We love the clever ways that passionate animal lovers raise awareness for rescue, and Show Your Soft Side, a volunteer- run organization, threw a soiree called Pawject Runway on behalf of the  BARCS Animal Shelter in Baltimore, Maryland. Together, they helped raise awareness, funds, and find families for homeless pets in need!

Local celebrities, public figures, and nationally-known athletes all came together in support of the modeling mutts and kitties. Carolina Panther Torrey Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneer Ryan Jensen, and New England Patriot Lawrence Guy (all former Ravens) donated a combined $9,000 to cover the adoption fees of all the animals, and an additional $190,000 was raised to support the life-saving shelter. But the true VIPs that night were the adoptable pets, who snuggled, socialized, and strutted their stuff!

Luckily, photographer Zhenia Bulawka was able to catch some memorable behind-the-scenes shots of the exciting event, and shared the heartwarming photos with us.

You can see more of her work on Instagram: @theladiesofeastpratt & @zheniabulawka

A gorgeous pup model gives “I love you” eyes.

Ready to strut his stuff for a new home!

Don’t be fooled by the fist! Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan came out to show his soft side and take a stand against animal cruelty. (Pictured with Baltimore Ravens cheerleader, Ali Renee).

Getting all dolled up for the big show!

Detroit musician Dan Tillery comforts the adoptables in preparation of their big stage debut…

…and also sings to them before the big show! (You may remember Tillery for fighting against BSL laws after adopting American Bulldog pup Diggy!)

World famous therapy dog and Hero Award nominee, Aladdin, showing off his signature pout.

“I was checking your dog out.” Carolina Panther, Torrey Smith (formerly of Baltimore Ravens), and his runway partner, Bubbs.

Adopted on the spot! William Vanzela (goalkeeper for the Baltimore Blast) and his new leading lady, Bella.

William and Bella Vanzela.

A sweet pooch snuggles up to a young animal advocate.

Pro wrestler Ken Dixon loosens his grip while cuddling Sneezy.

Pancake is safe and secure in the arms of April Doherty, Baltimore’s lead animal abuse investigator.

“Ready for my close-up!”

All smiles as comedienne Rebecca Corry (Stand up for Pits), and Murray hit the stage.

Proof that “softies” come in all shapes and sizes. (New England Patriot, Lawrence Guy and his daughter, Adriana).

Bulawka told iHeartDogs:

“Pawject Runway is a fun event for all ages that encourages participants and spectators alike, to adopt homeless pets. This year’s show was especially rewarding because over $190,000 was raised for BARCS–the most ever!

I look forward to seeing Pawject Runway grow on the national level, with more local celebrities stepping out in support. It would be nice to see one in each major city.”

Rescue animals hold a special place in her heart because she’s the proud dog mom to Violet and Ruby, her own rescues.


More about Zhenia Bulawka:

Zhenia Bulawka is a fine art photographer based in Baltimore, MD. A 2013 BFA graduate of MICA, her focus is narrative and documentary style photography. While not solely a dog photographer (though it is her preference) both personally and professionally, Zhenia aspires to quell pit bull stigma and propaganda by presenting her subject matter in its natural state. She volunteers her services and works closely with a number of animal rescue groups in the Baltimore/Washington corridor as well as grassroots/national organizations which take a stand against animal cruelty. Zhenia is a staunch supporter of adoption and rescue as a pathway to pet ownership.

Be sure to follow her on Instagram: @theladiesofeastpratt & @zheniabulawka!

Special thanks to Zhenia Bulawka for letting us share these gorgeous photos!

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