Humans and furballs alike strutted their stuff on the catwalk at Macy’s in West Valley Mall on Sunday during Animal Rescue of Tracy’s Pawject Runway fundraiser event.

Volunteers modeled an assortment of evening gowns donated by the department store during a virtual fashion show – which offered in-person viewing for a limited number of participants – emceed by Dr. Andrew Trosien from Trosien Orthodontics.

“I'm actually wearing Macy's jacket, tie and shirt. It was my second choice. My first choice of attire was this really nice pink size 14 dress back there,” said Trosien to warm up the small crowd.

Joining the models on the runway were adoptable cats Asher, Heidi and Libby from ART. Adoptable dogs from Kate’s Rescue in Modesto also lent a paw and joined the models, sporting clothes from Macy’s pet line, Parisian Pets.

“I felt like a princess or extra like a princess, and that was definitely my favorite part. Then, of course, the icing on the cake was holding the dogs,” said high school senior Eve Dowdell, who was one of the models for the day – and was also the lucky model to wear the coveted pink dress.

Dowdell said when she was asked to model, she immediately said yes and loved that it was going toward a good cause.

After the show, attendees had the chance for a meet-and-greet with all the featured animals before they were brought back home in Kate Rescue’s signature pink bus.

“We are friends with ART. We have done a few other things with them, and we just do well together. We just get along well,” said Julia Souders, founder of Kate’s Rescue, who has helped over 4,400 animals in its 10 years of operation. “And so they needed some dogs for the event, and they asked us if we'd like to come and we said, ‘sure.’”

Modeled dresses and other formalwear were available to purchase in 30-minute time slots for attendees while they listened to tunes played live by Kimball High School’s band – which was coincidentally also the band’s first live performance of the school year.

Pawject Runway was a collaborative initiative organized to benefit ART, which rescues, treats and adopts out hundreds of cats and dogs each year. Proceeds from the event will directly cover costs for various necessities and services, including animal medical expenses, food, bedding and cat litter.

To show thanks, ART gifted “wag bags” to those who signed up to attend Pawject Runway. The wag bags included a variety of trinkets, gift cards and vouchers donated by businesses in Tracy who wanted to help sponsor the event.

In addition to the fashion show and in-person shopping experience, ART also hosted two online silent auctions: DOGSROCK, which took place the week before the show, showcasing bundled dress sets, playfully named “bridal bouquets” and CATSROCK, which is running until the end of this weekend.

Sarah McNamara, director of special fundraiser events for ART, reported that Pawject Runway as a huge success and that every donated item from Macy’s was sold by the end of the day.

ART prides itself in never wasting a penny or turning away a donation, and this event was no exception as the nonprofit strived be conservative in its spending for the fundraiser in an effort to raise the most it could for the animals. All 250 pieces donated by Macy’s for this event have been sold.

“So far, our net profit was just over $13,000 as our out-of-pocket expenses were under $500. This is an amazing over 95% net profit,” said McNamara in an email to Tracy Press.

More information about Animal Rescue of Tracy and its fundraising efforts can be found at https://www.animalrescuetracy.org/. Information about Kate’s Rescue can be found at https://katesrescue.org/.

• Contact Brianna Guillory at bguillory@tpnews.com or 209-830-4229.

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