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Animal Friends' Black Tie & Tails fundraiser fetches $400K

| Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, 8:52 p.m.
Marleen Ashton with Barriston during Black Tie & Tails â?? Animal Friends at the Circuit Center on Saturday, November 3, 2012. Mike Mancini | For the Tribune Review
Jack and Christine Tumpson during Black Tie & Tails â?? Animal Friends at the Circuit Center on Saturday, November 3, 2012. Mike Mancini | For the Tribune Review
Sarah McKean, Betty Rich and Cindy Russell during Black Tie & Tails â?? Animal Friends at the Circuit Center on Saturday, November 3, 2012. Mike Mancini | For the Tribune Review
Patty and David Swisher during Black Tie & Tails â?? Animal Friends at the Circuit Center on Saturday, November 3, 2012. Mike Mancini | For the Tribune Review
Christy Bostardi during Black Tie & Tails â?? Animal Friends at the Circuit Center on Saturday, November 3, 2012. Mike Mancini | For the Tribune Review
Traci Borst during Black Tie & Tails â?? Animal Friends at the Circuit Center on Saturday, November 3, 2012. Mike Mancini | For the Tribune Review
Bill Chisnell during Black Tie & Tails â?? Animal Friends at the Circuit Center on Saturday, November 3, 2012. Mike Mancini | For the Tribune Review
Dot Javorski and Doc during Black Tie & Tails â?? Animal Friends at the Circuit Center on Saturday, November 3, 2012. Mike Mancini | For the Tribune Review

The social calendar has been a whirlwind of nonstop seeing and being seen this season, but when Animal Friends unleashed the tickets for its Black Tie & Tails: Best of Show, those swearing by a good-thing-comes-to-those-who-wait mentality found themselves at a clear disadvantage.

“We sold out earlier than ever before ... about a week in advance,” said AF's Jolene Miklas. “We were scrambling to get people in.”

“People” in this scenario could be better described as a small tribe — 504, to be exact — who were filtering into the Circuit Center on the South Side, albeit slowly, thanks to a crew of adoptable fur balls getting quite a bit of lovin' affection.

Cocktail hour, and the who's who enjoyed some VIPre-game, which saw honorary chairs Christine andJack Tumpson making the rounds. In the heated tented area, mini-family reunions were had for Catherine and Mark Loevner, their daughter, Caroline and her therapy dog, Beau, and Howard and Rosemary Loevner, as well as for siblings Mary Zappala (with Steve) and Tim McVay (with David Bush).

As the rest of the pack began piling in, board prexy Marleen Ashton found herself the center of attention thanks to a puppy nestling in her arms, AF prez David and Patty Swisher chatted with Jimmy and Hedy Krenn, and Bob andJanine Fragasso did some mingling.

A lengthy live auction competed somewhat for the spotlight as partygoers — including co-chairwomen Sarah McKean, Betty Rich and Cindy Russell, Melanie Leventon, Cris Winter, Kelly Swart and artists Harry Giglio, Dave Klug, Martha Rial and Wayno — sought out some familiar faces, although attention spans clearly remained intact, given the $400K fetched by eve's end.

No doubt, glass half-empty is not an option for this group of dedicated volunteers, foster parents, staff and friends whose unsparing support and open hearts ensure there is no lack of TLC to go around for every pet waiting for a forever home.

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