David Patrick Columbia's New York Social Diary

7 December 2009

A date which will live in infamy

I went from the North Carolinian’s party over to the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle where at the Frederic P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Animal Medical Center was holding its Top Dog Gala 2009. They were honoring dog lovers, music lovers, animal conservationist, wildlife conservationists, art collectors, environmentalists Lisa and David Schiff for their three decades of working to help the Animal Medical Center in its growth and progress.

The Animal Medical Center must be the greatest medical facility for animal care in the United States. This is a calculated guess based on experience and awe. The late Brooke Astor – who took her dogs to the AMC for care – was said to once comment that she hoped if she ever needed health care, she wanted to go to the Animal Medical Center. Someone recounted that at the dinner on Thursday night and many laughed, reflecting the awe at the AMC’s state of the art animal care.

The AMC’s annual gala draws some of New York’s most prominent names. Robert Liberman, who is Chairman of the Board of Trustees, reported on the progress the AMC has made in the past year. Honorary chairs were Chris and Bruce Crawford, Benefit co-chairs were Wendy Lehman Lash, Barbara Liberman, Elizabeth Monaco McCarthy, and the evening was hosted by Stephen Lash.

Among the forty or so annual honorees has been Mrs. Astor, Mrs. Giovanni Agnelli, Hubert de Givenchy, Anne Cox Chambers, Bill Blass, Dr. and Mrs. Henry Kissinger, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Langone, Mr. and Mrs. James Marcus, Anthony J. F. O’Reilly, Laurance Rockefeller, Emily Fisher Landau, Carroll Petrie, Professor Iris Love, Mrs. Elmer Bobst, former Mayor Giuliani, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Steinhardt and Mrs. Joseph (Poppi) Thomas.

This year they also honored Danno, Dignon, Parker and Rafferty, Explosive Detection Canines from the NYSD Bomb Squad who were their with their exceptional handlers, Detectives Greg Abbate, Roger Mack, Kenneth Dean and Joseph Trancho. The dogs, are you can see for yourself, are beauties.

Just before they made their appearance, Stephen Lash had auctioned off a big stuffed toy-like dog bone for several hundreds of dollars. On making their appearance at the podium, one of the canines immediately spotted the “dog bone” and went right for it. Once in his mouth, he was doing what dogs do with these toys, waving it around in his teeth. Soon another one of the dogs got into the act and tried to take it away. Soon a canine tug of war was underway, wagging tails and all. The humans loved it. So did the canines. You could say they provided the evening’s entertainment for a roomful of people who would almost rather watch dogs play than anything else.

Mr. Lash also announced that The Animal Medical Center provides free animal healthcare to all Seeing Eye Dogs in the city. This is a great expense, running to more than $400,000 a year. There was a brief, albeit not very successful auction to raise some money to cover that expense.

There was also a brief appearance of some of the Seeing Eye Dog puppies who are in training. Cuties, and cuddly, all. The venue for all this is also one of those awe-inspiring New York locations.

Chris Leasure, Dr. Bill Muir, and Alison Minton