Imagine a house party where only dogs came. That was pretty much Maria Menounos’ life on Saturday night.
The Conversations with Maria Menounos podcast host threw a fundraiser for Westside German Shepherd Rescue at her home on Dec. 8.
The fundraiser bash included drinks from Patron, food provided by Umami Burger, music from DJ Kamayo, an Open Air photo booth and a silent auction. All of these services were donated to the event, allowing Westside German Shepherd Rescue to fully benefit from the fundraiser.
“It was really special. We had record ticket sales,” Menounos tells PEOPLE.
The Los Angeles-based non-profit will use the funds raised by Menounos’ party to help with its mission: to pull rescue German shepherds from high-kill shelters and find them loving, caring homes.
It’s a cause that is special to Menounos, who adopted her newest dog, Maximus, from Westside German Shepherd Rescue.
Before bringing the canine home, Menounos, who was recovering from brain surgery at the time, was concerned over a recent rash of break-ins in her area.
“I was really stressed out and it was hurting,” the star says. Remembering the comfort a previous German shepherd had provided, Menounos Googled “German shepherd rescues” and found Westside. She and her husband, Keven Undergaro, immediately drove to the rescue and interviewed for a dog. Not long after, they were placed with Maximus, a German shepherd rescued from a life of neglect by Westside volunteer Susan Shahoda.
“He was our son instantly,” Menounos says of what she felt when she met Maximus, who was a malnourished 72 lbs. at the time. Maximus now weighs 120 lbs., a healthy weight for his size.
“I couldn’t thank Westside German Shepherd Rescue enough for giving me Maximus,” Menounos adds, so when Shahoda reached out about ideas on where to host Westside’s annual fundraiser, Menounos was quick to volunteer.
Shahoda and Menounos planned the entire event together, and Saturday’s success shows their hard work and mutual devotion to dogs paid off.