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Wellington Rescue Shelter coming soon
By Bev Odom/The Red River Sun—
WELLINGTON —Siblings Andi Needham Duke and Eric Needham recently joined forces to fill a growing demand for dog groomers in Collingsworth County. As the national number of pets per household trends upward, the growth potential for pet care increases. The Wellington area is no exception.
Since Cheryl’s Dog Grooming closed about five years ago, animal lovers have searched for someone to take care of their needs. Eric’s wife Kacee Needham actually came up with the idea according to Andi.
“We started practicing on their dogs and mom’s dogs and taking online classes,” Andi said.
No stranger to instruction and schooling, Andi and Eric are both graduates of West Texas A&M University. Plus Andi maintains her cosmetology license.
“Sure I know how to use clippers, but everything is opposite and completely different with animal grooming,” Andi laughed. “Our first client came July 31 and in six to eight weeks, we had groomed over 100 dogs. We had 25 last week.”
Mostly house dogs, Andi grooms the pet first then Eric bathes the animal. Next is a blow-dry before Andi does the nails and ears. “We are both animal lovers,” Andi said. “We get it from our dad (Craig Needham). He has always had hunting dogs.”
In fact, A&E Dog Grooming has access to property owned by their dad to expand the business by adding a rescue dog shelter too.
“We’ve had so many people offer so many things and the Wellington community has been so supportive,” Andi added. “That’s what it’s going to take – it takes a village.”
As the grooming business is outgrowing the small space behind Andi’s home, it really needs more room. For the rescue shelter, it will have to be accessible to the public for dog intakes.
The duo applied to the IRS for the rescue shelter to be approved as a nonprofit organization. After a three-month wait they recently received an approval letter in early December for the 501(c)(3) status. Wellington Rescue Shelter is federally recognized as a tax exempt nonprofit organization.
“Now we are eligible to apply for grants, have fundraisers and accept tax free donations,” said Andi. “This was a huge step in being able to open the shelter. We also got the go ahead from City Manager Jon Sessions.
We discussed our plans and goals, and we all want what’s best for our community and the animals that need our help. So we will be working alongside the city to help improve our community’s animal control. I am so grateful for their support in our organization and happy that this will be a team effort.”
The duo’s goal is to have the rescue shelter open this coming spring. In the meantime, contributions can be mailed to Wellington Rescue Shelter at 1400 Childress St., Wellington, TX 79095 or simply dropped off at Wellington State Bank. So what’s the next step?
“We will be applying for grants and setting up fundraisers to help with our shelter facility start up costs,” she said. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work and patience to get started but if we’re going to do this, we want to do it right.”
The shelter will remain separate from A&E Dog Grooming.
“We’ve actually found a building to be moved here but the shelter will not be in the building. The building will be used for dog grooming and will be where the community can bring dogs that need to go to the shelter.”
The only federally recognized nonprofit animal rescue organization in the area, Andi and Eric already have dog grooming clients from the Hollis and Childress area. Contact A&E Dog Grooming at 806-205-2017 and find them on Facebook.