everyone who came near and was a shoo-in to be adopted the morning after the gala.

Volunteer John Overberg had big-dog duty, walking Java the giant schnauzer through the admiring crowd.

Later, after dinner and a live auction in the ballroom, there were even more adoptables who were walked down the runway when dogs were joined by kitties, tiny puppies and bunnies. Guests who spotted hoped-for next family members could go to the shelter the following morning at 11 a.m. for adoption meetings.

By evening’s end, the 450 attendees and sponsors had raised $561,000 for the animals. The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak provides sheltering, medical treatment, foster care, adoptions and animal law enforcement for more than 20,000 animals each year.

Fur Ball presenting sponsors were All-Pro Capital; Animal ER Care, LLC; GE Johnson; Hill’s Pet Nutrition; Jim & Laura Johnson; MetLife; Petco Love; Phil Long Ford of Motor City; and Vickie and Gaylord Smith.

COVID-19 brought a most unusual time to the Humane Society, as everywhere else. Staff and volunteers said that during lockdown, kennels were emptied out as people had the time for and enjoyed the companionship of animals.

Over time, when people started returning to work, some of those pets were brought back. There are a number of dogs available now.

Introduced during the gala was the shelter’s new president and CEO, Duane Adams, who started during pandemic days in November. He has worked for more than 38 years in nonprofit and animal welfare in Arizona and Santa Fe, as well as in Colorado as the director of Colorado Humane Society, vice president of operations at Denver Dumb Friends League and agent of Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Protection, among others.

In other news, October is national Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Learn more at

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