Heather does last-minute grooming with a brush and, with help from her brother, sets up a display.

"A stuffed animal doesn't bark, eat or need a walk," said Annie Owen, urging guests to take a chance on a life-size version of a black Labrador retriever.

Myrna Cottle and Rosemary Heinz decided to play along with the stuffed animal theme. Cottle "adopted" a golden retriever.

"It brings back memories of a real golden I had that was one of a kind," she said.

Heinz, who shares her home with a cat adopted from the SPCA, choose a Chihuahua stuffed animal, a gift for her daughter, who loves the breed.

Nancy Janelle brought her beagle, Sadie — also a rescue animal — to the party.

"I am a real animal person," she said. "I always contribute to their cause."

She bought a stuffed black cat as a toy for Sadie or for the family cat.

"It will be for whichever one gets it first," she said. "They don't share."

If anyone needed more convincing, Marcia Davis offered the tale of the perky Yorkshire terrier cuddled in her lap. Davis found the pet in a Dumpster a few months ago. She took the 5-pound pup to a veterinarian and did a bit of grooming. Now the inseparable pair are a great advertisement for pet adoption.

"At first, I called her DD for Dumpster Dog, but now she is just Yorkie," Davis said.

mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

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