Pensacola Magazine

Cough it Up for the Fur Ball

Pensacola Humane Society Celebrates 80 Years with Third Annual Fur Ball Gala

Dust off your tuxedos and don your evening gowns—but don’t forget to keep a lint roller handy—because the Pensacola Humane Society is kicking off its 80-year anniversary with the third annual Fur Ball gala.

This annual gala made its debut in 2019 when the Humane Society was looking to boost revenue by hosting another major fundraising event in addition to their already well-established Barktoberfest and Paws on Palafox fundraising events. Eloise Lautier, Secretary of the Pensacola Humane Society’s board of directors and Fur Ball event chair, worked with Deborah Dunlap, Michelle Sauls, Megan Kennedy and a small committee of local volunteers and board members to organize and host the first Fur Ball event. Since its establishment, the Fur Ball has grown to become the Humane Society’s most popular annual event, with tickets selling out each year.

“People really enjoy coming and learning about the work we do,” Lautier said. “And we always have animals at the event too.”

The Fur Ball holds a special “Yappy Hour” during the gala that allows the Humane Society to show off some of the pets that are currently up for adoption. The event will also feature a puppy parade that will take place inside of the event space, as well as designated time for gala guests to mingle with all of the adoptable dogs, puppies, cats and kittens.

“There is something special about the people who love animals so much,” Lautier said. “We feel that we are all connected. The people who attend this event and other Humane Society events feel that we are part of a community that is compassionate for the unfortunate situation where animals are neglected, abandoned and abused, and it really touches their hearts.”

In addition to sponsorships pur chased prior to the event, the Fur Ball offers multiple auctions throughout the evening, the most notable of which is the Bow Wow Wow Wow table. The table is beautifully decorated, and each place setting is piled high with towers of wrapped gifts worth around $500 to be auc tioned off to gala goers. The table is adorned with flowers donated by Southern Gardens and Gifts, In addition to the gifts on the table, auction winners also get access to the open bar throughout the evening. The gala also holds a live and silent auction later in the event.

In the Fur Ball’s first year, more than $85,000 was raised to benefit the Humane Society. Since then, that number has only increased. This year, the Fur Ball organizers anticipate raising more than $100,000. The funds raised and donated at the gala will go toward helping the Society’s animals stay in foster homes and out of the shelter.

“What we try to do is intervene as quickly as possible. Either that animal never goes into the shelter, or the time in the shelter is very short,” Lautier explained. “That’s where our resources will be fed into helping the community: keeping as many animals as possible and finding foster homes for many of those animals.”

The Society’s other goal to accomplish with the funds raised through the Fur Ball is to get their low-cost spay and neuter clinic back up and running with a veterinarian and the necessary medical staff. According to Lautier, spaying and neutering pets is the most important thing we can do to help our community avoid overpopulation in shelters. While the Pensacola Humane Society is a no-kill shelter, some shelters have to resort to euthanasia when they become overpopulated.

This year marks a special gala occasion as 2023 is the Humane Society’s 80th anniversary as a nonprofit. Lautier explained that the Fur Ball makes for a great venue to dress your best and enjoy a meal complete with wine and champagne, all for the benefit of the animals.

“This [gala] is one way of marking that anniversary, looking forward to 80 more [years] and making even greater strides,”

For tickets and information on this year’s Fur Ball event, visit the Pensacola Humane Society Fur Ball Facebook page. Stay connected with the Pensacola Humane Society on Facebook, Instagram and for the latest details on upcoming events, adoptable pets, volunteer opportunities and more.