Paws for a Cause

Fashion goes to the dogs at Paws for a Cause

Paws for the Cause celebrated fur and fashion on Thursday in support of the Ontario SPCA. The event, in its first year (of, hopefully, many), shook Cesar Millan-esque master-and-beast hierarchy and let "man's best friend" claim rightful guest-of-honour status, just for one night. Because pets are people too, right?

Laura Serra

Yeah, so, I've been accused of treating my dogs like babies. But my "fur kids" are the snooze button on my biological alarm clock. Trust me, it's a good thing. While my generation seems to be doing some feet-dragging in the procreation department (at least the urbanites among us), I see nothing wrong with a little displaced spoiling of our pooches in the meantime. On Thursday, I was in good company.

Paws For The Cause

A room full of pet lovers shrugged off the $100-a-head ticket in the name of a four-legged cause. I suspect that these are the same people, like myself, who spend more on a coat for Sprocket than they do on their own outerwear. This time, indulgent spending served a worthy purpose - supporting the welfare of animals in Ontario.

Paws For The Cause

The evening's main event was a fashion show, featuring local personalities - human and canine - sporting matching outfits by some high profile Canadian designers. "Celebs" included Toronto Life scribe Amy Verner and social butterflies Ashleigh Dempster and Amanda Blakley. Keshia ChantĂŠ also offered her name to the cause, modeling with her own dog, Dre. Sure, the four-legged "models" weren't seasoned pros (this was not the American Kennel Club), but it was actually better that way. The wide-eyed confused pups darted erratically, their human companions scrambling to keep up and maintain poise. The result drew laughter and an in-unison "awww" from party guests. It was an anti-fashion show - not the least bit serious - and drove home the most important point. This was all about the dogs.

Keshia Chante

Of course, I'm not saying that the outfits were ignored. Big names like Joeffer Caoc and Philip Sparks splashed across the screen with each model pairing. Coordinating people/pet Roots shearling coats and Ashley Rowe graphic splatter-print dresses were insanely adorable, albeit far too ridiculous for the dog park. I wondered if I might get away with plaid bow ties on my pups' collars. It's just the kind of insanity that only pet owners would understand.

Paws For The CausePaws For The Cause

Paws For The Cause took care of its human guests, too. Giveaways, dog-themed cocktails and nibbles by Marben rounded out an amazing evening. The raffle prizes built much buzz, and my ticket was one lousy number off when event co-host Laura Serra drew for the $1000 Pink Tartan gift certificate. Dang. Two guests even snagged Dyson vacuums - prizes that they may have donated to me if the winners knew the state of my carpets.


While designer doggie coats may be frivolous considering the number of homeless pets in Toronto's shelters, they drew attention to the cause. By the time I left, wedging through the crowd was difficult - a good sign that the OSPCA saw a generous boost in much-needed donations that night.

Video by Istoica.

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