Animal shelter’s Black Tie & Tails sets records

Photo courtesy of Besek Photography. Black Tie & Tails guests dance the night away to 1970s-era disco music as part of the “Dog Days of Disco” theme.

Photo courtesy of Besek Photography. Black Tie & Tails guests dance the night away to 1970s-era disco music as part of the “Dog Days of Disco” theme.

DEARBORN — The Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter’s Black Tie & Tails Oct. 23 was the largest fundraiser evening in the organization’s history. A record-breaking crowd of more than 320 attendees and supporters raised $142,000, which will be used for daily operations for the animals in the care of the shelter.

From the spinning disco balls to the disc jockey spinning dance-fever tunes, the Dearborn Inn was transformed into Studio 54 to celebrate the 2015 theme of “Dog Days of Disco.” The many attendees thoroughly embraced the theme, sporting go-go boots and psychedelic polyester.

“Each year we set a new bar of experience and fun,” said MaryAnn Wright, FFDAS board chairwoman and event presenting sponsor. “Our goal is to make new lifelong advocates to help our rescues.”

Rescue animals are central to Black Tie. Guests had the opportunity to meet and mingle with 23 of the organization’s four-legged stars. And, during one of the highlights of the evening, 13 event sponsors had the chance to escort an adoptable down a “red carpet” Pet Promenade.

FFDAS also bestowed it Big Heart Award to City Councilman Robert and Mary Ann Abraham and their children, Mary Kate, Jared and Brandon. The award goes to a member of the community who furthers the FFDAS’s cause of animal welfare.

The Abrahams are animal advocates who annually host an open house to raise money for Hope’s Heroes, a program benefiting dogs and cats with special medical needs.

The FFDAS also awarded its newest award, the Student Big Heart Award, to Zoe Acker, a 10-year-old supporter of the organization who has raised money for the shelter since she was 5. This year she raised the second most money for the Friends’ annual pledge-driven Mutt Strut dog walk.

She also finds creative ways to raise money, including selling her father’s handyman skills for donations and a lemonade stand team, to benefit the capital campaign to build a new animal shelter.

During the evening, Wright and four other board members and guests matched $5,000 each of Acker’s funds, for a total match of $25,000 toward the capital campaign.

“This year’s Black Tie gala was one of the most successful evenings on record for our organization, in attendance and funds raised,” FFDAS Development Director Kelle Sisung said, “but the involvement of the crowd was the most inspiring. Attendees gave generously during both the live and silent auctions, but their celebration of the evening epitomized the camaraderie of a community engaging in a cause while having grand fun.”

For more information about FFDAS events, volunteering, donating or adoptable animals online, call 313-943-2697, or go to, or!/FFDAS.