Society / Featured Parties

Celebrity Pet of the Year Revealed at Houston Paws Gala — 35 Years of Helping Animals and Counting

The Bayou City's Animal Lovers Step Up

BY // 11.23.21

What: Citizens for Animal Protection 35th Celebrity Paws Gala

Where: The Royal Sonesta Hotel

PC Moment: In addition to the parade of pets and their owners in competition for Celebrity Pet of the Year, the event included all manner of entertainments including costumed greeters on stilts, a roving photo booth, a silent auction, a wine pull and a second line band to lead the merrymakers into the ballroom which was dressed in light-up gift boxes, balloon decor and colorful florals by ArtAttack. As the song “Celebration” marked the start of the program, dancers from J&D Entertainment juked and jived down the runway that would soon welcome the pet parade, organized by Lenny Matuszewski.

Applause, applause for chairs Meghan Cornelius and Katie Gibson and honorary chair Edna Meyer-Nelson for leading the night to record-breaking proceeds of $800,000, part of came from the raffle for a 2021 Subaru Forester, donated by West Houston Subaru.

Honoree Kappy Muenzer, CAP executive director emeritus, was recognized for her 47 years of service to the nonprofit including a lengthy stint as executive director. During her tenure, Muenzer founded the Celebrity Paws Gala and oversaw building of CAP’s state-of-the-art shelter on the Katy Freeway at Barker Cypress Road. In addition to being honored with songs by Space City Singers, a poem written by Mike Moriarty, a city proclamation, and a portrait from Gittings, Muenzer received two standing ovations from the 580 guests.

Celebrity Pet of the Year winner Mica Piro with Baby photo by Jacob Power
Celebrity Pet of the Year Baby with Mica Piro at the Citizens for Animal Protection Celebrity Paws gala, held at the Royal Sonesta. (Photo by Jacob Power)

With KPRC meteorologist Frank Billingsley reprising his role as emcee, numerous awards were presented: the Melcher Humanitarian of the Year Award  Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust and Houston PetSet; CAP Cherished Companions, Marian and Austin Cornelius; recipient of the Celebrity Paws Hall of Fame honor Debra Paget Kung; and the Share the Love Award to Linda Schmuck and Todd Zucker, who have fostered more than 250 animals. A Pinnacle Award was given to Gloria and Frank Meszaros of West Houston Subaru for reaching a milestone of more than 13,000 sponsored adoptions in 10 years of partnership with Citizens for Animal Protection.

Elizabeth Anthony

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Taking honors as Celebrity Pet of the Year was Baby, the proud pooch of Mica Piro.

PC Seen: CAP executive director Sandi Mercado, Robin and Lance Deutsch, Patricia and Sig Cornelius, Nancy and Franco Valobra, Laura Ward, Bruce Padilla and Shelby Kibodeaux, Leila Perrin, Beth Wolff, Doris and Roy Hood, Evelyn and Steve Quick, Trini Mendenhall, and CAP board president Mary Kenner.

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