“This year we are doing a roaring ’20s theme, which we planned for last year,” Mirah Horowitz says with a laugh. “It didn’t quite happen because obviously we couldn’t do the event, so we’re just rolling it over to this year.”
Horowitz is the founder and executive director of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a volunteer nonprofit focused on rescuing homeless, neglected and abandoned animals and placing them with foster families or a forever home. She and her team are responsible for the rescue’s signature event: Casino Night. This fall, the annual gala celebrates its eighth year and invites guests to sport their best Great Gatsby-inspired cocktail attire.
Held in Arlington, Virginia, the gala will be styled like a Vegas casino with tables for craps, roulette, blackjack and a money wheel. At the end of the night, guests can use remaining chips — if they manage to hold onto them — to purchase raffle tickets and win prizes. Raffle tickets are also available to buy. The gala will also have food and an open bar with specialty drinks and cocktails made with Titos.
With the return of in-person events, Horowitz has enjoyed her share of excitement — though with the surge in coronavirus cases and Delta variant, nerves follow closely.
“I can’t wait to see the supporters of Lucky Dog,” Horowitz says. “I missed them terribly last year. But I also feel very responsible for ensuring everyone is safe and that they don’t have to worry about coronavirus while attending Casino Night.”
Guests are asked to come fully vaccinated and wear a face mask during the event, except while eating or drinking. For those not yet ready for large-scale in-person events, the event offers an online option as well.
Despite last year’s Casino Night being held virtually, Horowitz says the event was better than she could have hoped for.
“We were really able to share the incredible work we’re doing during a very difficult time,” Horowitz says. “The funds we raised at Casino Night and last year at Lucky Dog Live are part of what [kept] us going throughout the year.”
This year, Lucky Dog is hoping to raise between $100,000-$150,000. Lucky Dog has responded to Hurricane Ida with funds raised thus far, rescuing about 25 animals from the impacted Southeastern region.
“A number of the shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi evacuated ahead of the storm, some to us directly,” Horowitz says. “We’re working really hard to get animals out of harm’s way and into shelters and rescues which can find these dogs and cats forever homes.”
With how the pandemic has fluctuated adoption, fostering and surrendering rates, Horowitz says right now there is a lull in adoptions, as families are looking for the freedom to travel and move around as the country reopens in waves. It’s events like the gala which keep Lucky Dog’s arms open to animals and able to deliver the care they need.
With the importance of the event, Horowitz is keeping her options open to change Covid procedures as the pandemic continues to develop so guests can safely celebrate the new decade.
“I just want to make sure we do everything right,” Horowitz says. “And I’m confident that we will.”
Lucky Dog’s annual Casino Night gala is October 9 from 7-11 p.m. To purchase tickets, which range from $30 for online to $115-200 in person, visit the event page. Online guests will have opportunities to win prizes and can sign up for a wine tasting through Wine Access. Various upgrades and sponsorships available.