12th annual Men of the Desert fashion show benefits Animal Samaritans

Nearly 500 animal lovers donated between $200 and $250 to attend Animal Samaritan’s 12th annual Men of the Desert fashion show. All funds raised benefited the organization’s life-saving rescue program.

The Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau recommends that nonprofits spend no more than 35 cents on the dollar of its budget on administration and fundraising. Animal Samaritans spends only 10 cents on the dollar, which means the remaining 90 cents goes directly to support its mission and its services.

Animal Samaritans’ board member and News Channel 3’s Patrick Evans opened the event by acknowledging not only the board members in attendance, but also the volunteers and staff who made the program so successful.

Animal Samaritans' Tom Snyder addresses the crowd.

Capital Campaign

Following words by co-chairs Lori Serfling and Patrick Mundt, Animal Samaritans’ CEO Tom Snyder ascended the stage and shared that Animal Samaritans had rescued more than 14,000 animals and found homes for 12,000. However, the organization has outgrown its small, no-kill shelter on Ramon Road and is in need of a facility that can house more animals, accommodate dogs of all sizes and allow for robust on-site exercise. The new facility is expected to break ground in December 2022. To learn more and to donate, contact Sid Craig, capital campaign director, at [email protected] or (760) 601-5700.

The Handsome Hounds

The fashion show featured men’s fashions provided by Saks Fifth Avenue of Palm Desert. Susan Stein, fashion/scene editor of Palm Springs Life, introduced the event by announcing “fashion has changed. It is casual but elegant and chic.” She then went on to describe how clothes were selected for the models.

Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, walks Ranger and Spike, two Shih Tzus.

Local models on the runway with their pets, many of them shelter dogs, included Vice President of Eisenhower Health Foundation Kristian Ardelian and Lilly; owner and CEO of the Luxe Group Michael Berk with Romeo and Juliet; Orestes Chua, luxury retail professional at the Gardens on El Paseo, with soulmate and rescue Chubby; attorney Walter Clark walking Marnie; lawyer Dan Clivner with Princess Cochran; director of the Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory and executive director of the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival Aaron Espino walking Hazel; Saks Fifth Avenue Vice President and General Manager Dennis Flaig-Moore walking Bentley; professional musician Tim Gross, walking Roxie; heart surgeon Steven Gundry with Okie Dokie; Michael Johnson, who specializes in architectural preservation and renovation in New York and Los Angeles, showing off Lucky and Happy; COD Foundation board member Dale Landon walking Shadow; Ari Loeb, novelist and stuntman, walking Ama; Michael Melancon, contemplative caregiver with a focus on end-of-life and palliative care, walking the runway with Lilli; American Airlines flight attendant Mark Miller with Cowboy and Sophie; 849 co-owner John Paschal proudly walking Edison and Elsa; executive director of the new Supple Foundation for the Cultural Arts, Craig Prater, being escorted on the runway by Sophia; orthopedic surgeon Erik Schnaser, accompanied by Dagny; Rancho Mirage resident Michael Scoby, walking Nick; motivational speaker and author Art Wedmore escorted by Sissy; movie actor, former athlete and spokesman for Wounded Warrior Project Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, walking Ranger and Spike; and David Zippel, lyricist and director, walking Lucky.

Dennis Flaig-Moore shows off Bentley, an adopted seven-year old Westie.

Event Sponsors

The presenting sponsor was The Carl Jud Foundation. Platinum Paws Sponsors: Eisenhower Health and The Auen Foundation. Golden Paws Sponsor: Helene Galen and Jamie Kabler, Jan Salta, the Skipper Fund, Scarlett and Bill Adams and Mechanics Bank. Silver Paws Sponsors: Contour Dermatology, David Kowalczyk and Curtis Johnson. Bronze Paws Sponsors: Wedmore, Clivner, IE Gives/Joe Staley, Sarah Milmet, Gregg Seller and Blade Branham, Gayle Hodges, Hot Purple Energy and The Body Deli. Tail Waggers Sponsors: Berk, Mark Smith, Ed Ziegler and David Gaines. Rescued Tails: Canine Massage Therapy.