|A barking good time|
By Jessica Seubert
As guests entered into the lavish Lakewood Ranch Country Club, they were greeted by a pair of finely dressed ?honorees? ? Virgil and Mrs. Wilson. Both dogs from the Humane Society of Manatee County, Virgil wore his best tuxedo and did his best to behave while Mrs. Wilson looked fabulous in a ruffled dress and painted nails. After guests had a picture taken with the duo, they continued into the lounge, where, although it wasn?t cold out, the fireplace was lit and let off a cozy glow.
Prior to dinner, more than 200 guests gathered for mingling and cocktails before being ushered upstairs into the main ballroom. More mingling ensued on the balcony as the sunset, but eventually attendees settled inside for the presentation of the ?Best-y Awards,? the Humane Society?s form of the Oscars. Nate Benderson of Benderson Development received the ?Humane-itarian Award? for donating a matching gift of $75,000 to the organization that will go toward renovations of the Humane Society barn that houses many animals. Besides the award, a part of the barn will also be named ?Nate?s Place? in his honor. Other people receiving awards that evening were Lindalee Anderson, for her fostering and adoption of cats received the Cats Meow Award, and Mary Lupi, who received the Visionary Angel award. The evening rounded out with the sounds of The Venturas before guests headed home for the night. Although it was the first time for Black Tie and Tails, chairwoman Cindy Morton, said that with the success of this one, ?there will definitely be more to come.?