The saying “A dog is a man’s best friend” was truly celebrated the evening of Nov. 9 at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel for its first annual Diamond Ball gala, a special event that raised funds and awareness for animal-related charities. Intentionally held over Veterans Day weekend, the hotel rolled out the red carpet for more than 200 attendees, as well as veterans and their furry four-legged friends, in benefit of the Wounded Veteran Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence, which matches highly trained assistance dogs with injured veterans. The event also raised funds for Friends of Orange County’s Homeless Pets, which aligns homeless and unwanted pets with a forever family. The evening began on the outdoor terrace with a cocktail hour and a silent auction, where attendees and their pooches mixed and mingled. Additionally, guests could participate in The Diamond Drop Extravaganza, a chance to donate gems and jewelry in support of the cause. Afterward, guests were led into The Pacific Promenade room, where they were treated to a four-course dinner presented by Executive Chef Pedro Contreras as well as live music and live auction. Following dinner, the energetic evening continued well into the night with dancing and music played by a disc jockey on the ballroom’s dance floor. In fact, a few of the true stars of the evening—the canines—even joined in, as well. —A.T.