Cassondra Lang believes everyone deserves a nice haircut and some grooming attention, no matter their status in life.
The former kennel tech and self-professed animal lover saw homeless and less fortunate people in Penticton with pets that needed just that and came up with the idea for Fuzzybuddy’s Street Dog Grooming and Care.
“I saw a post online of a lady down in Los Angeles who does haircuts for homeless and it kind of clicked. I thought this is something I could do for our animal community and at the same time I can teach the owners the basic knowledge of grooming and keeping their animals healthier,” said Lang.
The non-profit, named after a street cat (Fuzzybuddy) that Lang took care of for a year before it died due to an illness it was born with, had been operating out of St. Andrew’s Church but was not receiving much traffic. Lang will now be moving to the library lawn, close to where the Monday Night Dinner’s for the less fortunate is, with the hopes that more people will use her service.
“We do have a lot of homeless or less fortunate people that have animals. I have seen cats, dogs and even a bearded dragon. While at the church I have groomed a chunky kitty and even got to meet some seasoned veterans of Canada. One dog has been across Canada three times and when she broke her back leg her owner sunk every last penny into her to get a metal rod in her leg to make sure she could get around comfortably,” said Lang. “For some of these street people, all they give a crap about is their pet. They just might not understand how to groom it properly to make sure it stays healthy and we want to show them that with no judgment.”
Due to financial constraints, Lang is only available to offer the service once a month—her next availability will be on Sept. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the library green space. She has teamed up with My Dog’s Paw mobile groomer, a certified fear-free groomer, to assist her. However, she is hoping to bring on more business support and has started a GoFundMe to help with purchasing grooming essentials such as flea shampoo, brushes, ear wipes, paw salve and other items such as mud mats and cooling pads to help enhance the pets experience. She is also looking for a local vet to partner with should an animal need their attention.
“We don’t want people to be scared to come to us, thinking that their pet will be taken away. What we want to do is give these pets a good grooming and teach the owner as we go about proper brushing, how to check for ear mites and that kind of things,” she said.
Monetary and supply donations (including pet food) can be dropped off at Whitelioness (419 Main St.) or at Happy Day’s in Oliver. For those that can’t access the GoFundMe online, Lang will also take funds through email transfer at CassondraLang@gmail.com.
“I really hope we can get this growing so we can offer more than one day a month. I want to be able to help those travelling through here during the summer months with their pets and those that live here year-round,” said Lang.
*****Editor’s note: This story previously stated Lang was a former vet tech when she in fact a former kennel tech*****