The parking lot at Hanlon’s K-9 on Saturday had clearly gone to the dogs.
Canines, their owners, mobile grooming stations and tables of donations greeted those who stopped by the shop and training center for the benefit “Groom-A-Thon” event, being held for any owners and pets affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Hanlon’s and a group of groomers who had traveled from as far as New England and the Midwest were offering shavedowns, bath and tidies and nail clipping for all dogs who were brought to the event, free of charge.
In addition, the shop was accepting donations of food, pet products and cleaning supplies, which will be offered to those who are helping to rescue pets from areas damaged by the hurricane.
Robert Hanlon, co-owner of Hanlon’s K-9, said that the event was the second of its kind, with the first being held a week earlier.
“Along with my partner (and fellow co-owner) Kristen Tedesco, we decided to hold this here. We have the biggest parking lot for it, and we’re trying to do everything we can to help the pet owners here,” said Hanlon.
Hanlon added that his training center focused on a lot of rescue operations and adoptions, through agencies such as the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township.
Mobile canine groomer Lisa Correia of Toms River devised the concept for the “Groom-A-Thon”.
“I was in Florida when the storm happened,” Correia said. “My first thought was my clients out on the barrier island, I was concerned for them. I came home the following Wednesday and checked in with them, then headed right down to the shelter at Toms River High School North to do what I could to help out.”
Correia explained that she saw the shelter needed assistance when it came to the caretaking of animals, and that many pets had been rescued from some ugly situations due to the storm.
“I was watching the morning news from Belmar, and decided that I wanted to give back,” said Correia.
At that point, Correia and a group of her fellow groomers went to Belmar last week to hold the first “Groom-A-Thon” event, which was a success. All in all, 67 dogs were taken care of that day by a total of 11 groomers, to the delight of their grateful owners.
“Then, I wanted to give back to my own community, so we wanted to have an event here in Toms River,” Correia stated.
Correia said that she didn’t plan the “Groom-A-Thon” events for any sort of recognition, but as an avenue to give something back to her community through her chosen profession, which she said has been extremely rewarding.
“Groomers have come here from Massachusetts, Illinois, all over. I’m proud of the way that we’ve pulled together,” said Correia.
Correia also wanted to thank the Rotary Club of Toms River, who provided the event with food and refreshments for sale, the entire proceeds of which would be donated to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Fellow groomer Mary Wallace, a resident of Point Pleasant, said that the day was a great cause and she was proud to participate.
“I think it shows a lot of character and people’s true value for helping one another,” Wallace stated.
On Sunday afternoon, the groomers planned to take their talents south to the Barnegat Animal Clinic on North Main Street, where they will participate in an identical event to help dog owners in that area.