It's been a ruff year (pun intended) and pet parents were able to get a little assistance on Saturday thanks to a national pet charity.
The Pandemic Pup Relief Tour held a pop-up event at Saja Grooming Salon on Kaliste Saloom in Lafayette this weekend and provided free grooming services to dogs and pet parents. Organizers hoped to help out pups and their owners who are experiencing hardship during this difficult year.
The tour, sponsored by Wisconsin-based grooming tool manufacturer Andis Company, originated as a six-city circuit during July and August with a two-day event in each community, offering free grooming and salon services to dogs in need. Partnering with area rescues, shelters, and Black-owned pet businesses, the tour highlighted everything the partners do to support the cities they live in.
Founder Brian "The Dogfather of Harlem" Taylor explained that the entire initiative started with one donation.
"I got this donation; I wanted to travel the country, and I reached out to a bunch of African American groomers to see if they were interested. And altogether that's how the Pup Relief Tour started, just organically trying to give back during difficult times."
Taylor said after the Acadiana area was impacted by several hurricanes this year, he "just knew that at that time, the need was here." And he was right. Within three days, the tour had booked more than 200 appointments.
When Saja owner Brittany Dandy heard of the act of kindness, she says she was blown away emotionally.
"We were nobody to them," she commented. "So for them to come and do that, it's just so selfless. I think that people do want to help regardless of any hardship that anybody can be facing right now. We care, we care about the community, we care about the people, we care about the animals, and people are showing up to help. It means a lot to see that they can take some time out to give to a community while in the holiday time."
And the local residents aren't the only ones feeling the love. Acadiana showed love right back.
One volunteer commented, "It's been amazing so far. The dogs are awesome, the people are awesome, the food is awesome."
Dandy added that one customer on Friday baked fresh candied pecans for everyone involved.
"It's always nice that all these people that are not from here get to see our southern hospitality in Acadiana," she said. "You come here to help us, and we're going to feed you and make you feel loved and welcomed."
Click here for more information on the Pandemic Pup Relief Tour.
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