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Project Pet House Raises Funds for Laguna Beach's Animals

A pet house auction, a chili cook-off and a pet parade bring in almost $20,000 for Blue Bell Cat Foundation, Pacific Marine Mammal Center and Laguna Beach Animal Shelter.

It is not everyday that one gets to see a chihuahua dressed as a lobster, the Cat in the Hat cooking chili, and a Craftsman-style dog house all in one place. But guests at the 15th annual Project Pet House Chili Cook-Off and Pet Parade enjoyed these and other sights while raising money for Laguna Beach-area animals.

CLICK THE BOX ON THE RIGHT TO VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT --->

The , the and the all benefited from Project Pet House on Saturday at . It is estimated that close to $20,000 was raised for Laguna Beach's animal assisting organizations.

Event founder and chair Caroline Haines of Laguna Escrow Services has been the leader behind the event for 15 years now. She and Gary Boisen organized the festivities.

Haines and her friend Larry Williams created the family-friendly and affordable event 15 years ago. They wanted to do "something fun ... a community event" that involved the .

This year, Nancy Pooley of suggested to Haines that pet houses could be built and auctioned.

"I took Nancy's idea and ran with it," said Haines.

Haines asked seven Laguna Beach architects if they would donate their creative services for the fundraiser.

One of those volunteer architects was Morris Skenderian. His pet house won Best-in-Show.

"Caroline approached us and asked if we would create a dog house," said Skenderian. "I said, 'Sure, it'll be fun. You pick the date and we'll make the deadlline and get the house there.'"

Volunteering their architectural services along with Skenderian were Anders Lasater, Kirk Saunders, Marshall and Matthew Innins, Donna Ballard and Kasey Zantos, Daniel Martinez and Leslie LeBon.

Contractors donating their time were Al Oligino, Tom Simpson, Robert Carey, Ken Fischbeck, Don McKeehan and Kirk Saunders.

Local real estate companies volunteered by competing in a chili cook-off competition. The , dressed as characters from The Cat in the Hat, won top prize for best chili. Guests at the event paid for samples of chili and beverages. All sales and proceeds went to the three animal organizations.

Funds were also raised through pet parade registration for specialty prize categories such as Most Handsome Male, Most Beautiful Rescue Pet and Best Costume.

Brian Gordon September 14, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Correction, RITZY!
Rich Kane September 15, 2011 at 08:42 AM
Sorry 'bout that, Brian. Name changed!

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