A large contingent of Houstonians had a howling good time at the Nuzzles & Co. Barking Ball at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah, last weekend. While the Bayou City has suffered monsoon rains and stifling temperatures, the Utah weather was so perfect that the gala was held outdoors around the hotel swimming pool amid a glorious mountain setting.
Houston executive Jane Howze was honored for her contributions to the private, non-profit, no-kill pet rescue and adoption organization located on a ranch near the Utah resort and brought the audience to tears with her moving appeal to pitch in to make a difference. "Nuzzles is doing so much. We can do a little, and a little bit more," Howze said.
Howze and her husband, John Mann, became involved with the organization while summering in the area, where they own a home in the exclusive Promontory enclave. More than 35 Houston couples own homes in the upscale mountain home community near Park City, and other Houstonians live in the exclusive Deer Valley area.
To further raise funds, auctioneer Robert Olson with Erklens & Olson offered to jump in the pool if the live auction exceeded $70,000 — it did and he did — and an anonymous donor gave the organization $100 for every person who took a dunk in the pool, and seven galagoers complied. A record amount of more than $265,000 was raised from tickets sales, silent auction items and other donations.
Nuzzles president Kathleen Weron noted the Houston links since she formerly practiced law in the Bayou City and adopted a homeless dog she found near the George R. Brown Convention Center.
"What got me involved in animal rescue was my Houston connection and to have all these Houstonians who are supporters and advocates, there's a whole Houston contingent up here to support this Park City rescue. It all came full circle. It's kind of a miracle in a way to have a Houston connection," she said.
Cheering Howze on were Houstonians Cathy and Joe Cleary, Lori and Dan Wolterman, Ginni Mithoff, Carole Bilger, Jane and Dick Schmitt, Pam Kutner, Carol and Rob Richardson, and John Mann Jr.
Former Houstonians Kathie and Scott Amann, Jen Christ Pickering, Royce Imhoff, and John Lamar, with Faith Wheeler, also showed their support, as well as Howze's pals, screenwriter Molly Newman and hubby, Disney exec Tom Jones, who flew in from Los Angeles for the celebration.
The night before the gala Howze and Mann hosted a cocktail party at their Promontory home. Among the Houstonians who joined the throng were Cris and Donna Gaut, Ron and Sheila Hulme, Suzanne and Bob Nimocks, and Nancy and Ron Ormand.