Photos: Here
Photo credit: Quy Tran

It was a sold-out show on Saturday, February 17, 2024 as more than 265 philanthropic animal lovers donned their best Western wear and kicked up their boots and raised more than $113,000 at Hotel ZaZa – Museum District for the 11th Annual Wags and Whiskers Brunch, benefiting Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s Animeals program, which provides pet food, toys and preventative vet care supplies to over 1,300 pets of homebound seniors in IM’s Meals on Wheels program.

The “Bow Wow West” themed event featured a celebrity pet fashion show produced by Todd Ramos, a silent auction, delicious lunch hosted by event Co-Chairs Shirin and Saied Alavi along with Dr. Vasant Garg and Dr. Kim Tran.

Emcee Casey Curry welcomed guests and four-legged furry cowpokes to a Rootin’ Tootin’ fun and inspiring program honoring long-time Animeals supporter Greater Good Charities, an organization that works to help people, pets, and the planet by mobilizing in response to need and amplifying the good.

Head Wrangler, Interfaith President and CEO Martin Cominsky joined the program on stage with Board Chair Dr. Kathy C. Flanagan to say Howdy and provide an overview of the Animeals program that serves more than 1,300 cats and dogs of homebound seniors and disabled adults and to introduce the event chairs to present the award and honor Greater Good Charities. All gave a big Texas welcome to Greater Goods Grants Administrative Manager Kathy Poritsky as she accepted the award.

Guests were inspired by a video testimonial of one of the program participants who shared the critical importance of receiving pet food and vet assistance in her home in addition to her Meals on Wheels deliveries. Animeals spokesdog Moose, escorted by IM Board Secretary and Development Committee Chair Nadia Tajalli, engaged the crowd for a special appeal and online fundraising.

During the presentations, guests checked on the silent auction showdown, which included pet gifts, services, and toys as well as sports memorabilia, artwork, family experiences, jewelry, beauty and spa experiences, rodeo and theater tickets. A delicious lunch of a creamy roasted cauliflower soup en croute, blackened chicken breast with cilantro and turmeric rice and balsamic Brussel sprouts topped off with desserts of Tres leches cake and strawberry shortcake was served.

Walking the catwalk for Interfaith Ministries were Roger Applewhite and Keyser Soze, Ivonne Camarena and Don Cheto the cat, Beth Clark and Yeti, Freddy Cruz and Sparrow, Louise Goldberg and Rosie (2nd place winner), Karen Jankowsi and Bella Donahue (1st place winner), Kian Tavackoli and Moose (3rd place winner), and Beth Wolff and Dandy.

Pet Fashion Show Judges included Lara Bell with Swoon Magazine, Deborah Duncan with KHOU Great Day Houston, Jeff Gremillion with Houston CityBook Magazine, Sarah Leftwich with Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, and Joy Sewing with the Houston Chronicle.

Sponsors of the Wild West event included: lead Lone Star sponsor Fred G. Marshall, Susan and Dan Boggio, Ann and Ronald Kaesermann, Marek, Maureen Quirk and Leslie Harris, Shirin and Saied Alavi, Baxter and Cleo Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Loren Blanchard, CenterPoint Energy, Charlene Chuang, Dexter and Evie Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Kathy Flanagan, Doe and Henry Florsheim, Karen and Jay Harberg, Karen Jankowski, Anuradha and Dr. Kohur Subramanian, Nadia Tajalli and Dr. Shahin Tavackoli.

Other rodeo chic attendees included:  Susanne and Randall Evans, Emma V. Chambers, Wendy Cooper, Dr. Marla Fielder, Brian Wagaman, Rev. Dr. Tamla Wilson, Sheila Aron, Cynthia Wolff, Cheryl Byington, Alex Blair, Connie Kwan-Wong, Gregg Harrison, Aliza Dutt, Barbara Van Postman, Debbie Pakzaban, Christine Zhou, Jeanine Ianneralli, and Jane Page Crump.

About Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston

A United Way partner, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (Interfaith Ministries) brings people of diverse faith traditions together for dialogue, collaboration and service, as a demonstration of our shared beliefs. Interfaith Ministries provides the following main services: Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston and Galveston County delivers more than 1.9 meals each year to over 5,300 homebound seniors and people with disabilities across four counties; Refugee Services, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department and Episcopal Migration Ministries, resettles thousands of refugees in Houston annually; Interfaith Relations and Community Partnerships provides community services and education fostering understanding, respect and engagement among Houstonians of all faiths and no particular faith; and the Vic Samuels Center for Volunteerism and Civic Service through Volunteer Houston, which connects volunteers in transformative projects with area nonprofits and SERVE HOUSTON, which forms the leaders of tomorrow while meeting the community needs of today. For more information, visit