By Daryl Conner
New Hampshire groomer Sarah Comeau was getting her own hair “groomed” at her favorite salon when she overheard the stylists there talking about a fundraiser they were involved in. The salon was offering a shampoo and blow dry event to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Sarah found the idea to be an exciting one and took it back to discuss with her grooming friends.
Four groomers work under the roof of A Furry Affair owned by Jen Batchelder. Sarah, Jennifer Roy, and Shannon Gausten each rent space for their own businesses there. The group have been friends even before they began to share grooming space. When Sarah suggested that they all work together to give dog baths as a fundraiser, there was unanimous excitement over the plan.
Their first fundraising event was in December 2013. Offering to bathe and dry dogs for a mere $10, they whipped up a good bit of enthusiasm in the neighborhood. Sarah said, “Huge, heavily coated, or matted dogs are politely declined. These have to be dogs that we can get clean and dry rather quickly. The goal is to get each dog in 20 minutes. We have not had a dog we had to turn away… yet!” They advertised the event with their customers, displayed a banner with information about the fundraiser, and pushed it on their personal and business Facebook pages. They also designed and printed up fliers and plastered them all over town. The Concord Monitor newspaper wrote an article about their efforts, and local news channels came in with cameras to report on this novel way to clean up for charity.
How did their first dog scrub go? “It was a mob scene,” Sarah laughed. “We had a setup where people could have photos made with Santa for an additional $5 while they waited. A local dog trainer was there to give demonstrations, as well.” Sixty-five dogs were washed and fluffed during a whirlwind six hours.
The women plan to make this a quarterly event. Each of them will choose the charity that is near and dear to their hearts for the funds raised. The December event, combined with a Go Fund Me page, raised $980, which was donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
March 30th will be when the team joins forces again, just in time to get some New England mud off the local pooches. Customers can have their pets photographed with the Easter Bunny, and there will be other pet-related activities, as well. This time, the cash will go to help the animals assisted by the nonprofit group, All Better Pets, based in Manchester, NH. The group offers rescue and emergency care for dogs.
Sarah said, “Lots of people donated that didn’t participate, and many donated more than the $10 fee we asked for.”
These New Hampshire groomers have pooled their talent, enthusiasm, and generous spirits to help others. Just one more way to show that grooming matters! (Learn more by visiting the groups Facebook page, Scrubbing Paws for a Cause.)