As Ambrosius, a 100-pound American bull dog mix, lumbered past fountains and courtyards one recent April morning, he couldn’t help but attract the attention of shoppers at Miromar Outlets in Estero. The 10-year-old pup’s expressive eyes and spotted white-as-snow hair elicited plenty of smiles, photo opportunities, and scratches behind the ear.
Getting attention is exactly the goal of Miromar Mall Mutts, a new partnership between Miromar Outlets, the Gulf Coast Humane Society, and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. The humane society brings adoptable dogs to Miromar Outlets the first Thursday of every month to raise awareness for its work and the animals waiting for forever homes. Since its start in February, all of the dogs (except for Ambrosius) have been adopted. Humane society volunteers walk the dogs around the mall, hand out flyers, and invite shoppers to join them for coffee, donuts, and a visit with the dogs at the Community Outreach Center at Miromar Outlets.
“We are a dog-friendly shopping destination and are excited to participate,” said Jeff Staner, vice president of Miromar Outlets. “I think we all have a soft spot for animals, especially those who need a home. Mall Mutts is the perfect extension of our mission as a locally owned business to support the Southwest Florida community.”
Mall Mutts combines Sheriff Carmine Marceno’s goals of increasing community engagement and preventing animal abuse. “We use our Community Outreach Centers to host many programs, including Mall Mutts,” said Marceno. “During this event, we partner with Gulf Coast Humane Society to help give dogs homes. Our first event left no dogs homeless! I couldn’t be happier with how this program is running and the people who make it happen.”
The next Miromar Mall Mutts is Thursday, May 6, from 10 a.m. to noon. Visitors will see the dogs meandering throughout the mall until about 11 a.m. when they return to the Community Outreach Center in suite 190, near WINK Playground.