MERRIMACK – Jack’s pretty doggone psyched about the nice haircut he got last week.
The handsome yellow Labrador from Henniker was trimmed down, his blonde coat shiny and short. Perfect for spring.
Little does Jack know that his shed fur – which ordinarily would end up in the trash – may help fellow creatures affected by the massive oil spill on the Gulf Coast. That’s thanks to Sherri Goodreau, a groomer with The Merrimack Veterinary Hospital on Daniel Webster Highway.
Goodreau is collecting hair and fur to ship to an organization that uses the super-oil-absorbent strands to make products that will help contain oil spilled in the Gulf beginning two weeks ago.
Goodreau started collecting fur and hair last week. In addition to Jack, fellow donors included Melvin, an Akita cross; Buddy and Rudy, neighboring Shih Tzus from Nashua; Trevor, a black Labrador cross; and Yorkshire Terrier siblings, Izzy and Emmet, also from Nashua.
“The owners think it’s really neat,” said Goodreau, who’s worked at the hospital for 18 years. “They’re all really excited about it.”
The collected hair and fur will be sent to the nonprofit California-based organization, Matter of Trust, which aims to “link ideas, spark action and materialize sustainable systems,” according to its Web site.
One of its projects is to mimic natural processes with man-made surplus items – like hair and fur. Because they are natural oil absorbers, Matter of Trust is collecting trimmings from all over the country to weave “hair mats” – for placement on beaches – and “hair booms” – in which hair is stuffed into recycled nylon booms for placement on the water.
The organization made hair mats to help soak up oil on beaches in the San Francisco area following a cargo ship spill of 58,000 gallons of oil in 2007.
For this most recent spill, the organization has 15 warehouse locations for hair and fur collection, including spaces in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida, according to the organization’s Web site.
Goodreau, who belongs to several groomer trade boards, recently learned about the organization through its outreach campaign to those boards.
After receiving the go-ahead from hospital director Dr. Dennis Chmiel, she signed up to help.
“If any groomers or hair salons want to do it, it’s so easy,” Goodreau said. “I’m feeling that’s so rewarding, and my clients are also.”
Someone, Goodreau added, asked why she was doing this.
“It’s really a question of ‘Why not?’ ” she said. “I pack it up in a box and send it. It’s the ultimate recycling.”
In the past week, Goodreau has collected hair from 30 to 35 animals that were being groomed or shaved in preparation for surgery. She’s extracting as much fur as possible through “furmination,” in which special shampoo and conditioner is applied to also remove fur that will shed in coming weeks. (To support the cause, the hospital is offering this service – typically $10 – free for the month.)
Goodreau has enough trimmings to fill a large box – about the size of a large microwave – which she intends to ship this week. Her goal is to collect a box full each week for as long as the crisis continues.
In addition, she is collecting fur through her personal, house-call grooming business, There’s No Place Like Home.
For more information, call the Merrimack Veterinary Hospital at 424-9922.
Karen Lovett can be reached at 594-6402 or email@example.com.