NEW YORK - Since 1866, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has shown active concern for animal welfare. Each year, this popular organization (it has more than one million friends on its Facebook page) brings together a group of elegant folk for an animal love-fest at the Plaza Hotel.  This writer, being English, is firmly convinced that God created dogs, following his disappointment with his efforts in constructing human beings. He then created cats, to give the dogs something to chase, but cats are so much smarter and more self-reliant than dogs, which leads to endless scoreless games. 


The evening began with an extremely noisy cocktail reception, at which an entertaining group of potential canine adoptees joined the party, their barks offering staccato interruptions to the loud braying of the drinking classes. These dogs tend to display mixed ancestry, with traces of pedigreed predecessors in their dubious lineage. A particular favorite of mine was a small, vociferous “Chihuahua mix” who, in spite of his diminutive dimensions, believed he was the biggest animal in the room and barked at all humans or canines who approached him, presumably saying “Hola” in his doggy way, with a friendly wag of his tail to indicate that his speech was in no way a criticism of the gala.

Among the Chairmen of the event were Laura Barket and Kurt Wolfgruber, onomatapoetically appropriate at a dinner during which bone-shaped cookies were served to the humans. It was that kind of a night.



                                             A kitty-shaped paddle used for bidding.


The live auction, which raised $407,000, saw bidders raising paddles in the form of cat or dog heads. Isaac Mizrahi was an endearing and enthusiastic Master of Ceremonies and Simon Cowell was honored in absentia, addressing the crowd on a videotape, in which he explained that all animal lovers are assured of a place in heaven, where he confidently expects to greet them – a long time from now, in the distant future.

To which we all reply:  “Woof!”