Pet events for a cause

Costume Contest Oct. 28


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  • | 7:55 a.m. October 17, 2012
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - The Park Avenue Pet Costume Contest will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, at the Doggie Door/Unleashed.
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - The Park Avenue Pet Costume Contest will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, at the Doggie Door/Unleashed.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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On Saturday, Oct. 27, Paws Care will be hosting the Time to Share event at Pookie's Bow Wow Bakery 1500 W. Fairbanks Ave. The event is held from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. It is the kick off of Food for a Good Paws holiday food drive, donations will benefit Paws Care. To learn more about the event and the cause, visit www.PawsCare.org or http://www.facebook.com/PookiesBWB

On Sunday, Oct. 28, The Doggie Door/Unleashed on Park Avenue will host its 13th annual Pet Costume Contest. The event is held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with pets trick-or-treating down the Avenue from noon to 3 p.m. Donations from the event benefit the Sebastian Haul Fund. To learn more about the event and the cause, visit thedoggiedoor.com

The third annual Paws for Peace Walk will be held at 9 a.m. in Blue Jacket Park on Nov. 3. For more information about the event and the cause benefiting Harbor House Central Florida, visit harborhousefl.com

On Saturday, Nov. 10, The.Stephanie James Foundation will be hosting the Release the Hounds event in Baldwin Park. The event is held from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., with a pet costume contest, raffle, silent auction, live music, and vendors such as Paws Care! Donations from the event benefit the Stephanie James Foundation. To learn more about the event and the cause, visit www.stephaniejamesfoundation.org or www.pawscare.org

Terriers in tutus, French bulldogs in fairy wings and Great Danes painted like zebras, every October Winter Park pets get decked out to get into the spirit of the Halloween season.

Hundreds will flock to Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs this weekend for the SPCA of Central Florida’s Wiggle Waggle Walk, and next weekend furry ones will flaunt their stuff down Park Avenue for the annual Park Avenue Pet Costume Contest. In November, they’ll head to Blue Jacket Park for the Paws for Peace Walk.

In all cases, there’s a cause behind the costumes and walks, and organizers hope owners will not only participate, but donate too. ‘Tis the season, they say, for some festive four-legged family fun.

“It’s for a great cause, and an excuse to do something fun and silly that people wouldn’t usually do with their dogs,” said Brian Wettstein, owner of The Doggie Door and organizer of the Park Avenue Pet Costume Contest.

Wiggle Waggle Walk

Costumes are optional for the SPCA of Central Florida’s annual Wiggle Waggle Walk, held Saturday, Oct. 20, at Cranes Roost, but they’re encouraged for those who want to be entered to win pet-friendly prizes.

“Everything from Stanley Steamer, which will clean the carpets from your pet’s accidents, to groomers and pet supply stores, anything pet related will be out there,” said Jake White, executive vice president and general manager of the SPCA of Central Florida.

The family friendly event, for both two- and four-legged members, is held annually to raise money for the general operating expenses of the Sanford location of the SPCA of Central Florida, White says. This year’s fundraising goal is $150,000. The event also serves as a one-stop shop for people looking for pet-focused businesses in Central Florida, with more than 80 business buddies signed up.

The humans, White says, come for the community, camaraderie and connections that can be made, and the dogs are welcome to walk and adventure with their owners to discover some new sights and smells — and maybe some new treats.

“It’s just a lot of fun for everyone,” White said.

Park Avenue Pet Costume Contest

Sunday, Oct. 28, is the dog day for trick-or-treating in Winter Park. That afternoon, ballerina bulldogs and bumblebee boxers will strut their stuff first across a stage and then down the Avenue for the 13th annual Park Avenue Pet Costume Contest, put on by The Doggie Door/Unleashed.

“It’s more than just buying a little costume and putting your dog on stage… the ones who want to win make themselves stand out,” Wettstein said with a smile.

Brian and his partner, Jeff, came up with the idea of the contest more than 10 years ago with a handful of dogs and humans coming out for a night of furry friendly fun. It’s grown since then, to a peak of more than 400 dogs and a four-hour costume contest.

Brian says they’ve had to limit the size since then, as he jokes that there’s only so much cuteness people can handle. But more people and more contestants means more money raised for their charity, The Sebastian Haul Fund, which helps transport Florida greyhounds up and down the eastern seaboard to find new homes.

“It’s probably one of the happiest days on this street,” Wettstein says.

Paws for Peace

If costumes aren’t your or your dogs’ thing, or if you’re just looking for more ideas to have some fundraising fun with you canine companions, Harbor House of Central Florida’s third annual Paws for Peace Walk is coming to Blue Jacket Park in Baldwin Park on Nov. 3.

Harbor House, which serves as a shelter and resource for victims of domestic violence in Central Florida, is hosting the event to raise money for its pet shelter, where victims can bring their pets when leaving abusive situations.

“It helps so that when people are leaving an abusive situation they can bring their pets with them,” said Stephanie Allain, development assistant at Harbor House.

She said 49 percent of abuse victims delay leaving abusive situations in fear of what might happen to their pets. This pet shelter, which is scheduled to be open by the end of the year, will help alleviate that fear, allowing people to bring their pets with them.