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Pooches Meet Politics: The 21st Annual Bark Ball

There were quite a few accidents at the Washington Humane Society’s annual gala Saturday night. This was to be expected, however, as nearly half of the evening’s attendees were of the four-legged variety. Perhaps the 400 or so pups were simply marking the occasion (sorry, we can’t help ourselves) of the 21st annual Bark Ball, a benefit for the WHS, which provides adoption, spaying, and neutering services, behavior and learning programs, and more.

Photographs by Rachel Cothran. 

Want to see more photos from Washington events and parties? Click here for Washingtonian.com's photo slideshow page.

Animals and owners alike were dressed to the ca-nines (okay, we’ll stop now—really) and received the red-carpet treatment upon arrival at DC’s Renaissance Hotel. At the dog bar, there were plentiful treats provided by Doggie Style Bakery, while dog owners bid on auction items including dinner with Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema (we assume no were dogs allowed for that one); that item went for upward of $900.

No event in Washington is complete without politics, and the Clinton/Obama events of this past week had both mouths and tails wagging. One booth offered organic treats in the shape of a donkey and an elephant, so a rather informal election was held to determine the party favorite. Later, event chair David Gregory announced that the Republicans had taken the lead.

Across the room, however, a trio of auction items told a different story, this time from a human perspective: gem-encrusted pins for each of the recent presidential hopefuls—John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama—all donated by Washington power jeweler Ann Hand. By the close of the auction, Obama had won by a landslide, with a $150 bid over Clinton’s $60 bid and McCain’s $55.

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