2016 calendars raise money for homeless animals

Posted at 4:52 PM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 16:52:52-05

It’s a new year, and that means new financial woes for animal shelters.

In Palm Harbor, Suncoast Animal League runs only on donations.

“We have vet bills that get as high as $20,000 in one month. You do that over the course of the year, you maintain a shelter, you maintain employees and care for the animals... it gets very, very expensive,” said volunteer Ernie Webb.

The skyrocketing costs come from animals that are in such bad shape, even city shelters won’t take them.

Like Aiden, a boxer mix found tied to a fence in Hernando County.

“They found him severely emaciated. He weighed 40 pounds,” Webb said.

His bills alone totaled $2,000, and his story is just one of many.

But now, a group of showgirls in Ybor are coming to the shelter’s rescue.

“Animals are a special experience. They give nothing but love, no matter how terrible the situation is,” said burlesque dancer Katie James.

James donated her time to create the 2016 Rhinestones & Rescues calendar with all proceeds going to charity.

“Showgirls performing and dogs are my passion, so bringing them together means the world to me,” she said. "They are the stars, and we are just the sparkly sidekicks I guess."

They plan to raise $10,000, and they’re not the only ones fundraising this way.

The Tampa Bay Rays have produced the Players & Pooches calendar the past four years, raising $100,000 for Pet Pal Animal Shelter. At the team store in Tampa, they can’t keep them in stock.

The donations from the calendars are provide hope to homeless animals, giving dogs like Aiden a chance to find a forever home.