By Chris Fish
TITUSVILLE -- In Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel "The Phantom of the Opera," main character "Erik," the misunderstood phantom, had a simple message.
"All I wanted was to be loved for myself," is one of the more famous quotes from the novel.
It is this philosophy that inspired the SPCA of Brevard.
To raise awareness for homeless pets throughout the Space Coast, the SPCA of Brevard will be hosting its fourth annual "Dancing for the Paws: The Phantom of the Pawpera" on Saturday, Feb. 22 at La Cita Golf and Country Club in Titusville.
"This will be a fun evening, filled with food, live entertainment, a wide variety of silent auction items and raffles," said Susan Naylor, media specialist for the SPCA of Brevard. "People can spend a night out enjoying themselves, knowing that the money they've spent is going to help save the lives of homeless pets in Brevard County."
SPCA of Brevard is a private, nonprofit organization, with the mission of protecting and providing a voice to homeless animals of Brevard County.
Since its creation in 1979, the group has found homes for more than 1,300 animals a year, becoming the largest no-kill animal rescue group in Brevard County.
Ms. Naylor said the public relations director for SPCA of Brevard Terri Scott started producing this event four years ago, with a different theme for each year. It was designed as an elegant evening to raise funds to feed and care for homeless pets of their shelter.
The masquerade-optional style ball will raise funding for a recently purchased, new facility, which will allow the organization to significantly increase the numbers of homeless pets it can save.
The purchase of this new facility is part of a growing effort to turn Brevard County into a no-kill community, where pets are given to adoption services, rather than euthanized when a home can't be found.
"This event is the kick-off of our fundraising campaign to remodel the property we purchased to be the future home of our Adoption Center," Ms. Naylor said. "Moving to this building will allow us to drastically increase the numbers of animals we can save. Since we have such a large goal to achieve, we wanted to go big to make it a night to remember for guests, and what is bigger than 'Phantom?' The optional black tie and masks add a little bit of mystery and elegance to the night, as well."
Ms. Naylor said that she is excited to see the live entertainment lined up for this year's event, as she said performers will be performing sections from the musical version of the "Phantom of the Opera," as well as from other Broadway shows throughout the evening.
A silent auction will also feature a Coach handbag, which is valued at more than $500, a GoPro Hero camera, Aquatica tickets and a Walking Dead-themed gift basket.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at www.spcabrevard.com.
The event will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the LaCita Country Club located at 777 Country Club Drive in Titusville.
For more information, visit www.spcabrevard.com.