Cats and dogs got the chance to strut their stuff Saturday in a pet fashion show at the Dover Mall, an event intended to help more than a dozen animals find loving homes.
Cats and dogs from First State Animal Center and SPCA got the chance to strut their stuff Saturday in a pet fashion show at the Dover Mall, an event intended to help more than a dozen animals find loving homes as part of the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.
The animals rocked the catwalk in style, donning tutus, bandanas, and even a hat and bowtie, as they strut to hit tunes from Lorde and other notable musicians.
The fashion show ─ a collaborative event presented by the Dover Mall and the First State Animal Center and SPCA ─ resulted in six animals being successfully adopted with three cats and three dogs.
Cats and dogs previously adopted out by the First State Animal Center and SPCA – referred to as “alumni” – also were showcased during the fashion show, which even featured a few human models sporting fashions from shops in the mall.
The fashion show helped convince James Mavrogeorge and his wife, Miranda, to leave the mall with a new member of their family: a grey kitten named Baked Potato.
“We were at the mall and we’ve been thinking about getting a cat or dog for a little while, so my wife kind of wanted to check it out,” the Dover resident said.
One of the first animals to be adopted on Saturday was a black kitten named French Fry. Aidan Farmington, 6, and his sister Irelynn Farmington, 8, saw the kitty in the fashion show and decided they had to have it.
When asked why Aidan fell in love with the delicious kitten, he responded, “Because I like French Fries!”
“I like her name, and so I want to adopt her,” he added.
The siblings’ mother, Jodi Farmington, said French Fry would most likely be renamed to Ninji, because her son is also a fan of ninjas.
FSAC-SPCA competes for $100K
The idea behind the pet fashion show stemmed from the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, a national adoption competition that the FSAC-SPCA and 49 other shelters are involved in. The challenge ─ hosted by celebrity chef Rachael Ray and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ─ tasks competing shelters with trying to break their own previous record of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens adopted or returned to their owners in June, July and August.
The ASPCA sets the quota for each shelter, and this year, the baseline number the FSAC-SPCA needs to reach is 717 animals saved, said Lisa Chase, a spokeswoman for the agency.
Saving 1,017 animals would put FSAC-SPAC in the running for the $25,000 Community Engagement Award. If the shelter saves 1,400 or more animals, it’ll enter the running for the coveted $100,000 that will be awarded to the shelter that records the most adoptions.
Whether FSAC-SPAC wins $25,000 or $100,000, the funds would likely be used for upgrading the shelter’s Camden headquarters and making it more comfortable for the animals, Chase said.
With more than a month to go until the competition ends, the FSAC-SPAC will need every adoption it get to reach its ultimate goal of 1,400 animals saved. As of Sunday, the shelter had recorded more than 290 animals either adopted or successfully returned to their owners since June 1 of this year, Chase said.
Pet fashion show sequel?
FSAC-SPAC is nearly halfway to reaching its baseline goal of 717. But the shelter certainly has a ways to go if it wants to reach its biggest goal, which is double that number.
But even if it doesn’t hit that number, Chase said she will be thankful for the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, because it motivated her and her team to try something new by hosting a pet fashion show, which resulted in six animals finding loving homes.
And the success of the inaugural event might mark the first of many to come.
“We were very, very pleased with the outcome,” Chase said. “We’d love to be able to do this again next year.”