How to Host a Dog-Friendly Gala Fundraiser #WigglebuttsUncorked

Dexter on red carpet dog friendly
Posing on the red carpet with Puppy Pad Wizard is Dexter!

18 months in the making, all those preparations, and poof: It’s gone! If you’ve ever planned a dog friendly event, you know how much work goes into it. It must be a labor of love because it becomes all consuming, especially as you near the event.

On Saturday, April 16th, yours truly and her spouse, hosted Wigglebutts Uncorked at America’s Oldest Winery, Brotherhood, in Washingtonville, New York.


NYC Second Chance Rescue is a 501(c)3 formed in 2009. They are of the firm belief that all animals deserve to be loved and cared for, and that no animal should ever be abused, neglected, or homeless. Their mission is to facilitation the adoption/re-homing of animals that have been abandoned or given up by their former owners, and to place them in new loving homes.

Regina Mendoza Wigglebutt Warrior of the Year
Left: Andrea Arden, Regina Mendoza of Second Chance Rescue, Carol Bryant of Fidose of Reality/Wigglebutt Warriors (Photo by Juli Cialone)

Who is Wigglebutt Warriors®?

Fidose of Reality is here to empower and teach others to help dogs who have no home, have been abused/neglected, and are seeking their forever homes. We are doing that through our fundraising arm of the blog, which is called Wigglebutt Warriors. This is our third gala fundraiser, and we are not a big “group.” We are Darlene and Carol Bryant and we are two women on a mission to educate and change the way dogs are treated in this world. We do everything ourselves from the sponsors to the swag bag stuffing to securing a venue to hosting to inviting and so on….and our goal is to help rock rescue and dogs in need!

The funds raised from this benefit pet-welcoming gala fundraiser go to NYC Second Chance Rescue.

The fundraiser took place on April 16, 2016, with an after party on Sunday, April 17th. It was our most spectacular, wigglebutt inducing, smile-filled, event to date. Here’s how it went down, pawprint by pawprint:

wigglebutts uncorked

Guest Arrival and Red Carpet

Diamond and Premier Sponsors hosted the red carpet welcome, where guests, including 200 humans, 60 dogs, and one couture cat, hit the red carpet to pose, have a souvenir photo snapped, and so that the memories could be shared with media post event.


Brotherhood Winery served as the location for the gala fundraiser. The rich history and gorgeous decor added to the fundraising flavor of the evening. It is located in Washingtonville, New York, and about an hour and 20 minutes from New York City.

Here are some red carpet moments taken by official event photographer, Juli Dritz Cialone of Cialone Photography:

Cute dogs in clothes

Women of SCR


Pup Scouts red carpet

Cocker Spaniels
Dexter and his girl, Coco Chanel Bella, on the red carpet pre-event (Carol Bryant photo)

An hour of getting seated and mingling along with some delicious hors d’oeuvres and getting pets into selfies followed. At 7 p.m., the magic of the evening began. Guests sat down to this beautiful setting, with a swag bag of amazingness, filled with toys, coupons, treats, special offers, and much more.

Wigglebutts Uncorked

Also at the place setting was a gift from sponsor Dancing Dog Soap Company.

Wigglebutts Uncorked place setting

Vow Renewal

Lorien Clemens, the 2014 Women in the Pet Industry Woman of the Year, and Executive with PetHub, took to the microphone to introduce Andrea Arden.

Wigglebutts Uncorked photo
Left to right: Carol Bryant, Lorien Clemens, Ryan Vayo of My Pet Harmony, Andrea Arden; photo Juli CIalone

On television, Andrea can be seen on Animal Planet’s shows Dogs101, Cats101, Pets101, and America’s Cutest Dog and America’s Cutest Cat. She was the trainer for Underdog to Wonderdog and The Pet Department, FX’s Emmy award winning daily show, and is a frequent contributor for the Today Show, Live with Kelly and Michael, and numerous other media outlets.

And then the vow renewal of Carol and Darlene Bryant began. Here is the official page from the gala program that explains it all and why a vow renewal took place at a dog friendly fundraiser:

vow renewal

Reverend Ann Marie Acacio served as official celebrant of the ceremony, and she is the original reverend who married us on June 12, 2014, after being together for then 20-years.

Our dear friends came from all over the country and Canada to celebrate:

Vow renewal
Darlene and Carol Bryant with flowergirl Zola and bridal escort, Dexter

Lorien Clemens performed a stunning solo of the Linda Eder song, “It’s Only Love,” and official videographer, Audrey Black of Pure Love Films, captured the evening. Bryn Nowell of A Dog Walks Into a Bar taped the entire ceremony, and expect a video to follow on the blog soon.

Bridal party Wigglebutts Uncorked
Bridal party

Smorgasbark and Dinner/Dessert

After a very happy tear-inducing vow renewal, the official Smorgasbark for the evening opened for all dogs and cat in attendance. Dr. Harvey’s serves fine health foods (and more) for companion animals. A complete bar was on display, and food was dished out in disposable bowls and made fresh on the spot. Each guest received a Dr. Harvey’s packet of nom noms to take home. Warning: The Power Patties and Coconut Smiles are oh-so-addictive. My dog cries for them!

Dr Harveys Wigglebutts Uncorked
photo: Bryn Nowell

Human guests feasted on a wonderful array of dishes served buffet style.

Carol’s maid of honor, Christine Aiello, baked and decorated a gorgeous three-tiered wedding cake for guests:

wedding cake

And Sweet Paws Bakery gave each guest a wine bottle doggie treat with a slice of doggie cake from their yum-tastic bakery:

Dog wedding cake
Coco and Dexter prepare for a piece of doggie wedding cake from Sweet Paws Bakery.

Merrick Pet Care and Baby Joey

Baby Joey is a dog who was saved by Second Chance Rescue.  He was found as a puppy with nearly both of his rear paws chopped off: By an unspeakable monster. There is but one thing that will trump the horror of monsters: And that is love. Our friends at NYC Second Chance Rescue are fostering Baby Joey, who is seeking a forever home.  His foster mom, Regina Mendoza, is herself an unspoken hero, fostering over 120 dogs in her just over a year’s time. That’s a whole lotta love and a really big heart.

Well, Baby Joey’s care has been assisted by the amazing folks at Merrick Pet Care: From his therapy to his treatments to his prosthetic limbs x2. And to top it all off, Joey has been growing and thriving and eating Merrick Classic Dog Food, see?

Baby Joey took center stage after a very amazing #BestDayEver video that will follow soon. He ran a lap of sorts with his foster mom, and he really is a true love bug. His doggie DNA was tested and his forever family will adopt a pooch with the following breeds: (and you know you know someone who would love this boy, right?) Yep, that’s right: Help us get Baby Joey a loving, forever home!


Regina and Baby Joey
Photo: Juli Cialone

My Pet Harmony

The founders of My Pet Harmony, Rick and Ryan Vayo, also Diamond Level Sponsors of the event, took center stage. My Pet Harmony strives to efficiently match people with the perfect pet waiting for them at an animal shelter and to generate and sustain a population of responsible and happy pet owners.

The Vayos shared news about Landis, who was rescued by Second Chance Rescue, adopted by the Vayos, and is now a success story, see? Landis won a Wiggy Award for Outstanding Rescue Pet:

Pit bull wins award
Photo Juli Cialone

The Pup Scouts

Next, the cutest ensemble of singers and their dog moms took center stage. Remember being a Cub Scout or a Girl Scout? Imagine if someone did the same for dogs and created PupScouts, where dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages are welcome to earn a variety of badges, have fun, and help others less fortunate. Someone did, and that someone is Susan Godwin and Jennifer Jo Moyer.

Our dog, Dexter, is a PupScout and he has earned badges for many things. Your dog can be a PupScout no matter where you live. There is even an online group!

Members from the founding troop performed two songs and earned their singing badges, set to the tunes of For Once In My Life and You Are My Sunshine:

The 2016 Wiggy Awards

The Wiggys are awards that honor dogs (and cats) in a variety of categories and celebration of giving back. This year’s Wiggy Awards are sponsored by My Pet Harmony. For the entire judging process, the winners, and the prizes, be sure to:

CLICK THIS: Wiggy Award Winners 2016

Dog with trophy
Coco Chanel Bella poses with a trophy from the Wiggy Awards

Official Doggie Designer

Dexter and his blonde gorgeous girlfriend, Coco Chanel Bella, wore Belle Diva Couture. Me, I wore David’s Bridal 😉

Need apparel for your pooch for Wigglebutts Uncorked (or any occasion): Meet Dexter’s official designer for the event who is taking orders!!! Meet Janice Craig of Belle Diva Couture here.

Here are the canine kids in their finest:

Dogs in clothes
Coco and Dex in their finest ap-paw-rel

Celebrity Sighting

The one and only Chloe Kardoggian TM and her canine pack mate, Angel, attended Wigglebutts Uncorked as exclusive dog media members. In addition, top dogs and cats that are well known on social media were in attendance. Bark is the new black, after all.

Chloe Kardoggian at Wigglebutts Uncorked
Smoochie poochie

Doggie *and Human* Dancing

Fun on the dance floor, of course!

Touch of Class DJ – CT Mikie G spun the dance music and set the mood for the evening. Mikie G is available for your DJ needs and is a fab guy, Cocker dad, and has been our DJ every fundraiser to date. Say hello and check him out:

Touch of Class DJ
Mikie G! Touch of Class DJ

Raffles and Prizes

One lucky attendee won their very own custom miniature of their pet courtesy the one and only Lucy Maloney. You can read all about Lucy here and then look below for the fabulous replica she did of Wigglebutt Warrior founder, Dexter! Lucy Maloney’s Miniature Dogs Are Stunningly Lifelike

The winner is Frank Metzger, who plans to have a beautiful miniature replica of his belated dog made by Lucy. Stay tuned for a blog post about that! Her work is breathtaking.

My dearly departed little girl and the miniature made by Lucy Maloney. <3

Raffle tickets were sold, and the total collected at the event was $2,300 towards the rescue group. Despite my lack of culinary skills, yours truly won the cooking gift basket, so look out and warn the Fire Department *giggle*

Other prizes that were available for raffle included:

  • Juli Cialone Photographer Professional Portrait Setting
  • Petzi Treat Cams (2)
  • Big Barker Dog Bed
  • Sadie and Co signed book
  • Trendy Pet Treat Jar
  • A Year’s Supply of Dog Food from Merrick Pet Care
  • Custom Dog Coat Made by De
  • $125 custom pet portrait from Two Brunettes Shop
  • Gift set from Dog is Good
  • 4KNines car cover
  • PetHub gift certificates
  • 4 tickets to the New York Mets
  • A golf package
  • A tennis package
  • Sunday Brunch Package
  • Pasta Night package
  • Yoag package
  • Rock and Roll package
  • Basket with wine and 6 hand painted wine glasses
  • Earrings
  • Necklace
  • Bette Midler ensemble
  • 3 dog baskets
  • A vegan tote, with 2 gift certificates

Merrick Dog Food

Diamond Necklace from Zales

A $600 dollar diamond necklace courtesy My Pet Harmony was raffled off, which merited a donation of $750 for the rescue group. YAY! Winner selected from all raffle tickets sold at $5 a piece was Vicki Gagne, with reports coming in that she has not removed the necklace since winning it.

Win a Diamond Pendant

Next Day After Party

The after party took place at Warwick Winery in Warwick, New York, where about 40 dogs and their paw-rents dined and celebrated on the dog-welcoming and cat-welcoming patio. The after-after party took place at the Hampton Inn Middletown, where dog treats were given to all the doggies and a cat bag, too!

dog treats

Warwick Winery fun

Cute dogs
Dexter and Baby Joey



Special thanks to every sponsor, including the sponsors here.  The Platinum and Diamond Level Sponsors Included:

My Pet Harmony

Merrick Pet Care

Mutt Mitt

Pet Lifestyle and You (P.L.A.Y.)

Dr. Harvey’s

Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell Feldman

Next Wigglebutt Warriors Move

Stay tuned, as we will have more news and what our next step will be to help dogs in need!!!

Wigglebutt Warriors Dexter


  1. Just fabulous. So enjoyed seeing the recap and photos as reminded me how much fun we had. Fantastic to have raised lots of $ too. Thanks to you and Dar and all the sponsors.

  2. Truly such an amazing event, with so much thought and effort put into it. I’m proud of you! Amazing and really wish I could have been there!

  3. Had the BEST TIME EVER!!!! at your Event… and we were SO very glad to be part of your special day. Set the perfect tone for the rest of the night.

    Can’t wait for next year… thanks again for all you both do for our furry loves.

  4. OMD what a great event and so much money raised. I hope Baby Joey find a great fur-ever home. You two do so much. I would so love to learn how you go about getting such a special event together. I bet that would involve a book. Oh look and eBook on how to put together such a wonderful event. More $’s for rescues, just an idea. I would certainly buy it.

    You did a wonderful thing and wonderful people are the best people to know. I adore you for all that you do for the animals in need.

  5. Thank you for the write-up of a beautiful event. Sorry I was unable to attend. I am
    looking forward to your next event. All your events have been so carefully planned and
    provide such wonderful memories for all attendees – both human and animals – not
    to mention benefiting animals in need.

  6. This is awesome!! I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to participate this year but I love that you are doing this for doggies in need. You rock and Dexter is lucky to have you as a mom! Congrats on the vow renewal too!

  7. This looks like SO MUCH FUN!! I have put on events before and I know how much hard work, effort and energy (and literally blood, sweat and tears) go into pulling something this spectacular off…and it was dog friendly?!?! You are my hero 😉 Congrats to you and Darlene!

  8. That sounds like a wonderful and fun evening, Carol! I bet it took a ton of work and planning, but it sounds likeit was totally worth it. I’m sure Second Chance really appreciates all that you’ve done for them.

  9. Congratulations on pulling off such a beautiful and successful fundraiser! You and Darlene are so pawsome! It looks like it was a very glamorous night with a lot of fun. That cake looks like it was amazing! Of course, the biggest congrats goes to the dogs who benefitted from the fundraiser. 🙂

  10. Congrats on such a successful event – I loved seeing all the pics in this blog post since I feel like I get a preview in social posts. It was such a beautiful event and I know you spent countless hours pulling all of these details together. Event planning is really hard and I admire you for hosting an awesome event the important animal welfare orgs benefit from.

  11. Wow! It looks like it was an amazing event. Well done Carol!!! I’m very sorry the Parker Pack were not able to attend. Hopefully you will do another one.

  12. Everything looks amazing! I know it was a lot of hard work, but I’m glad that you two are such generous and loving people. Thanks for making the world a better place to be!

  13. I missed seeing you all so much – and just so glad and joy filled that you had such a wonderful turn out!! You and Darlene are such blessings, where love and giving back reign. You are angels – bless you both!!

  14. Oh God how I wish I didn’t miss this!!!!! OMG it all looked glorious!!! The doggie smorgasbark cracked me up!!!
    LOVE your color choice of purple, the cake looked scrumptious……….the setting? Charming, like a storybook. UGH! UGH! UGH!!!
    Just showed this to Lenny too…….you and Dar looked GORGEOUS, Dex….so handsome!
    Girlfriend, you should be a special events coordinator among your many other talents!!!!
    I soooooooooo wish Lenny and I had been able to come!!!

  15. I wish I loved closer so I could attend something like this! The opportunity to get all dressed up AND bring my pet along sounds like my idea of a good time! How often do you get to do these?

  16. What a wonderful, swanky affair! Great turnout. Baby Joey looks amazing, and so happy. That little boy deserves a beautiful life, I hope he finds a fabulous, loving home. I look forward to upcoming posts on the affair, especially the wedding video! It’s so beautiful that you & Dar shared the renewal of your vows at this very special event! I’m proud to be one of the sponsors of this wonderful fundraising event!

  17. oh how I wish I could’ve been there!! I’m so happy to see all the love, joy, and kindness that reigned supreme at wigglebutts uncorked. Pet people are the best!! Much love to you and Dar!

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