Helping Heavenly Companions

The 32nd Annual Celebrity Paws Gala: A Celestial Evening raises funds for Citizens for Animal Protection


Brook and Julie Brookshire and Carol and Bill Simmons

Harry & Cora Sue Mach with Mariposa

Michael Vanderhider, Hallie Vanderhider and Ling Ling shelter pet

Brook and Julie Brookshire and Carol and Bill Simmons


Photo credits: Daniel Ortiz and CatchLightGroup 

Society Writer: Blanca Beltran

General Editor: Margaret MacMillan

Publisher: Connie Kwan-Wong


The Celebration

A sold-out crowd of 600 guests gathered at the stylish Royal Sonesta Houston for the 32nd Annual Celebrity Paws Gala: A Celestial Evening in support of Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP). Julie and Brook Brookshire chaired the evening, which was dedicated to the memory of Diane Mattly for her vast contribution to CAP. Jim Mattly accepted the recognition in her honor. Carol and Bill Simmons were the event cochairs, and Cora Sue and Harry Mach were the honorary chairs. Emcee Frank Billingsley lead the festivities. Honorary canine guests, Lux and Humphrey, Accelerant Detection K-9s for the Houston Fire Department, Arson Bureau, and their handlers, Tim Kelly and Greg Chapa, welcomed attendees.

The Story

Guests entered the hotel lobby to find it abuzz with acrobatic performers, photo booths, and living angels provided by J&D Entertainment. They also had fun mingling with the Moon Goddess and posing for photos with her on her regal blue carpet.  There was even a wine pull. In the silent auction room, models striking poses to accessorize the lovely setting, extravagant champagne servers, and live classical music set a more sedate tone. Items up for auction ranged from portrait sessions and Houston Rockets tickets to spa sessions, with much more in between. The honorees and their pets mixed with guests, some of whom brought their own furry friends.

Walking into the ballroom for dinner, guests were surrounded by divine touches of white, silver, and blue courtesy of Art Attack. The phenomenal electric string quartet, Phat Strad, entertained diners with classical tunes set to pop music. Throughout the night, the runway was filled with those involved with CAP and their furry friends. The event was planned by Francisco+co.


The Moments

The following awards were bestowed during the celebratory evening: The Melcher Humanitarian of the Year Award went to Gregory Miller,  The CAP Cherished Companion Award went to Connie Cortopassi, the Celebrity Paws Hall of Fame Award went to  Deborah Duncan and Hershey Grace, the Heart of Gold Award went to Susan and Dan Boggio, the Share the Love Award went to Michelle Mantor, and the Rising Star honoree was Charlie Padgett. 

Honoree Susan Boggio, who has been part of CAP for thirty years, spoke about the important work the organization does for animal welfare. Honoree Charlie Padgett shared his family connection with CAP and the reasons it meant so much for him to join the organization. A touching moment occurred when Padgett walked the runway as his mother, Kim Padgett, named the Rising Star honoree six years ago, looked on. The Celebrity Pet of the Year award was won by Frances Moody and her dogs, Buddy and Nobel. First runner-up went to Hallie Vanderhider and her dog, Ling Ling. The grand finale of the night was the raffle drawing for the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek donated by West Houston Subaru.

The evening raised $650,000 for CAP.


Guests: Andy Cordes and Brian Teichman, Mike and Melna Moriarty, Liz and Pete Carragher, Frank DiMaria and Pat Keller, Marian and Austin Cornelius, Linda Schmuck and Todd Zucker, Amanda and Terry Boffone, Nancy and Franco Valobra, Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin, Linda and Willie Chiang, Paige and Bob Martin, and Elizabeth and Alan Stein

About Citizens for Animal Protection

Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP), a non-profit organization, has served pets and people in the Greater Houston Area for over 46 years. Since 1972, CAP has sheltered and cared for over 400,000 orphaned, neglected, and abandoned animals.