MANHATTAN — Naughty and nice pooches had a chance to sit on Santa's lap Monday night at the seventh annual Toys for Dogs, an event held to support animals living in shelters during the holiday season.
The event was held at the Mark Miller Gallery on Orchard Street, with 50 dogs and owners in attendance dressed in costumes fit for “a dog walk to the North Pole," organizers said.
Ultimately, Toys for Dogs gathered more than 600 toys to be distributed to homeless dogs at shelters run by the Humane Society of New York around the city.
“People really get carried away," said event organizer and well-known animal advocate Wendy Diamond. "It is adorable.”
Toys for Dogs is held to promote animal rescue while providing animals in shelters with a new toy to play with for the holiday season. Canine Styles, a dog emporium with four locations throughout the city, donated 200 toys alone.
The Mark Miller Gallery donated the space for the event, with Bootlegger Vodka creating two drinks for the dress-up party — "Holiday Puptails" and a "Peppermint Muttini." Upper West Side wine distributor Gabriella provided vino for the event from Les Compagnons, a brand of booze that gives part of its earnings to numerous animal advocacy groups around the city, including the Toby Project and Stray from the Heart.
While the annual event allows owners, and their furry friends, the chance to have fun and dress up, the purpose is to promote animal adoption through shelters.
“People don’t know you can find any age and any breed from a shelter,” said Diamond, who has lived in New York for about 20 years and lives on the Upper West Side. She previously advocated for homeless people, but turned her attention to animals more than a decade ago when she adopted her dog, Lucky, a pure bred Maltese.
“My dog Lucky was basically the inspiration for my whole career,” added the author of numerous animal-themed books, who is regularly featured on the "Today Show" as a pet lifestyle expert.
“I love to create fun ways for people to really celebrate with their dogs."