STAUNTON – The models at the annual Sparkling with Paws prom fashion show strutted the runway with the season’s hottest accessory: rescue animals. All proceeds from the Amanda's Touch Bridal & Formal event benefited Augusta Dog Adoptions and Cat’s Cradle.
This is the fifth year the prom fashion show has featured rescue animals.
“It is a fun event; it’s one of my favorite events we do,” Ashley Snyder, secretary of Augusta Dog Adoptions, said. “It’s great socialization for the dogs. It’s something that they’re not used to -- most dogs don’t walk down a runway where there’s lots of people and music.”
ADA is an all-volunteer, nonprofit rescue group that takes in and adopts out dogs that are transferred from local shelters and high-kill pounds throughout Virginia. In 2018, 460 dogs went through their foster-based program and they spent more than $84,000 in vetting fees.
Cat's Cradle is a nonprofit cat rescue, specializing in cat adoptions, spay/neuter assistance, and helping people keep their animal companions. In 2018, they took in more than 700 cats.
Rescue animals at the event ranged from cats and puppies to senior dogs.
A few of the puppies in the show started their life in a cardboard box. In December, Waynesboro community members allegedly found puppies dumped in a box on the side of the road near Solutions Way. They were taken to Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center, the municipal shelter for the Waynesboro, Augusta County and Staunton area.
Snyder said the puppies were only about three weeks old and too young to be away from mom. ADA took the puppies in and made a plea to find the mother. There was no luck. However, the puppies all survived and are now almost ready to be adopted out into their forever homes.
Local high school students carried the puppies, and even a cat, down the runway. Models were from all grades at local high schools including: Waynesboro High School, Stuarts Draft High School, Wilson Memorial High School and more.
A few of the Waynesboro High School models include: Sarah Joachim, Hailey Johnson, Ana Nunez, Xavier Golladay, Iyana Wilson and more.
The Sparkling with Paws prom show cost $10 to get in. All of the proceeds are split between ADA and Cat’s Cradle.
“Amanda is big on supporting local charities,” Chelsea Brenneman, public relations and marketing manager with Amanda's Touch Bridal & Formal, said of how the event was started. “I just happened to come up with the idea. We are all dog people. All of us have dogs ourselves and a few of us have cats. It’s something that’s special to us.”
Snyder said the event helps ADA get more exposure for their rescue group and for the adoptable dogs.
“Every event you go to gives you a little different people that may not have heard about us before,” she said. “We’ve gotten multiple adoptions off of this event in the past.”
They hoped this year would be no different.