Celebrities came out last night for the ASPCA’s annual Young Friends Benefit in New York City at the IAC Building, a cornerstone fundraising event that brings together passionate people to lead the charge in providing a voice for the voiceless. While these people looked to raise awareness about homeless dogs, they also shared with This Dog’s Life the love they had for their pet pooches.
Hosted by actress Sutton Foster and supermodel Irina Shayk, the event kicked off with a number of high-profiled guests, along with super cute adoptable dogs, walking the orange carpet. Singer Lance Bass, designer Christian Siriano and model Hailey Clauson, among many others were excited to show their support for the organization’s mission of reducing the number of homeless, abused and neglected animals in the U.S. Once inside, people were able to enjoy cocktails and appetizers while mingling with like-minded folks. There was also a silent auction with amazing prizes, artwork by Baron Von Fancy and music by May Kwok.
“The growth of this event and the growth of this movement is incredibly exciting,” Matthew Bershadker, CEO of the ASPCA, told This Dog’s Life. “What it says to me is that Americans care about animals, and they want animals to be afforded the appropriate respect they deserve, be protected under the law and end the killing of shelter pets across this country. The tremendous support we receive simply illustrates all of that.”
With so many animal lovers in one place, we wanted to know how having a dog has changed their lives.
Here are a few of our favorite replies:
1. Actress Katrina Bowden talking about her dog Puffin
“It is so rewarding; I am never lonely,” Bowden told us. “When my husband is not home, the dog is home and he always makes me feel good about myself.”
2. Singer, songwriter and actress Orfeh on her dog Boo Boo
“We have ups and down in the entertainment business but whatever happens, they’re the one constant,” she says. “They ground us into the world that we live in outside of the entertainment business. You are just giving your love to something else and it feels very mutual.”
3. Designer Christian Siriano on his dogs Topper and Bear
“They are your best friend,” says Siriano. “When you work really hard, especially in New York City, and you get to come home to something that loves you and doesn’t care about anything else that happened in your day is the best thing. I can’t imagine life without them.”
4. Actress Sutton Foster on her dog Mabel
“I will never not have a dog in my life. It is so amazing to have something to take care of, something you are responsible for beyond yourself,” Sutton says. But they also remind you every day that can be very simple. Even yesterday I was having a rough day and was stressing out and came back to hang out with her, and she was just like, ‘Rub my belly. I don’t really care if you have had a good or bad day, I just want to be loved.'”
5. Model Hailey Clauson on her dog Mahala
“I have always loved dogs but once I had my own, I became obsessed with dogs. Like on the street, I will be talking to people’s dogs, ignoring the humans,” Clauson says. “I am kind of crazy dog lady; I want like ten dogs but it is hard in the city.”
6. Model Allie Rizzo on Sam, Benny and Sophie
“For me the companionship of the dog — there is nothing better. When you come home and there is always something waitng for you and gives you comfort,” Rizzo says. “I feel like the love they give me is just so incredible. I really think that people that have dogs are happier people.”
7. Actress Kimiko Glenn on her dog Arnold
“I wanted him to be an emotional support animal when I first got him, so I immediately started training him,” Glenn says. “I think having him as an emotional support animal has really helped me, because I have anxiety, so I bring him everywhere. Truly, it helps get my mind off my self and on a separate, living being, and it almost takes away my anxiety. I feel like my anxiety when I am with him is almost gone, and so in that way, it has changed my life in a huge way.
8. Singer Lance Bass on his dogs Dingo, Lily and his recently passed pup Foster
“When I got two of my rescues, it was the day I moved to Los Angeles. They have seen everything. They have been through the ups and downs, and it the only time you will feel unconditional love and there is nothing like it,” says Bass. “The love that they give you; you just can’t describe it. It just makes me happy to come home.”
All images of the event courtesy of the ASPCA