On Thursday, September 6, 2012, the Bay Cafe in Canton was transformed into a red carpeted catwalk for the adorable cats and dogs that are available for adoption from Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS); Baltimore City’s most crowded animal shelter. The cats and dogs were on, um, paw to raise funds for BARCS’ Franky Fund which is used solely to pay for medical care for sick and injured animals.
While these costumed critters were lovely on their own, they were escorted by some of Baltimore’s favorite professional athletes. Baltimore Ravens’ wide receiver Torrey Smith, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, Shogun MMA champion John Rallo, Baltimore Blast captain Mike Lookingland, Baltimore Orioles’ catcher Chris Hoiles and Golden Glove Champ Chris Nissley all strutted their stuff while posing with their furry friends.
How do these athletes as well as other Baltimore City luminaries end up on one stage? They are all a part of an edgy campaign to stamp out animal abuse called Show Your Soft Side. Muscular, tattooed athletes pose with dogs or cats, either their own or shelter animals with the tagline “Only a punk would hurt a cat or dog.” These billboards are placed all over town, primarily targeting the areas where animal abuse is prevalent. The SYSS campaign allows kids to see they have choices in how they treat the vulnerable.
Other athletes on board this campaign are Baltimore Orioles Adam Jones and Matt Weiters, former Ravens Qadry Ismail and Jarret Johnson, Harlem Globetrotter Dizzy Grant, and local lacrosse champion Paul Rabil.
Music artists L’il Black, Nokio of Dru Hill, Charm City Devils’ John Allen and spoken word Grammy winner Henry Rollins have also shown their soft side by posing with cats and dogs to raise awareness that animals should be taken care of and not harmed.
Professionals for Paws, a group of animal loving professionals in Baltimore City, put on Pawject Runway with the goal of raising $10,000-$15,000 for BARCS’ Franky Fund. As of this writing, the goal was met.
If you are interested in adopting an animal from BARCS or making a donation to the Franky Fund, you can either visit in person at 301 Stockholm Street, Baltimore, MD21230 or visit online at www.baltimoreanimalshelter.org. All donations are 100% tax deductible.