This week most of us will gather together with family and friends to share a warm meal and give thanks for what we have.
But, while we're eating our fill of turkey and ham, thousands of dogs and cats will languish in a cold, loud shelter -- many of them are former pets who found themselves in this situation after careless owners lost them or surrendered them like a used sofa.
Each year, over 37,000 animals find their way to Miami-Dade Animal Services, the county run facility. Although staff and volunteers try to reunite these dogs and cats with their owners or find new homes, the sad reality is that most of these animals wind up euthanized after spending just a short time at the shelter.
See also: Miami's Top Ten Dog-Friendly Restaurants
Like any county-run facility, the shelter is overrun and under funded and seeks donations from generous animal lovers of toys, sweaters, and blankets for the pups and kitties in their care.
Matt Kuscher, owner of LoKal in Coconut Grove, is hosting the first annual Thanksgiving Paw Drive tonight, November 25. From 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., come with your four-legged friend and help shelter dogs and cats in need.
Donate towels, blankets, toys, food, treats, sheets, and doggie clothes (both new and used are accepted) and receive two-for-one drink specials and select draft beers. Plus, take half off anything on the doggie menu with your donation.
The restaurant is also sponsoring an adoption drive, with 112 adorable pups and one cat looking for a forever home (or foster). The adoption fees at tonight's event are $37.50 for puppies under four months; $32.50 for older dogs; and free for cats (that's half off the regular price). The fee includes vaccines for your new fur-ever friend.
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Kuscher tells Short Order he's a huge dog-lover and wanted to do something to help shelter dogs during this holiday season. "My wife Priscilla and I can't say no to dogs, so anything we can do, we're going to do. Hopefully, we find some new homes for our friends and collect a bunch of towels and blankets so they can stay warm and dry."
The restaurant, known for its locally-sourced ingredients and craft beer, is also one of the most dog-friendly establishments in Miami. Dogs are offered free, freshly baked cookies and have their own menu (and beer)!