2010 Rubbing Noses for PALS

Mason Gepp

“It’s going to be sexy, okay?” says E. Vincent Martinez. “It’s going to be sexy.”

This was Martinez’s reaction in anticipation of the Rubbing Noses Fashion Show that took place on Sept. 26th. The annual event was anything but ordinary, including a dog by the side of every model that took to the runway and this year the new addition of three vivacious drag queens. The show was held at Lambert Place and was conducted to raise funds for the non-profit organization Pets Are Loving Support (P.A.L.S.).

P.A.L.S. is a non profit directed at helping people that are living with terminal diseases, disabilities, or senior citizens keep their pets. The organization began as a grassroots, non-profit about 15 years ago, and originally it aimed to help HIV patients keep their pets. Later, it expanded to include the terminally ill and elderly. P.A.L.S. helps those in need by taking their pet to a veterinary clinic and providing food.

“For most of them, their pet companion is their child,” P.A.L.S executive director Kevin Bryant said. “That’s the reason they get out of bed in the morning. If someone is sick, say they have been diagnosed with cancer and or disability, they receive a very small amount of money. Paying their medical bills and living is hard enough for them.”

Bryant, an avid animal lover, moved to Atlanta when Denver, Colorado, passed a law stating that he could no longer live there and keep his pit bull mix.

“I wasn’t going to get rid of my dog,” Bryant said.

Once in Atlanta, Bryant began volunteering for P.A.L.S, and, within six months, he became the director.

Martinez hopped on the bandwagon after working with P.A.L.S. on Doggies on the Catwalk. The show went so well that Martinez was invited by P.A.L.S. to join the Board of Directors.

P.A.L.S. is now bigger than ever, with an outreach to over 13 counties.

“What I would like to see is the outreach coming to a point where we can actually help everyone in GA, but the problem right now is you have to come to us,” Bryant said. “If you’re in one of these other counties that is 40 miles away you have to come to us to see our veterinarians and get food from us.”

P.A.L.S. would like to gain connections with veterinarians in other counties that could provide the same discount they receive from the local veterinarians that support their cause.

Another challenge that P.A.L.S faces is the economy.

“Every non profit has been hit just as hard as any corporate function, and obtaining funds for operation, for our clients, for our mission, is always a challenge,” Martinez said. “That’s why these fundraisers are important. If we continue to bring in income, we can grow to meet the needs of our clients.”

Martinez had high hopes for the Rubbing Noses fundraiser.

“The goal tonight is to give our community a great time, a great event, a great fashion show and raise enough operating funds to continue to serve our clients,” Martinez said.

The annual Rubbing Noses event started out as a high-end show that included labels such as Versace and flew in models from New York, but the cost of the show became such a burden that P.A.L.S. decided to discontinue it. Bryant, however, loved the idea so much that he reinstated the show when his term as executive director began.

“We started small, we found a venue that would donate the space and now in our fourth year there are not a lot of expenses involved in it,” Bryant said. “We can have one sponsor and pay for all the expenses. We stand to make a lot of money for this event.”

To add spark this year, P.A.L.S. asked several drag queens to model. Both Bryant and Martinez hoped that the drag queens would add personality and help the show stay on the cutting edge.

“It’s a great twist.” Martinez said. “It’s unexpected and it’s all in good fun. They’re going to be show stoppers.”

Whether or not the show does well, Martinez is happy to be a part of P.A.L.S.

“I believe that no matter what your age, you are never too young or too old to do something philanthropic,” Martinez said. “P.A.L.S is a great cause, I believe in it. I’m glad to be in a position where I am able to help other people, to volunteer my time, do something fun and do something good for the community.”














PALS could not produce this event without the generosity of so many sponsors who graciously provide their time, energy and resources. A huge "Thank You" goes out at the models & doggies, David Boswell of the Boy Next Door, Richie Arpino, DJ Pat Scott, Lasting Impressions, Bubba D. Licious, Nicole Paige Brooks, Bianca Nicole, silent & live auction contributors and of course, our beautiful venue the Lambert Place!