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Snuggling with shelter pets for a good cause

The 5th annual "Slumber Pawty" will raise funds and awareness for shelter pets.

ST. LOUIS — How would you like to snuggle with area shelter pets hoping for a new home?

Some of these animals haven't had the warmth of a hug or emotional connection they are looking for in some time, if ever! St Louis-based Purina has been sponsoring a "Slumber Pawty" since 2017. This weekend you can help them raise thousands for 17 area animal shelters.

Kim Beardslee is Purina's director of community affairs. "This year we have 15 Purina associates actually getting into kennels with shelter pets and spending the night for 24 hours, and I think we've raised around $9,000 right now and trying to get to $15,000," she said.

Fifteen volunteers, workers and members of the community are chosen for each of the 17 organizations to spend 24 hours with shelter pets. They give them the love and attention they deserve, get to know them and showcase them through livestreaming to help them get adopted.

Alisha Vianello, executive director of Gateway Pet Guardians, has fond memories of past Slumber Pawtys. "We might have contests with the dogs, maybe even bets where if you donate so much money then a volunteer will do this or that; for instance a few years ago someone ate wet dog food on camera."

The slumber "pawty" starts at noon Saturday, March 5 and runs for 24 hours. It will be livestreamed across all of the pet welfare organizations.

There are 15 super fans that kicked off their fundraising within the last 2 weeks and have already raised $120,000 with the hope of raising $300,000. Those at home who want to help can purchase a shirt and donate directly to the organization they choose. Since its inception in 2017, this event has raised more than $370,000 for participating organizations.

The sweet dog in this story, Faria, is up for adoption through the Gateway Pet Guardians and has the sweetest disposition and is a true "cuddle bug"

For more information about the event, to participate or donate to your favorite organization, visit shelterslumberpawty.com.