Transforming lives through love and grooming

In a world where kindness and compassion can make a profound difference, AWLA strives to make a difference every day for pets and their families in our community. In addition to vaccination clinics, low-cost spay vouchers, emergency medical grants, and a pet food pantry, AWLA provides free grooming services to community members that dogs need. a day at the spa. However, these spa days would not be possible without Ann, one of our dedicated animal care technicians. She has spent the past five years providing free grooming services to local pets and families. Her journey, fueled by a genuine desire to help animals and their owners, has touched the lives of many pets and created lasting bonds within the community.

Ann’s journey to becoming a dog groomer was born out of her love for animals and her desire to make a positive impact. Ann started volunteering at our shelter in 1999, spending her Saturday mornings cleaning the kennels and feeding the dogs. During that time, she saw countless animals in need of grooming help enter the shelter, but she couldn’t help them. After retiring as the Air Force Band Chief Master Sergeant in 2013, Ann joined AWLA as an employee. Driven by her passion, Ann seized the opportunity to attend grooming school, using her GI Bill benefits to fund her education. After four months of intensive training, she worked for two years in a grooming salon, honing her skills and developing her talent.

From shelter to community

Although her original intention was to groom the animals within the shelter, Ann recognized the immense need for her services beyond our walls. When we started our community care clinics, Ann jumped at the opportunity to participate. Initially offering basic nail clippings and other small grooming services, she quickly realized the potential for a more comprehensive program.

Ann began handing out free full grooming vouchers, inviting pet owners to bring their pets to AWLA for full grooming experiences. Ann’s dedication and expertise quickly caught the eye and her clientele grew through referrals and repeat customers who appreciated her exceptional care.

Ann now grooms up to eight clients a week, as well as our shelter dogs. To date, she has performed 289 free groomings. These appointments encompass a range of regular and new clients, each receiving the utmost attention and care. Ann believes in empowering pet owners with knowledge, providing grooming tips for home maintenance, and providing essential supplies such as brushes, harnesses, and shampoo. During the grooming process, Ann ensures that her clients receive a complete experience, including a bath, conditioning treatment, blow-dry, nail trim, ear cleaning, and breed-specific haircuts. Additionally, she uses these opportunities to discuss topics such as the benefits of spaying and vaccinating pets, as well as the benefits of a holistic approach to pet care.

Beyond the Grooming Table

Ann’s impact goes far beyond the grooming table. Building deep relationships with her clients, she has become a trusted resource for pets and their owners. One such relationship is with Rosa and her dog Doodles, who is a therapy dog ​​for her son with autism. During a recent visit to one of our clinics, our team noticed that Doodles were in dire need of grooming services. Rosa hadn’t been able to have him treated because she didn’t have a car. Our team worked together to arrange special care for Doodles: every eight weeks, a member of our team picks up Doodles from home and drives him to the shelter for his spa appointment. This act of kindness not only ensures the well-being of the Doodles, but also allows Rosa and her family to provide other necessary care and supplies for their beloved furry member.

Jandira also learned about our program at one of our community clinics, and it was a turning point for her and her beloved companion, Scooby. Scooby had always been afraid to go to the groomer, which caused distress for him and Jandira, but that all changed when they met Ann. As a single mother of three, Jandira greatly appreciates the financial assistance provided by free grooming services, allowing her to invest in healthy pet food and other supplies to meet Scooby’s needs. After each grooming session with Ann, Scooby not only looks fantastic, he also feels great, his spirits lifted thanks to Ann’s exceptional care and attention.

As Ann’s journey of compassion and transformation continues, she remains committed to expanding her program and reaching more people in need. His selflessness, expertise and love for animals touched the lives of many people, making a profound difference in the welfare of animals and their owners. Thanks to its free grooming program, Ann exemplifies the power of kindness, demonstrating that a simple act of caring can create a ripple effect of love and compassion throughout the community.


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