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Canines and their Companions Raise Money for the
Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence

DANA POINT, Calif. – March 11, 2015 – The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is proud to announce the 2015 dates for The Diamond Ball and Yappy Hour. The Diamond Ball, an annual gala presented Veterans Day Weekend will be held Saturday, November 7. In its fifth season, Yappy Hour returns on Thursday, May 14. Dapper dogs and pampered pups are invited to enjoy complimentary hand-made dog biscuits and refreshing libations including bacon, chicken, and beef flavored water, while their human companions can purchase beer, wine and barbecue. As part of the resort’s Community Footprints program, proceeds from this year’s The Diamond Ball and Yappy Hour will go to support the Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence.

“The response from the local community for The Diamond Ball and Yappy Hour has been nothing short of amazing,” said Bruce Brainerd, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. “The popularity of these two events continues to grow with guests attending from all over Southern California. We are extremely proud that between these two events, we have donated more than $300,000 over the last five years to local animal-related organizations including the Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence, Canine Companions for Independence, Friends of Orange County’s Homeless Pets, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, and Pet Project Foundation. These organizations truly represent our commitment and passion for making a difference and giving back to our community, he added.

The Diamond Ball
Saturday, November 7, 2015
“The Diamond Ball is a gala evening in celebration of Canine Companions for Independence and all the amazing work they do in support of our veterans,” said Brainerd. The Diamond Ball features an extraordinary live and silent auction, lavish four-course dinner presented by the resort’s Executive Chef Brian Sundeen, live music, and dancing. The centerpiece of the evening is The Diamond Drop, a unique opportunity for guests to donate diamonds and other jewelry to the cause. The jewelry is appraised and transformed into an official tax-deductible donation and entry into the evening’s Opportunity Drawing. Visit for more information, to purchase tickets, make an individual contribution, or become a sponsor.

Yappy Hour
Held on The Dana Lawn from 5 to 8 p.m.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Thursday, July 9, 2015
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Thursday, September 10, 2015

Yappy Howl-O-Ween
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Held on the Dana Lawn from 4 to 7 p.m.
Yappy Howl-O-Ween is the chance for pups to strut their stuff in their favorite costume. A panel of judges will determine which canine will take home the prize in the costume categories of Dynamic Duo, Most Creative, Cute and Cuddly and, of course, Best in Show. First place prize in each category is a hand-painted dog bowl by Debby Carman of Faux Paws Productions. Donation to enter the costume contest is $10 per canine.

Yappy Howl-iday Celebration
Sunday, December 6, 2015
Held on the Dana Lawn from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Santa Claus makes a special appearance at the Yappy Howl-iday Celebration. This festive gathering provides Fido with the opportunity to be photographed with the “Big Dog” himself – Santa Claus. Photos can be purchased for a donation of $15. In keeping with the resort’s Season of Giving, guests are asked to bring unopened canned or dry dog food, treats or dog toys to be donated to an animal rescue organization.

For additional information about Yappy Hour, visit

About the Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence
Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) provides highly-trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities. Through CCI’s Wounded Veterans Initiative, veterans with physical disabilities such as hearing loss, limb amputations and spinal cord injuries are served. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has five regional training centers across the country. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people.