Loretta Glaser Kaczor was a true animal lover all her life, according to her family and friends.

Whether it was poodles or her Bichon Frise dogs she would dress up in elf costumes for photos for Christmas cards, pets were always an integral part of the late Fleetwood resident's life.

When Kaczor died seven years ago of congestive heart failure at age 57, her sister, Rose Glaser of Muhlenberg Township, began looking for ways to honor her memory and her love of animals.

Saturday evening, Glaser and a team of servers fed nearly 100 guests at the seventh annual Rose Will Bloom fundraiser at Slovak Catholic Sokol on Crestmont Street in Reading.

In past years, the fundraiser brought in thousands of dollars that was donated to local K-9 units and horse rescue farms. But last year, Glaser helped to create a program in her sister's honor, Animals in Need, which gives money to pet owners who are having financial problems and need to pay veterinary bills.

Animals in Need will donate up to $200 to pay for veterinary bills, Glaser said, utilizing four different veterinarians across Berks County who will contact her if they have pet owners who need financial help.

Individuals can also call Glaser, she said, and are asked to fill out a questionnaire to determine their need.

"It's been a wonderful program, and people are so thankful that they have that to fall back on," Glaser said.

This year's Rose Will Bloom fundraiser took on a different theme than in years past, when Glaser would only cook a seven-course meal for attendees.

It still featured Glaser's well-known cooking, which she perfected as the owner of the The Rose, a former restaurant on Muhlenberg Street. But she decided to go for a more casual atmosphere this year, transforming the gym of Slovak Catholic Sokol into a '50s sock hop with life-size cutouts of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and James Dean.

The event also took on an even stronger family feel with her brother, Fred Glaser, serving as the DJ as the crowd danced to popular songs of the '50s. Her sister, Evelyn Orrs, even flew in from Phoenix to help decorate the gym.

When asked what it was like to honor her late sister, Orrs said she was happy to make the trip east for an event that raises thousands of dollars for animals.

"It's very touching, especially for a cause that she held dear to her heart," Orrs said. "It always comes back when you pay it forward."

Contact Michael Yoder: 610-371-5033 or myoder@readingeagle.com.