Humane Society’s Fur Ball gala returns in-person

Richard Bockoff

The San Diego Humane Society will host its 35th annual Fur Ball Gala in person at its San Diego office on Oct. 2, after holding the event virtually last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a terrific event,” said Del Mar resident Richard Bockoff, a member of the San Diego Humane Society’s board of directors. “It’s just a fun, wonderful, feel-good event. There’s like 200 dogs there, they’re well behaved, and we celebrate our accomplishments. It’s been a tough two years.”

Bockoff, who has practiced law in Michigan at his own law firm and remained active in a number of philanthropic causes, has been working with the board to make sure the event will be safe. He said he’s looking forward to seeing everyone in person again.

“This board and these committees have become part of my life,” he said. “They’re part of my social life and to be reconnected with them in person really feels good. It’s like getting together with family after a year’s abstinence.”

Since his first childhood dog, a white mutt named Pal, Bockoff has been “an animal guy.” He also remembers Sam, a German shepherd who showed up one day at his fraternity house at the University of Michigan.

“I don’t know how he found his way to the fraternity house, but Sam ate pizza and drank beer and went to the campus with us when classes started and hung out,” Bockoff said. “Some classes he went to. He was one of the guys.”

About 10 years ago, he realized how much of a passion he had for animals. In Bockoff’s role with San Diego Social Venture Partners, a nonprofit that supports nonprofits, he led the merger between the animal rescue organization PAWS and the San Diego Humane Society in 2014.

He also said he marvels at the wide array of animals the San Diego Humane Society cares for, from dogs and cats to birds, rats and a hippo in Ramona.

Looking ahead, Bockoff said he wants to raise the San Diego Humane Society’s profile throughout the region.

“How do we let it be known? We’re the best-kept secret,” he said.

Carmel Valley resident Brian Daugherty, senior vice president of the San Diego Humane Society, said in a statement that Bockoff is “an essential contributor to our work, from rolling up his sleeves as a volunteer at community events to shaping our organization’s strategic direction and helping us achieve our major fundraising goals.”
For more on the San Diego Humane Society, visit For more on the Fur Ball Gala, go to