Local Dignitaries and their furry friends will stroll down the “catnip carpet” during the inaugural Tuxes and Tails Gala to benefit the Central Brevard Humane Society.  (Rumor has it that some of SpaceCoast Living’s Poshest Pets may make an appearance). The evening will feature live and silent auctions, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and music, along with special recognition of the organization’s founding members and community leaders.

Over the last 60 years, thousands of unwanted, abandoned and abused animals have been sheltered at the “no kill for space” facility in Cocoa.  Proceeds from this gala will help renovate the facility. Shelter officials are also celebrating their inclusion in this year’s ASPCA/Rachel Ray $100K Challenge. During the first week of April, CBHS supporters took to the Inter-net to vote for the shelter, amassing more than 7,500 votes to finish as one of the top fifty contenders, and ensuring their eligibility for the second phase of the competition. In order to qualify for the top prize of $100,000 and additional grants totaling thousands of dollars, CBHS must increase their adoptions by 300 or more animals from August through October. In 2011, 275 adoptions were arranged by the Humane Society during the same time frame, so CBHS staff members and volunteers will be working very hard starting next month to more than double last year’s adoption rate. This marks the third year for the national competition, which concludes October 31. Winners will be announced November 30.

Karen Rodriguez a speech-language pathologist and self-proclaimed “animal lover” volunteers as a pet photographer with the Central Brevard Humane Society in her spare time.  Last summer, Karen partnered with the CBHS to better capture the animals’ personalities and help them find permanent homes.   Focusing on the adult cats that are long-term residents of the shelter, the portraits of the cats helped place, many who had been there longer than a year, in forever homes within a few short weeks of their new picture being posted.


“It is my mission to spread awareness about the importance of helping our residents of our shelters find forever homes,”   Karen said. “The old ‘mug shots’ of the kitties were not very appealing, but the new portraits screamed ‘take me home!’”Karen spends time just getting to know the animals before snapping any photos. Once the cats get to know her she starts shooting.  “My wish is that more people would adopt from our shelters.  Give these animals, who have been given up, a second chance, and give them their ‘forever home.’”