Now these are some doggone fashionable runway models, especially when it's for charity.
More than 30 dogs strutted their fashionable stuff (along with their two-legged friends) this past Saturday at the fourth annual Fashion for Paws.
A fashion show and auction in Washington, D.C., at the Italian Embassy, benefiting.
The Washington Humane Society (WHS), which works to ensure that outcast.
And abused animals find a home. Many of the adorable runway dogs were also up for adoption during the event.
Fashion for Paws has become a signature event for WHS over the years. Having raised more than $570,000 in the past three years for the charity and on tap to raise an additional $350,000 this year, WHS decided to turn the concept into a year-round campaign of events and additional fundraising opportunities late last year.
What has been the key to its success?
In addition to these top model dogs that ensure a sold-out show each year, Fashion for Paws has a unique fundraising model that engages supporters. Each year's show features 60 models broken up into three categories: local celebs, fundraising models who agree to raise $3,000 and compete in a friendly fundraising competition and Guardian Models who made a monetary gift of $3,000 or more to the charity. Models are encouraged to use their social networks on Facebook and elsewhere, messaging friends and colleagues to support their participation with donations.
I happened to meet Joe Robert III, this year's top fundraiser and veteran model in the show. In fact, Robert helped his friend Tara de Nicolas, executive director and creator of Fashion for Paws, get the event off the ground three years ago by being one of the first models to sign on.
"I love animals," Robert said. "When Tara told me what she was working on, I knew I had to be a part."
According to Robert, corporate sponsors were an essential part of his fundraising success this year: "I went for the bigger fish this year," says Robert. "I had fewer donors overall, but they were able to donate at higher amounts."
And donate they did, totaling $10,000 for Robert, as they did for many of the other 60 participants. Earlier in the night, I met Kristy Richie, a WHS volunteer, who was on hand to watch over the dogs that were participating in the show. She also took some time to explain the important work that WHS does and how the money raised would be used.
"When you see these animals, you want to bring them all home. In fact, I adopted two cats," laughs Richie. "WHS has a variety of outreach programs. Whether it's working at Walter Reed Army Medical Center's therapeutic program or talking to students about the importance of taking care of animals through an education outreach program, WHS is making a difference." And thanks to Fashion for Paws, WHS will be making a difference for a long time to come.