Auction to benefit the GEAF

The Groomer's Emergency Assistanace Fund is holding an auction. Some of the best in our industry have graciously offered their time and expertise to a lucky bidder. I know I look up to all of these wonderful speakers. The bidding will continue until April 8th.

You must bid on the auction page.  Auctions For Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund. 

1. Suesan Watson's grooming career stretches over 40 years and she has received many class and group placings, including “Wahl 2003 Groomer of the Year” and three “Cardinal Crystal American Groomer of the Year” awards. She was also one of the top five competitors on ”Groom Team USA” for five years.
Winner can either travel to Suesan in Hoffman Estates, IL or pay her travel expenses to come to you. She would help the winner with whatever they wanted to work on, everyday grooming, faces, feet, how to change things up overall or competing skills. $250 day value.
Minimum bid $125.

2.Spend a half day with award winning GroomTeam USA member Veronica Frosch! Veronica has garnered many placements as well as multiple Best in Show and Best All Around wins. She won the Cardinal Crystal Achievement Award for Groomer of the year in 2008 and helped bring home the gold in the world team competitions in 2009 and 2013. 
Veronica will work with winner on anything pet grooming, competition poodles any division, technical (scissoring) any division, other breeds beginner and intermediate. $250 value, non-transferable and expires one year from date of auction. Winning bidder can travel to her in Coon Rapids, MN, or she will travel to you providing winner pays expenses for all travel, food and hotel.
Minimum bid $125.

3.Mackensie Murphy is a second generation groomer, basically raised under a grooming table. After growing up at trade shows and watching the contests, she started grooming on her own at the age of 18. In the past 9 years she's worked for, and studied under a handful of our industry's best. Mackensie began grooming competitively in 2011, where she moved up very quickly. She has been awarded multiple best in shows, best all around groomer, and a 3 time winner of the prestigious Liz Paul memorial best scissored poodle award. Mackensie is currently ranked # 3 on GroomteamUSA and is determined to make the next traveling team.
A one day (6 hour) lesson is valued at $500. Mackensie is willing to travel if fees are paid however, it would be easier scheduling wise if the winner comes to her. Mackensie is in Syracuse, NY. She will do anything on competitive grooming, hand scissoring, poodle, American cocker, bedlington, or any other every day sort of grooming. Minimum bid $250.

4. Kendra Otto graduated from The Great Lakes Academy of Professional Pet Styling in 1997. She ranked in the top 10 in the country for 4 consecutive years as well as the Number 1 pet stylist in the state of IL for those 4 years. She has placed at every major grooming competition around the country and won multiple Best in Show/Best All Around Groomer awards; her other awards consist of: multiple Creative Styling awards, Artistic Innovation award, she was invited to participate in the Superzoo Jackpot Contest in Las Vegas where she placed 6th out of 20 in a class of 50. She was the recipient of the prestigious Liz Paul Scissoring Award, the Will Stone Memorial Award for kindness to animals.
Kendra was also the first recipient of the Groomie Spirit Award, a nominee for 2009 Cardinal Crystal American Groomer of the Year; the 2011 and 2012 Cardinal Crystal Congeniality Award.

Kendra is an International Pet Styling Consultant for the Andis Company teaching seminars and blogging tips for pet stylists. She is also a published author in Grooming Industry Magazines, she teaches seminars worldwide, she is also published via video through the website and Andis home grooming tools YouTube videos. She is an International Judges Association certified judge and a United Show Managers Alliance certified judge, She is a certified pet stylist through National Dog Groomers Association of America, the International Professional Groomers Association and will continue on to become a master and certifier for them. She served as the secretary and is currently a board member for GroomTeam USA. She has appeared several times as a guest on the radio show called “Ask the Pet Vet” for WTMJ in Milwaukee, WI. She is also a host for Barkleigh Productions’ a live Ustream of grooming competitions throughout the USA.
I will donate one 5 hour day of training, the buyer has to join Kendra at her location in Chicago, IL. There is a one year expiration date and Kendra is open to what ever the buyer wants to learn; competition training, pet grooming, specialty breed work. Value set at $400.00. Minimum bid $200.
5. Scott Wasserman is a multiple Best In Show and Best All Around Groomer winner. He was the Intergroom International Groomer of the Year in 2001 and two time Best In Show winner at the U.S. Pet Pro Classic. Scott is a member of GroomTeam USA winning gold medals in England and Italy.
Full day of private is valued at $600. Scott can do anything requested. Lesson can be at the salon in Valparaiso IN or the winner pays travel expenses. Minimum bid $300
6.Lindsey Dicken is a National Certified Master Groomer. She has been grooming for 9 years, and has been grooming competitively for 7. Prior to becoming a pet stylist, Lindsey was active in preparing and exhibiting draft horses. Since beginning her dog grooming career, Lindsey has competed all over the world and won multiple Best All Around Groomer awards, Best Scissored Poodle award, World Champion Poodle Groomer, and Intergrooms American Groomer of the Year. She received the Lynn Carver Memorial Award for Best All Around Pet Stylist multiple years and the Cardinal Crystal American Groomer of the Year in 2012 and 2013. Lindsey has won several Best In Shows, most notably wins at Intergroom 2009, 2010, & 2013 with a Bichon Frise. Lindsey also won the Barkleigh Award for Competitive Groomer of the Year 2012 & 2013. She has qualified for GroomTeam USA's Top Ten Stylists every year she was eligible, reaching #6 her very first year. She was #1 ranked groomer in the nation for 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, & 2013, had the honor of traveling to Germany in 2009 to compete in the World Team Grooming Championship. She helped GroomTeam bring home the gold for the USA, winning the gold medal with a Bichon Frise. In 2011, GroomTeam USA traveled to Belgium, and Lindsey helped her team earn the Silver medal, competing with a miniature poodle in English Saddle trim. Most recently, she traveled with the team to Spain, and again won the gold, defeating 15 other countries. Lindsey is best known for her work on Bichins and Poodles, however she has also excelled in competition with Kerry Blue Terriers, Soft Coated Wheaton Terriers, Clumber Spaniels, English Cocker Spaniels, Gordon Setters, and mixed breeds. In addition to competing in grooming contests, Lindsey also shows her Bichons, miniature poodles, and Soft Coated Wheaton Terriers in AKC conformation shows.
Value is $400, and Lindsey prefers the winning bidder to travel to her in Altamonte Springs, FL, but can travel providing flight and hotel expenses are covered.
Minimum bid $200. 
7. Sue Zecco is a Certified Master Groomer with the National Dog Groomers Association of America and International Pet Groomers Association. With over 35 years experience, Sue has achieved quite a bit in her career. Sue is a multiple grooming contest winner, with many Best In Show and Best All Around Groomer awards to her credit. Her favorite accomplishments include winning Intergrooms International Groomer of the Year with BIS judge the late Serafino Ripamonte, and the Oster Invitationals Grand Champion. She has been a GroomTeam USA member since 1996, and was the first GroomTeam member to earn over 100 points in one years time. She also competed on two World Team Championships in England and Canada, helping the USA bring home both Gold and Silver medals. She was also the coordinator of the team that went to Barcelona, Spain. Sue is the very proud recipient of 6 Cardinal Crystal Achievement Awards, which include American Groomer, Judge, and Congeniality. After retiring from the competition ring, Sue and Jay Scruggs teamed up to do one day seminars throughout the country called Super Styling Sessions. From these one day seminars stemmed the beginning of their very popular DVD series, also called Super Styling Sessions. They now have over 30 in their ever growing library. Sue and her husband Ray own and operate the Pampered Pet Grooming Shop in Paxton, MA. They also breed Champion Standard Poodles under the Dreamcatcher prefix.
Private lesson has a value of $500. Winning bidder has the choice of traveling to Sue in Massachusetts or she will travel to winner with expenses covered.
Minimum bid $250.
8. Lisa Leady was a member of Groom Team USA from 2001-2007. She ended her grooming competition career as the number 2 groomer in the country. Lisa has won numerous judge of the year awards. She has traveled all over the world judging grooming contests and given private lessons to groomers who not only wanted help with competition grooming, but to improve their everyday craft.
Winner of this auction will receive one full day of private lessons. ($500.00 value) Lisa must be the one to travel and those expenses are the responsibility of the winner of auction.
Minimum bid $250.
9. Heather Roozee ("Rozay") is a top 5 ranked member of Groom Team USA. She has been grooming for over 14 years, and competing since 2005. She has achieved numerous placements and wins wit many different breeds. She specializes in poodles and terrier, especiallyhandstripped terriers. Most recently, she won Best in Show at All American, HH Backer, and Dallas Pet Pro Classic in 2013. She also won with poodles at Backer and Dallas. Heather has owned and operated "A Groomery" in DeKalb, IL since 2003. Heather has also joined the AKC conformation ring by conditioning and handling her first show dog, an Airedale Terrier, to his championship. Heather can help you improve your skills, whether for the contest ring or pet styles.
Winning bidder can either come to me in DeKalb, IL, or pay my expenses to come to them. I estimate the value of a full day hands on to be $300.
Minimum bid $150.
10. Jonathan David has had a very diverse career in the dog world. From a young age, he began in the show ring breeding and exhibiting multiple breeds. A graduate of the Nash Academy of Animal Arts, Jonathan had a very successful five year grooming competition career. Jonathan has been the recipient of multiple scissoring awards, multiple Best All Around Groomer awards and Best In Show earning him a position on Groomteam USA in 2008 and 2009. Desiring to take his career further, Jonathan was a contestant on Animal Planets “Groomer Has It” Season 1 and has been featured as a grooming expert on multiple Animal Planet television shows including “Dogs 101”, “Cats 101” and “America’s Cutest Dog.” Jonathan has also been featured as a pet expert on many American television programs including ABC’s “The View” and before moving to Florida he owned and operated a very successful mobile grooming business in NYC boasting a long list of celebrity clientele. Currently, Jonathan lives in south Florida where he owns and operates the Lap Of Luxury Dog Spa, breeds and exibits Biewer Terriers and serves as a board member of multiple dog clubs. Recently Jonathan has moved into yet another phase of his career conducting grooming seminars, judging competitions and he is an award winning national speaker.
Winner will need to travel to Jonathan in Fort Lauderdale, FL for their lesson. A full day lesson is a $500 value. It will be multiple breeds and coat types throughout the day, 9-5. If there is a specific breed request, Jonathan will try to get one, but no guarantee. Lesson will also include seeing how to run a board to accommodate 30+ dogs each day as well as the retail sales and customer service. Minimum bid $250.
11. Irina "Pina" Pinkusevich immigrated from The Ukraine in 1989 with her parents at the age of 18. She realized her passion as a Pet Stylist while working part-time as a bather. Looking to improve her skills & expand her horizons, Irina entered the world of Competitive Grooming in 2006. In her competitive career Irina has won multiple BIS & Best All Around Groomer awards. She is a two time recipient of the Lynne Carver Award for the most Best All Around Groomer wins in 2008 & 2010. Irina was also honored to win the Liz Paul Memorial Award for the most Best in Show wins in 2010 & 2012. She is the winner of the Winner’s Circle Jackpot 2011 where she won $32,500 for grooming Lucas, her champion American Cocker Spaniel. She was Top Groomer of the Year 2008 & 2010. She was awarded Show Groomer of the Year 2012 by Andis presented by Dogs in Review at Westminster Kennel Club. She has been a member of GroomTeam USA from 2008 through 2012. She competed in the World Championships on GroomTeam USA in 2009, 2011, & 2013 helping the U.S. team bring home a Silver & two Golds. Most recently Pina has expanded her career to include International Competition Judge & Seminar Speaker.
Winning bidder will need to travel to Pina in Fort Lauderdale, FL for their lesson. Pina will work with winner on whatever they wish. Lesson value is valued at $500.
Minimum bid $250.
12. Lori Craig, Owner of Doggie Styles in Moore Oklahoma, has been grooming 19 years. She is known for her creative grooming and is President of the Creative Groomers Association. She instructs on the art of creative grooming, both in the states and internationally. Lori's work has been seen on the cover of Groomer to Groomer, TLC 's Extreme poodles, and various other television morning shows. She loves to teach and show the art of creative grooming to others. 

For winning bid, Student will need to come to Moore Oklahoma at Lori's shop, or give notice of plans to attend a class Lori will be teaching at. Winner will also need to supply their own dog, and able to supply their own travel and hotel, We will cover Airbrushing, Color work, Salon Creative and much more. Value at $250 a day.
Minimum bid $125
13. Nicole Kallish, Owner of Sarasota Grooming Company, attended The Academy of Dog Grooming Arts and then successfully ran her mobile grooming business for 6 years in Illinois then Florida. Nicole has worked her way up the ranks in the ring earning many 1st, 2nd, and 3rd placements in entry and intermediate levels, including Best Groomed Dog. She received her first “group” placement at the All American Grooming Show in 2011. Nicole won the title of “Rising Star of the Year” at Intergroom in New Jersey in 2013 and has moved on to the “open” or “expert” level. Nicole was also a Barkleigh Honors nominee for "Up and Coming Groomer of the Year" in 2011 and 2012 and a nominee for the Cardinal Crystal Achievement Awards “Mobile Groomer of the Year” 2011 and 2012. Nicole continues to compete at several grooming shows each year and has recently started writing for industry publications as well as speaking at trade shows.
Nicole will spend a full day with you and can work on any type of pet trim, bathing, drying and prepping, and regularly competes with Bichons, Poodles in a lamb or German trim, Golden Retrievers, English Cockers, Springer Spaniels and mix breeds. She is currently expanding to hand stripping and can help you with the basics. Valued at $400. Nicole prefers winner to come to her in Sarasota, FL, but is willing to travel if expenses are paid.
Minimum bid $200.
Bidding has already begun and will continue until April 8th.

2013 Update On The Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund

Thanks to your support, the Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund was able to help six groomers in its first year. They were Christine Kalencki Buff, Monica Torelli, Christine Trombino Dunkerley, Tracy Wright, Jennifer Westenskow Patarino, and DeAnne D Orive.


A word from each of them:


From Christine Kalencki Buff:


I am on the path to recovery, but still a bit more to go. I was able to pay the bills to keep a roof over my head and my business open. We are still in temporary housing, and still looking for a place for my business, but I almost lost them both as well so I am very grateful for what you all have done for me. I still have hope when even that was almost taken as well. I worked so hard to get where I was, to have it all taken has been pretty devastating. To have a community to help keep my family afloat while we figured it out has been the much-needed support we were desperately looking for. Once we get all the way back on our feet we will be showing our gratitude to other groomers in need. Thank you again for everything.


From Monica Torelli:


I am doing really well I just had a check up last week and the bone graft has taken which means no more surgeries!! Another 6 week and my arm should be completely healed (except for some nerve damage which will most likely be permanent) I am back to work and it's going well, just can't groom a lot of big dogs yet.




From Christine Trombino Dunkerley:


I was a groomer for thirteen years when I suddenly began having problems seeing. Tests by a neurologist revealed a brain disease called Pseudotumor Cerebri. After thirty spinal taps, monthly hospital stays, a permanent brain shunt, and brain surgery, I was unable to work and forced to sell my mobile grooming van. I spend most of my time in bed with this painful, debilitating disease. Even with good insurance, I still owe a great deal in medical bills. The $1,000 I received from GEAF went to pay some these mounting expenses. Thank you so much for thinking of me. Although there is no cure for my disease and I am not in remission, I am a fighter and will never stop fighting.



From Tracy Wright:


Just letting you all know how we are doing. We are still trying to recover and build. My husband and I are still living in the 5th wheel in the back yard, but our bedroom is coming along. Just a little worried about the spring thaw. There is talk of another flood this year. I hate to say it, but our home will not withstand anotherone. I have to admit I am worried to see what will happen. My clients and friends and fellow groomers have been my crutch. Without all of you, I would have never been able to do this. Thank you.


From Jennifer Westenskow:


I am trying to do ok. I am slowly recovering from surgery, and still grieving the recent loss of my mother in law, with whom I was very close. I can't tell you what it meant, when I was unable to work because of illness, to have groomers that cared about how I was doing and wanted to help me. Having people care, that helped financially or even simply prayed for me, it gave me faith in humanity. It touched me so much; it lifted me up and turned me around. And it made me want to help others. At Christmas I found a family to help and I paid the kindness forward. For whoever started this group, it is so wonderful. Groomers understand each other, and we never know when we will need help. I am so grateful.




From DeAnne D Orive:


July 10th at 7:55AM, I heard a bang and Woosh. The wall between the business next door and myself came down as a title wave of water came into the building. It was approximately 3 ½ to 4 feet of water throughout the entire salon. I lost everything except 2 cages and 2 tables and my blades and a few scissors. The building was condemned and deemed uninhabitable.


I opened my salon 2005 and I had an excellent clientele and had insurance, but it did not cover anything due to outside water and act of nature. I also had a rider to include ½ annual wages for a year, this was not covered either.


My original loan from 2005 was going to be paid off October 2013, but I had to renew my original loan again to purchase new items at Hershey. Including dryers, cage dryers, clippers, tub, shampoos and all other accessories for the salon. With the Help of GEAF, Frank Rowe & Sons sharpened all my blades for free except shipping. Frank Rowe & Sons and Groomers Mall gave me discounts on items purchased. Thank you for your help.


This is ongoing and we are already in midst of aiding other groomers. Visit our Facebook page and website to learn how you can help or to request assistance.







Amazing Kids - Kristen Dougherty

I met Kristen Dougherty on November 12, 2012 in Belmar, NJ when a group of twelve well-meaning pet groomers descended into this town devastated by Hurricane Sandy. We were there to distribute much needed pet food and comfort items as well as to clean up muddy, sea-salted soaked local pets.

Most were local groomers, but a couple traveled an hour or two or three to get there, but Kristen and her father; Bob, made the fifteen hour journey from Michigan to help out. That is not a misprint. They traveled fifteen hours as part of a Hurricane Sandy Volunteer Project. We were but one of several stops. It was because of this sixteen years old enthusiasm, dedication, and organizational skills that the twelve of us we were able to clean up sixty-seven pets.

Kristen Belmar NJ
Kristen spent time in six separate towns over the next eight days preparing meals, helping local residents to replace food and clothing as well as gutting out flood damaged homes.

Bob and Kristen Sayreville NJ text
I was not surprised to find out that Kristen has been helping others since she was nine years old through such organizations such as and In addition, Kristen volunteers as her local humane society.

Girls on the Run 2012 (family) text
I wish this amazing young woman the best in life. For wherever Kristen goes, will be all the better for having her there. 


In June 2011, United Animal Nations changed their name to RedRover to reflect their continued direction and passion of this wonderful organization. Even though the name is different, their mission statement is the same.


“RedRovers mission is to bring animals out of crisis and strengthen the bond between people and animals through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education.”


They accomplish their mission through their volunteers, programs, collaboration with other organizations, and maximizing online technology. Through their many campaigns, their goals are three fold: to prevent animals from being in crisis, bringing animals out of crisis, and mitigating situations of animals in crisis.


Preventing Animals From Being In Crisis


  1. My Dog Is Cool. This program is designed to save the countless pets die every year when they are locked in cars while owners, work, shop, visit, or run errands. At, you can download posters, flyers, and other materials to educate your community about the dangers of hot cars and pets. Last year, over 31,00 flyers were distributed. That figure does not include flyers that were  downloaded.
  2. Premarin Awareness campaign educates the public about this female hormone replacement therapy drug made form the urine of pregnant mares and the effect it has on the thousands of mares and their foals.
  3. A Better Choice helps people make better decisions in their lives that improves the quality of life for all animals. 
  4. RedRover Readers is a reading program geared towards children. Volunteers visit elementary school, after-school programs, animal shelters, and other venues to read books to children that depict the human animal bond and exposes them to the concept of kindness to animals. It has the added benefit of helping children develop critical thinking skills and empathy.


Bringing Animals Out Of Crisis


  1. RedRover Responders. Volunteers shelter and care for animals affected by natural disasters, criminal seizures; including puppy mills and dog fighting, and hoarding. If you are or know of someone in need of these services call 1-800-440-3277.
  2. RedRover Relief provides funding to Good Samaritans, animal rescuers, and pet owners due to life threatening situations through grants and other financial assistance programs.


Mitigating Crisis Situations Of Animals


  1. RedRover Reporters encourage people to be on the lookout for animal cruelty and left in locked, hot cars. They offer financial incentives for witnesses to come forward to testify.
  2. Providing educational opportunity and awareness through the community with:
  1. Events across the country. They offer training workshops, online programs, and are involved with pet related community events such as walkathons.
  2. Blogs about their programs and the animals they have assisted.
  3. Newsletters about upcoming programs and events sent to their members.
  4. In 2011, they issued 19 press releases to the media.
  5. They maintain a list of available downloadable publications including annual reports, It’s Hot flyers, disaster tips, and other educational materials.
  6. A library of videos detailing their programs and rescues.
  7. They have fully embraced the online community through Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube. You can also sign up for mobile alerts.


By The Numbers


In 2010, they responded to 11 crisis’, sheltering 2,769 animals. Their volunteers logged in over 5,400 hours. They issued 526 RedRover Relief Grants totaling $113.947. They made 214 RedRover Reader Visits that reached 1,685 children.


I’m proud to be a member and there are many ways to help support Red Rover. The first is by visiting their website at




On Sunday, December 13th, the Danbury Animal Welfare Society invited me to their 2nd annual Champion Member Brunch. Champion members are those who donate $250 or more during the annual membership drive. Food was excellent and we sat through a wonderful, uplifting presentation on DAWS vision for the future as well as their annual update.

Through the community’s generous support as well as their sound financial practices, the shelter installed new kennel roofs, emergency exit lighting, new windows and doors and new exterior fencing. Among new capital improvements for 2010 include remodeling the interior to add a community meeting room. I am very excited about this since I will have a place to hold my pet first aid classes as well as other pet educational seminars.

They have provided continued education for their shelter manager. This keeps the shelter running at peak efficiency. They have added 65 new volunteers. They filled positions from office help to socialization and training of residents to clinic help and everything in between. No matter what your interest or skills are, there is a job waiting for you at the shelter.

This year the shelter adopted out more than 300 dogs, including 42 puppies. Big thanks go to the foster families who take in special needs and pregnant dogs. It also saw the adoption of 275 cats and kittens. They Trapped, Neutered and Returned 90 cats back to feral colonies, compared to 22 last year. They also performed 73 low-cost spay and neuters in the community.

DAWS vision for the future includes a new shelter by 2019, complete with an on-site medical clinic.

Their two biggest fundraisers for the year are the Puppy Love Ball set for February 20th and the Annual Walk for the Animals set for September 26th. The newest fundraiser is a 2010 calendar. They are $20 and make a great stocking stuffer for the animal lover in your life. All proceeds go directly to DAWS. You can contact them at  to buy tickets, make a donation or see adoptable dogs and cats. The direct link for the calendar is

DAWS would like to remind everyone during the Holiday Season to save a life and adopt not shop.

To read part one go to

Danbury Animal Welfare Society

 The Danbury Animal Welfare Society:, is a no-kill shelter. It began in 1974 with Anne Tracey and Sherrie Delaney adopting pets out of their homes. 147 Grassy Plain Road in Bethel, CT was originally a veterinarian hospital. In 1993, DAWS receives a generous donation of that building and the acre parcel of land it sits on. They can house 30 dogs and 60 cats and consistently do so throughout the year. In addition, they have as many as 50 animals in foster care. Foster care families are always in demand. Most of the pets in foster care are injured or babies. They need the love, attention and nurturing that only a family can provide away from the stresses of shelter life.I%20Phone%20033[1]

There are three ways for a dog or cat to become a resident of DAWS.

1.       The owner surrenders them to the shelter. This is usually due to financial hardship, relocation or death.

2.       Dogs are transported from high-kill shelters or the save-a-sato foundation:  This program gives these dogs an opportunity to find a forever home. The only other option for these dogs is euthanasia. Upon arrival, the animal is sent to the on-site clinic. Here they’re evaluated and any medical needs attended to. Such needs could include neutering, vaccinations and any injury or illness addressed.

3.       DAWS periodically rescues dogs from local pounds. In addition, if space allows, friendly cats from the Trap/Neuter/Return program are given the chance to find a forever home.

Last year, they placed 293 dogs and 169 cats. The return rate for dogs was 7%. This compared to a national average of 50%. Their low rate of return is due to their comprehensive Training and Evaluation Program. Bruce Caplan:  is the Training Director and has instituted a program that addresses behavior issues and properly matching dogs to family.

DAWS is a strong presence in the community. Last year, they performed 30 low cost spay/neuters at the on-site clinic. In addition, 66 cats were part of the Trap/Neuter/Return Program. These programs help to reduce unwanted pets and to control the feral cat population.

 Volunteers from Danbury Animal Welfare Society also visit schools, youth organizations and businesses to educate people in the care of animals, importance of spay/neuter programs, responsible ownership, the prevention of cruelty and the importance of adopting and not shopping for companion animals. Their youth volunteers are organizing a mentoring program to educate young children about animal welfare.BHS%20%26%20Stuff%20037[1]

Every June, they hold the Hound Hike. Alumni of the shelter meet at Tarrywile Park for a day of fun.

The Ani-meals program works with Meals-on-Wheels. Morgan Stanley has sponsored this program for the last two years. They deliver dog and cat food to housebound and senior families. For some owners, this is the only way they can keep their pets. They also help with home-to-home adoptions and finding lost pets.

The shelter operates on a bare-bone budget of $400,000. This is the absolute minimum needed to run the shelter. There are also the medical needs of the residents to consider. Though many area veterinarians offer reduced rates, it is still a formidable expense. In addition, there is food, electric, heat, telephone, office and shelter expenses, salaries and taxes and building maintenance. Last year, a roof, windows, doors and thermostats were NEEDED. This year, it is the perimeter fencing that NEEDS replacement. Then there are the “vetting or pulling fees”. Ironically, these are the fees DAWS must pay to rescue animals from high-kill shelters and local pounds. At first glance this seems hard to believe, that DAWS must pay to give dogs a second chance. These fees are one of the few revenue sources high-kill and local pounds have and they are critical to their ability to stay afloat. They do not have enough community support to survive on their own.

DAWS has a volunteer base of 182, a full-time Shelter Manager and a staff of 19. This staff and volunteer force work collaboratively to rescue, rehome and care for the animals that come to DAWS. A portion of the building maintenance labor is donated or billed at a reduced rate and volunteers perform all administration duties.

Through adoption fees, they raised $71,475 in 2008.That leaves a shortfall of $325,000. So, where do they come up with the rest of the money?

1.       They have an affiliate program with, and This allows people to make online donations.

2.       You can visit their ebay store at  It is stocked with 100% community donated items.

3.       Companies like Pitney Bowes, IBM and Cartus hold non-profit agency days.

4.       Their marketing committee in conjunction with their clinic committee has spent untold hours applying for grants.

5.       Their annual tag sale raised $6,800 last year.

6.       The Mother’s Day Bake Sale raised $1,700.

7.       Picture with Your Pet Day.

8.       You can donate your car at .

9.       The annual Walk for Animals raised $53,000.

10.   The Puppy Love Ball and Silent Auction raised $26,000 after expenses. It featured formal dining and dancing. It is where yours’ truly successfully bid on a pair of earrings.Auction%20Viewing[1]

11.   Last, but not least, personal donations, sponsorships and memberships. A revamped Membership Program in 2008 raised more than $30,000.

For the shelter that does so much for its community, its community also rallies for them.

Girl Scout and Brownie Troops have ongoing programs to raise money and collect much needed items. The items collected include bowls, food, toys and blankets. Many area children will ask for donations to DAWS instead of presents. In addition, many local wedding and anniversary celebrations also ask for donations to DAWS.

Last year, more than 2,000 DAWS supporters logged onto FIVE weeks before the end of the contest. They went from dead last to the #8 spot. When the Zootoo crew came to Danbury, many area businesses shut down to offer services, food, money and their support. Schools bussed interested children from grade school to high school for the event. While they did not win first place with Zootoo, they had already won first place in the hearts of Danbury.I%20Phone%20073[1]  I%20Phone%20076[1]  I%20Phone%20070[1]

From their humble beginnings in Anne’s and Sherrie’s kitchen, they now serve a vital need in the community. Their impact reaches much further than the Danbury border. As DAWS celebrates their 35th anniversary, let’s continue to give them the ability to help their and other shelters across the country to operate.