Canine Companions Tales & Tails Gala

Expanding and enhancing the Canine Companions’ annual gala to make it the foremost fundraising platform for Canine Companions nationally.

The Brief

In 1996, the inaugural Tales & Tails gala took place at SeaWorld Orlando. Over time, it had grown stagnant and was in need of a rejuvenation. Canine Companions Southeast Region then reached out to MLB Creative to assist in revitalizing, expanding, and boosting the annual gala’s revenue.

The work

Event Theming

Logo Design



Direct Mail

Event Landing Page UI/UX

Social Content Creation


THE work

There’s a lot of it (and it’s not all shown here). Click on the thumbnails below to bounce down to each of the Gala sections.

2014 The Music City Experience

MLB Creative successfully revitalized an 18-year-old fundraising event by implementing fresh branding and messaging. We created an engaging “Music City Experience” theme centered around Nashville-based Blue Sky Riders, capturing the attention of both previous attendees and new supporters. The results were remarkable, as the event surpassed its ambitious fundraising target by an impressive 125%.


MLB seized the opportunity to infuse a music festival ambiance into the invitation, website, and other materials, setting them apart from the usual conventions.


Taking it to the next level, MLB produced a music video featuring original music composed, produced, and performed by MLB Creative.

2015 The Great American Road Trip

Inspired by the freedom of the open road and the Independence that Canine Companions brings too so many people, we brought the house down with an amazing performance by Bruce Hornsby. We once again exceeded the fundraising amount of the previous year and achieved the highest attendance in the history of the event.


MLB excels at telling an organization’s story. Leveraging the theme of a road trip, we conveyed the tale of Canine Companions in a powerful and unforgettable manner. At the event, Old-time billboards, classic gas tanks and cars were employed as props. Adding to the charm, Canine Companions’ Biker puppy trainers made a special appearance, making this road trip truly memorable.

2016 Star Spangled Celebration

Celebrating Canine Companions 20th anniversary meant that we had to go big. And big we went, drawing a record-setting 735 attendees and surpassing our fundraising goals by 18 percent. Not too bad for an event that started at SeaWorld Orlando in 1996 with 80 people.


The significant anniversary became a jubilant tribute, featuring the colors of red, blue, and (of course) yellow, with a strong patriotic theme that embraced the concept of “independence Day.” The focus was on how these remarkable dogs contribute to making “Everyday Independence Day” possible for those in need. Social media played a crucial role in powerfully narrating their stories. The heartfelt tales of people and their extraordinary canine companions turned this anniversary into an unforgettable and cherished occasion.

2017 Southern Pawspitality

Inspired by the freedom of the open road and the Independence that Canine Companions brings too so many people, we brought the house down with an amazing performance by Bruce Hornsby. We once again exceeded the fundraising amount of the previous year and achieved the highest attendance in the history of the event.


Every chapter received a location-specific invitation tailored to their region. The invitation was uniquely designed with a special fold and style, setting the tone for a warm and friendly welcome, while also building expectations for the event.

2018 It’s The Great Gala Charlie Brown

We were incredibly fortunate to collaborate with Jean Schulz and the esteemed legacy of Charles Schulz’s PEANUTS characters. Ms. Schulz, who has been involved with Canine Companions since 1986 and served as a former President and Secretary of the Board, generously allowed us to utilize the PEANUTS Characters for the 2018 event. The timing was perfect as the gala always is held in October every year, just before Halloween. Ms. Schulz flew to Orlando to join us, making the gala an extraordinary and unforgettable occasion.


Staying true to the theme, MLB skillfully carved sponsor logos into pumpkins, which were then arranged on crates within a faux pumpkin patch. These illuminated pumpkins added a delightful glow to the event and served as a distinctive and creative homage to our valued sponsors.


Facebook was truly a blast this year. We incorporated fun and engaging comic strips, an adventurous pumpkin named Gordy and all things festive and fall.

2019 The Indies

Inspired by smaller independent film awards, our gala theme took a similar scrappy, underdog approach to award those who promote independence.


In the spirit of the event, MLB crafted posters that playfully parodied older films while showcasing the services, mission and benefits of Canine Companions for grassroots advertising. Facebook, once again, played a significant role in promoting the event and setting the anticipated ambiance for this year’s gala. The theme continued to shine during the event itself, with marquees, posters, popcorn machines, and even film movie-inspired auction items..

2020 The Wonderful Land of Paws

Although 2020 didn’t turn out to be the most “wonderful” year. We didn’t skip a beat with this year’s theme. Although everything went virtual we were able to still meet our goals, have some fun and remind people that it takes heart, brains and courage to pave the way to Independence.


In addition to the traditional money raising avenues, we created a virtual yellow brick wall to raise additional funds. Each brick cost $50 allowed people to create a custom greeting and even included a photo.

2021 Twenty Fifth Anniversary

This year’s event revolved around the theme of the 25th anniversary, a celebration filled with all the glitters and shines to honor this significant milestone.

2022 Journey To Independence

The primary objective of Canine Companions is to provide individuals with disabilities with service dogs, empowering them to live more independently. The “Journey to Independence” conveyed the core of the organization through visual elements and stories that portrayed this life-changing journey.


Annually, we design two types of invitations: one intended for sponsors (displayed above), and another for the general public (displayed below). The general invitation took the form of a compact journal, with each page featuring journal-style graphics, narratives, and images, all aimed at captivating and inviting the audience. To explore the complete invitation, please play the video.

2023 Sit. Stay Sparkle.

This sparkling theme was brought to us from the Canine Companions California team. Our job was to adapt it to the Tales & Tails Gala format. We did so by infusing a little love into this sparkling theme. As we wrap up our ninth year of partnership on the gala, MLB is going out on a high note. It was a year that shattered records, and we are delighted to share that Canine Companions is now well-equipped with the tools they need to guarantee the gala’s success in the years ahead.