ORLANDO, Fla. – Thousands of dogs and their owners visited downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola to enjoy Paws in the Park on Saturday.
The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando held the 28th annual event as a way to say thank you to its supporters.
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Participant Tiffany Halley said she tries to attend the fundraiser each year.
“I love seeing all the dogs, all the costumes, everything. People get very creative out here and I look forward to it every year,” Halley said.
The fundraiser benefits the Pet Alliance to help cover the costs of operation, renovations and the construction a new shelter. It features a costume contest, dock diving and much more.
Executive Director Steve Bardy said this year’s event is more than about raising money for the nonprofit.
“It was a really dark time, there’s just no other way around that,” Bardy said.
Last September, a fire ripped through Pet Alliance’s main shelter in Orlando. The fire destroyed the facility and killed 17 cats, which were honored on Paws in the Park T-shirts.
Since the fire, Bardy said the community has rallied behind the nonprofit to get results, helping them raise funds to build a new shelter.
Bardy said this event is just one way the organization is thanking Central Florida for the support.
“The fire showed us how much we meant to the community and that really has lifted us,” he said.
Halley said she was happy to see the community still rallying behind the Pet Alliance.
“It’s just awesome to see people come together for a good cause,” Halley said.