ORLANDO – There are a lot of great causes, Dil Luther noted, but it’s also important to remember that there’s a special group in our society that remains highly vulnerable and simply cannot provide for themselves.
They’re the homeless cats and dogs that wander the streets of Orlando, starving, often sickly, sometimes abused and injured – and badly in need of a home.
It’s one reason why next Saturday, Orange County Animal Services – where Luther is the division manager — will be hosting a special event: the shelter’s fourth annual Barktoberfest.
In addition to hosting eight food trucks on Orlando’s picturesque Lake Eola Park, this event has a humanitarian goal as well: to help match homeless pets with loving new homes, Luther noted.
It’s on Saturday, Sept. 27 at Lake Eola from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and among the many vendors that provide services to the pet community and the food trucks, this event will showcase animals brought over from the shelter’s many rescue partners, all eager to be adopted.
“We are so thankful for the rescue community, and we count on our partners to help our shelter pets in need,” Luther said. “Barktoberfest is our way of saying thank you to the rescue groups for their dedication to our shelter pets.”
There are already 25 rescue partners registered to attend Barktoberfest, and they will be bringing with them a wide variety of breeds. That will include Pugs, Boxers, Labrador Retrievers, “and everything in between,” the shelter noted in a news release.
“Many of the pets at Barktoberfest will originally be from Orange County Animal Services,” the shelter noted. “From January 1 through August 31 of this year, rescue partners have taken in more than 600 pets from the shelter.”
Vendors attending this event will be providing assistance to the pet owners with every possible need they may have, from boarding to health care and even pet apparel.
Animal Services will be providing free microchipping services to 100 pets, and the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando will also be on hand, providing low-cost rabies vaccinations.
Right around the corner from the Barktoberfest activities, the Thornton Park hair salon Lambs Eat Ivy at 804 E. Washington St. will be joining in the fun, by hosting a dog wash fundraiser — appropriately dubbed “Shampooch.”
Expect a delightful afternoon, Luther said.
“This event will be a joy for any pet lover in our community,” said Luther. “Last year’s Barktoberfest helped facilitate more than 50 adoptions. This year we’re striving to see thousands of people at the event and adopt out a record of 75 pets.”
Orange County Animal Services is Central Florida’s largest pet rescue and adoption center, and the shelter received nearly 20,000 animals last year.
It isn’t the only pet-themed event next Saturday. In the Tampa area, the fourth annual Fashion, Feathers & Fur fundraiser will be held from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Winthrop Barn Theatre in Riverview.
“Fashion Feathers & Fur puts a new twist on fundraising for animals,” the organizers noted in a release. “Models will be walking the catwalk to show off the latest rescue animals. All of the birds, cats and dogs showcased at the event will be available for adoption.”
This year, the fundraiser will be emceed by Fox News 13 Tampa sports director Chip Carter, and it will feature a live and silent auction as well as appetizers and drinks.
All proceeds will go to local animal charities, including Dogma Pet Rescue, Florida Pet Rescue, Hillsborough Animal Health Foundation and Second Chance Boxer Rescue.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at Fashion, Feathers & Fur.
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