MAHWAH, N.J. —A Mahwah business owner has started an annual fundraiser to help families with sick pets who can't afford to treat them.
Patricia Sanford of " Ruff Cuts Pet Grooming Salon " in Mahwah told Daily Voice she knows how it feels to not be able to afford to save your pet's life.
In 2006, her beloved Lhasa Apso Rollie required $7,000 life saving surgery.
"I remembered how devastating it felt that I couldn't save him because I didn't have the money," Sanford said.
Her parents ended up lending her the money for the surgery, and Rollie lived 13 happy years. When he passed in 2013, Sanford decided to start the " Rollie's Paw Prints Fundraiser " to raise money for other families with sick pets.
"I didn't want it to be the end of Rollie," Sanford told Daily Voice.
Sanford partnered with Dr. Larry Ness of Airmont Animal Hospital in Suffern to provide discounted healthcare to Rollie's Fund recipients, and then turned to crowdfunding platform YouCaring.com to collect donations.
This year — the fundraiser's third — Sanford raised $10,158 from 253 different donors and helped 75 different families provide health care for their pets, including several lifesaving operations.
"It is very rewarding," said Sanford, who said she keeps of a book of all the thank you letters she receives. "I am so grateful to everybody who donated."
Sanford said she wasn't passionate about animals growing up. But when she got Rollie, it inspired her to quit her job in marketing and go to grooming school so she could open up a pet salon.
"I just loved Rollie so much that I wanted to hang out with him everyday and bring him to work with me," Sanford said.
Through her fundraiser Sanford hopes Rollie's spirit will live on.
"This is a way that Rollie's memory will never fade."