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Dr. Cecilia Fisher, Cape Coral Pet Vet, a repeat participant in PJ’s and Paws, with husband Sam Fisher, Lee County School Board member.

Photo provided

The most adorable sleepover to raise money for local shelter animals takes place this weekend in Cape Coral.

The Cape Coral Animal Shelter will host its fourth annual “Pj’s and Paws — A Night at the Shelter to benefit the animals” this Friday where proceeds directly benefit the shelter and low-cost clinic.

The sleepover features 16 local “celebrities” or “representatives” of local businesses who will cozy up in their favorite pajamas to spend the night with the animals of CCAS.

Participants will be matched with one of CCAS’ resident canines or assigned to one of their cat manors and are encouraged to decorate their “suite.”

The human can read to their K9 or feline, sing, take them for a walk, play, or just spend time together. At the end of the night, when all is quiet, humans can cuddle up and spend the night with their new friend.

The evening also features a “paint party” where the pups and kitties, with the assistance of participants, paint abstract art they send home as a memento of the occasion.

“This is one of my favorite events and I think it’s a lot of fun, and a really great night for the animals, and the people that participate,” said CCAS Executive Director Liz McCauley.

The first PJ’s and Paws was a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, McCauley said, adding that since fundraisers were canceled or postponed, CCAS had to find creative ways to raise funds while still being able to social distance.

“We felt this was a fun way to raise money and awareness for our adoptable animals,” she said “Much to our amazement, we raised over $36,000. It was a lot of fun, and it has now become one of our signature events.”

Each participant works towards a goal of raising a minimum of $2,000 through their networks and social media, with an overall goal of raising $40,000 to support the lifesaving work being done at the shelter.

“Every dollar matters to us right now,” McCauley said. “We are packed, as we always are. We have so many puppies right now. So many nursing moms. So many kittens. And it costs a lot of money to take care of them. So every dollar raised goes directly towards the care of the animals here at the shelter. We’re grateful for the donations.”

Throughout the event, there will be Facebook live check-ins and each business/celebrity participating will get a chance to shine in their pajamas and show off their four-legged pal for the evening.

2024 Participants include: Dr. Cecilia Fisher, Cape Coral Pet Vet; Brittany Probeck, Galeana Dodge Jeep Fiat; Taylor Petras, WINK News; Lisa Petruska, Premier Plus Realty Company; Gretchen Cuthbertson, Cape Coral Animal Shelter; Shelley Moore, Berkshire Hathaway Florida Realty; Attorney Amy McGarry–Amy McGarry Law Office; Charlene Ruocco, Superior Builders Group; Jennifer Miller Shore Premier Finance/Centennial Bank; Jane Williams and Melissa Harvey, Point 57/Jungle Bird/Seacraft/Front Porch Social; Nychole Manning; Noelia Iglesias, Cape Coral Animal Shelter; Chelsea Castoria, Hertz; Kerry Kaynes, Lauren Millang, and Dana Walpole, Petsmart; Kristen Cardoso and Tricia Magliola-Langbein, The Home Team of Century 21 Sunbelt; Rich and Mary Macchiaroli.

“What’s been neat about this event is we have people that have participated every year, and we get new people every year,” McCauley said. “We get a different group, and that brings a broader audience for us, which is really great. It gets our mission out there to a lot more people.”

McCauley shared her thanks to the community, which has shown major support for the shelter since its inception. More than 4,200 animals have been adopted from CCAS, and the shelter has plans to expand in the near future.

“The community has been amazing, and supports us through volunteers and donations, and just spreading our message,” McCauley said. “It definitely has been a community effort to keep us going strong.”

For more information on CCAS and the Pj’s & Paws event, find them on social media, or visit

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