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VOL. 126 | NO. 128 | Friday, July 1, 2011

Spay & Neuter Services Gets Helping Hand

By Aisling Maki

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A contest pitting 55 Memphis-area salons against one another for the title of “Most Pet-Friendly Hair Salon” came to a finish this week, with a total of $7,300 raised for Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services, a nonprofit clinic dedicated to reducing pet overpopulation through affordable spay and neuter services.

Hair Wars, which began in April, was the brainchild of Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services board member Deborah Camp, who said hair stylists are some of the first folks who come to mind when she thinks of animal lovers.

“When I’ve gotten my hair cut at different salons over the years, I’ve sat in the chair looking up at the stylist’s mirror, and there would always be a picture of their pet,” Camp said. “So, that’s where I got the idea in the first place, thinking about who the pet lovers out there were, who’d be willing to do something like this for us.”

Camp talked to salon owners across the Memphis area and identified those who’d be willing to help.

“We were very grateful because most people said yes,” she said. “And some really threw themselves into it and got competitive.”

Fifty-five salons, including Hi Gorgeous, Gould’s Poplar Plaza, Epic Total Salon and Juve Germantown, signed on to prove who could raise the largest amount of money in a two-month period. Donations ended Thursday, June 30.

Collection boxes were placed in salons, and salon owners and employees began soliciting donations from their pet-loving customers.

Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services board members stopped by the salons each week to record the amounts raised. Totals were then emailed out to help stylists keep track of how they were stacking up against the competition.

Courtney McCollum, owner of Paggio’s For Hair at 1684 Poplar Ave., describes herself as a huge animal lover.

“People bring their dogs in here all the time and I totally love that,” said McCollum, who for several years has been involved in fundraising for Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services.

McCollum, who had her pug Weezy spayed at the 854 Goodman St. clinic, had no reservations about asking her many pet-loving customers to donate to the nonprofit.

“What they do is fantastic,” McCollum said. “Low-cost spay and neutering is really the key to keeping animal populations down. There are so many animals out there just waiting to be adopted. The way to combat that is by spaying and neutering.”

According to information from Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services, an estimated 6 million to 8 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year in the United States, and millions more are abandoned.

Spaying and neutering reduces the number of unwanted dogs and cats and enables pets to live longer, healthier lives.

Despite the Memphis City Council passing a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for cats and dogs last year, the number of unwanted pets remains high, as evidenced by the continuing high kill rates at the city’s animal shelter.

Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services, which opened in 2005, has spayed/neutered more than 2,200 cats and dogs so far this year, with the help of donations from the community.

The H.W. Durham Foundation recently awarded the organization a $28,000 grant that will enable pet owners ages 55 and older to have their pets spayed/neutered for a $10 co-payment.

And Camp said the $7,300 raised by Hair Wars will help Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services continue its mission. She also said it’s likely she’ll organize a Hair Wars 2 for 2012.

“It was very fun getting to meet some great people who loved animals and really supported our mission,” she said. “They’re people who said, ‘Yes, you’re doing the right thing for animals.’ You really can’t adopt your way out of this problem; we’ve got to spay and neuter.”

Dabbles Hair Co. at 19 N. Cooper St. took the top prize, raising $1,312.70. The salon will receive a trophy and the designation of Most Pet-Friendly Hair Salon.

Diva Colour Salon came in second place with $1,130.96, followed by stylists Rodney Brown and Karen Mayes in third with $561.68. Tangles Hair Studio, Ryan Patrick Salon and Paggio’s rounded out the top six.

Visit www.spaymemphis.org for more information.

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