In a perfect world envisioned by local artist and entrepreneur Diane Lundeen, owner of full-service boutique pet store Petcetera NOLA on Magazine Street, there would be no homeless, abused or neglected animals in the New Orleans area and beyond.
In order to further the cause for the adoption of local shelter and rescue animals looking for love, Lundeen got proactive and melded her talent for costume design with her passion for helping animals.
“I saw all of these animal rescue groups struggling and needing help, so I tried to do something, and I was thrilled that many others joined me,” Lundeen says. About 10 years ago, she helped create Bad to the Bone: Rescued on the Runway, a fun, flamboyant, family and fur-baby friendly fundraising event for animals in need, which features rescue dogs modeling amazing costumes by local designers. All of the participating rescue dogs will be available for adoption after strutting their stuff on the catwalk.
The 10th Annual Bad to the Bone: Rescued on the Runway will be held at Eiffel Society on St. Charles Avenue Sept. 16 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. and will feature a fabulous doggie fashion show, costume contests for both pets and people (with prizes furnished by Petcetera), a food buffet option, a silent auction, music, photo opportunities, entertainment and more. All ages are invited as well as pets, and tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance to save $5 at Petcetera. All proceeds from the event will benefit rescue organizations and shelters, including the Humane Society of Louisiana, the Jefferson SPCA, the Louisiana SPCA, New Orleans Bulldog Rescue, Weimaraner Rescue of the South, Animal Rescue New Orleans and Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society.
Lundeen enjoys featuring the many generous local businesses and people who donate their efforts and resources to Bad to the Bone. “This canine fashion show opens the Halloween season with really neat outfits from talented designers, such as Oliver Manhattan and Nola Bitch Couture, A Doggie Style Design House,” Lundeen says. “Albert Brown Salon does hair and makeup for the event. Restaurants donate their time and food, including Apolline, Joey K’s and Nacho Mama’s. We get an outpouring of love from the business community, including donations to the silent auction and to the swag bags for the first 200 guests, and financial contributions to participating animal rescues.”
Lundeen believes that increased compassion for homeless animals comes through enlightenment about their plight and that events like Bad to the Bone are part of that process. “Attitudes have changed, and, that coupled with education, has made more people willing to adopt animals,” Lundeen says. “Animals have become significant parts of our households; pets are actual family members. There’s a higher instance of people reporting when they see travesty and neglect. More people are responding to the needs of animals and understanding that you can’t leave an animal out in the extreme heat or extreme cold; it’s heartbreaking. You wouldn’t leave your son outside, why would you leave your dog? The Humane Society of Louisiana investigates abuse and works to change laws to stop animal cruelty, and they’ll benefit from this event. It’s great to be a voice for animals since they don’t have that voice on their own.”
Petcetera sponsors Bad to the Bone, and Lundeen strives to make the eclectic pet store a fun place for people to find unique, quality products and services for their pets. “We aim for a high-end look and also try to be affordable,” Lundeen says. “Petcetera features lots of natural products and independent brands not found elsewhere, and we provide a forum for local artists to display their wares. We’ve got everything from custom pet portraits and clothing to a full service pet bakery — we bake everyday pet treats, pet wedding cakes and we even do birthday packages with custom pet hats!”
Providing people with a place to gather and celebrate their pets has been Lundeen’s mission with Petcetera, and bringing the New Orleans community together through Bad to the Bone is important to her in order to make life better for animals who have been let down. “The goal of Bad to the Bone is to get dogs adopted, and get financial help and promote volunteerism for these rescues,” she says. “If someone can assist at a rescue, and clean cages and give an animal some brushing, a nice walk and some love, that’s wonderful. And what’s cool about the event is that we work together well in New Orleans when we try. I believe that everyone’s voice is important; it’s easy to think one person alone can’t do anything but one person alone can change the world. You just have to go about your path to do it.” badtotheboneevent.com