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Dancing with the Dogs

Tenth annual Humane Society fundraiser combines fundraising, dogs, and dancing.

Mary Broumand sat in a ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda among 300 well-dressed guests. As the results of a silent auction were announced Broumand took a bite of her Caesar salad, and a fuzzy head popped up out of her lap to see what was going on. That fuzzy head belonged to Beara, Broumand’s 2-year-old Shih Tzu-Yorkshire terrier mix. Sporting a University of Florida T-shirt, Beara surveyed the table and looked at the lettuce dangling from Broumand’s fork.

“She’s excited about tomorrow’s game,” Broumand said.

Beara wasn’t alone in the sea of white linens and neckties — far from it. At the 10th annual Montgomery County Humane Society’s Dances with Dogs, Beara was in good company. Nearby were four-legged companions wearing bowties, checkered vests, and miniature top hats.

Some say that dogs and their owners begin to look alike after a certain amount of time. Bobbie Resnick sped up that transformation — she and her 9-year-old black Lab mix wore matching leopard print tops on Friday night.

“This is my favorite event of all the events you go to,” said Broumand, Assistant Vice President at the BB&T Bank branch in Potomac Village, who said that she attended last year’s event as well.

The annual event brings together supporters of the Montgomery County Humane Society for a night of socializing, fundraising — and dogs. Of the approximately 300 attendees Friday night, roughly a third of them brought their dogs.

“It’s nice to have dogs in a public place and everyone can see how well-behaved they are,” said Neil Janachek, who brought — and for most of the evening carried — his 4 1/2-year-old pug Rex.

This year’s festivities included a silent auction followed by a dinner and a live auction. Victoria Jones of Talk Radio News Service served as the emcee for Friday’s festivities. She spoke of the high adoption rate for all animals at the Humane Society’s county shelter in Rockville for all animals, not just dogs. As she spoke, a dog let out a yelp.

“You see that? They’re already barking — they heard ‘feline’ and they’re off,” said Jones.

In the year since it opened more than 500 animals have been placed through the county’s Stone Street shelter in Rockville , said J.C. Crist, the president of the Montgomery County Humane Society. The adoption rate for all animals at the county shelter is 92 percent.

“We know we can improve on our success so we can continue to place all of our adoptable animals in homes,” Crist said.

“That’s a record that we can all be proud of,” WUSA-9 news anchor J.C. Hayward said. “MCHS is really on its way to becoming a model [shelter] for the rest of the country. … Every animal that comes to the shelter gets food … and another chance at living in a home where they are loved,” said Hayward.

Once the auction was finished there was a parade of dogs around the dance floor, and then the dancing started, with the lion’s share of guests hitting the floor with their dogs.