By Hanna Plotnik

High-end home design is going to the dogs!

More than a dozen Valley home builders, engineers, interior designers and architects are hard at work putting together “haute” dog houses for the fifth annual Design for Dogs competition on Feb. 22 at the Facings of America Showroom in Scottsdale.

These swanky pet palaces will vie for the honor of “Best in Show,” decided by a panel of judges, and “People’s Choice,” selected by event attendees and online voters. All homes are also donated to a silent auction that benefits the state’s oldest and largest no-kill shelter, the Arizona Animal Welfare League.

Proceeds from the event allow AAWL to put a roof over more than 4,000 homeless pets’ heads every year. In 2017, Facings of America raised $20,000 for the shelter.

“Dogs make a house a home, and that’s something we really value at Facings of America,” said Richard van Gilse, owner of the Scottsdale-based showroom. “We love being able to give back and put the spotlight on an organization as wonderful as AAWL.”

Phoenix-based Creo Architects has participated in the competition since it began in 2015. Last year’s submission would have been right at home in Hobbiton and the prior years was a dog nook nestled into the modern curves of a coffee table.

“This is one of our favorite projects of the year,” said Creo founder and principal, Jack Leonard.

In addition to walking the Facings of America showroom filled with dog houses, ticket holders receive a wristband redeemable for food, wine, beer and organic vodka provided by local vendors. The night will also include music, adoptable dogs looking for some ear scratches, raffle prizes and a puppy kissing booth!

“Thanks to Facings of America and the Valley professionals participating in Design for Dogs, we are able to rescue thousands of animals from all over Arizona,” said Judith Gardner, executive director of AAWL.

AAWL was founded in 1971 by a group of concerned animal lovers led by Amanda Blake, who played Miss Kitty on the television program “Gunsmoke.” AAWL started out small scale, but by the late 1970s, the organization built its first shelter.

Over the past 44 years, AAWL has grown from adopting a handful of animals each year to a full-service animal welfare organization and leader in innovative behavior training, medical care, adoption, education and community outreach programs. Many of the animals that AAWL rescues come from rural shelters in Arizona, where animals are more likely to be euthanized due to the lack of resources to care for them.

Design for Dogs is on Feb. 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 from Feb.1 through 21 and $55 at the door. To purchase tickets, visit To learn more about AAWL and see its adoptable cats and dogs, visit