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Bathe to Save fundraiser a tail-wagging success

  • More than 80 dogs had a bath in the HydroDog van parked at Steve Lewis Subaru in Hadley Sunday.   DAVID MCLELLAN

  • Aria Amos, 11, washes one of the dogs brought to the Bath to Save event Saturday, to raise money for the Dakin Humane Society. DAVID MCLELLAN

  • The HydroDog is a mobile pet grooming vehicle. Anthony Amos started the company, HydroDog Mobile Pet Grooming, 24 years ago in his native Australia.  DAVID MCLELLAN

  • The HydroDog is a mobile pet grooming vehicle. Anthony Amos started the company, HydroDog Mobile Pet Grooming, 24 years ago in his native Australia.  DAVID MCLELLAN

  • For the last 12 months, the Amos family has been traveling to different U.S. states in their 40-foot motor coach of a home to wash dogs and donate money to local animal rescue centers, for one reason: to encourage animal adoption. DAVID MCLELLAN



For the Bulletin
Thursday, October 19, 2017

HADLEY – For the last 12 months, the Amos family has been traveling to different U.S. states to wash dogs and donate money to local animal rescue centers, for one reason: to encourage animal adoption.

On Sunday, the Australian family, who has been featured on national television programs including the “Rachel Ray Show,” brought their Bathe to Save National Tour to Massachusetts, the 46th state of their tour. For this stop, the Amos family partnered with the Dakin Humane Society and Steve Lewis Subaru, which hosted the event on Route 9.

“No one in the history of America has brought the rescue world and the wash and groom world together in this way, so this is the largest franchise of its kind,” said Anthony Amos.

Five Aussies make up the Amos family: Anthony, Rachel and their children, Isabella, Austin and Aria. They own HydroDog Mobile Pet Grooming. The company, started by Anthony 24 years ago, typically travels around Australia in the HydroDog, a van converted into a bathhouse for dogs, featuring sinks, hoses and other dog-washing and dog-grooming equipment.

Just over a year ago, the Amos family decided they would bring the HydroDog to America. Their plan was to live in a 40-foot motor coach, traveling across the country, washing dogs and establishing relationships with animal adoption shelters for 18 months.

According to Anthony, a dog is euthanized somewhere in America every 26 seconds.

“When the kids realized that several thousand dogs are put down each day, that really hit our hearts,” Anthony said.

When looking for a venue for the Bathe to Save Massachusetts stop, he said he selected Steve Lewis Subaru because the car dealership has a campaign, Subaru Loves Pets, that is focused on animal welfare. The dealership also has a partnership with Dakin Humane Society, which runs adoption programs for cats and dogs from its shelters in Leverett and Springfield. The three parties then came together in what they all called a “natural partnership.”

“Probably 90 percent of Subaru owners are pet owners,” Tracy Stearns, the projects and operations manager for Steve Lewis Subaru, said.

The event took place in the dealership’s parking lot from noon to 4 p.m. Around 2 p.m., Amos said the family had already broken their all-time record for most dogs washed at a single Bathe to Save stop, washing more than 83 dogs for the day, charging $20 a dog.

“Isabella, my daughter, checks people in and takes down their dogs’ names, and my other two kids, Austin and Aria, they both clean and dry the dogs,” Amos said.

Money collected at the Hadley event — and all money collected on the Bathe to Save tour — is given to GreaterGood, an organization that supports animal adoption centers and advocates for animals’ welfare. GreaterGood will give the money collected from Sunday’s event to Dakin, Anthony said.

“Today opens up the doorway between Dakin and GreaterGood,” he said.

Stacey Price, Dakin’s director of development and marketing, said that the majority of Dakin’s funds are provided by individuals through donations and adoption fees. The average animal at Dakin costs $512 to care for, and Dakin cares for around 6,000 cats and dogs a year. The Bathe to Save fundraiser and Steve Lewis Subaru’s support, Price said, makes a huge difference.

“This is extremely important. We get no government or state money, and we provide medical treatment, tick and flea treatment, micro-chipping,” Price said. “Subaru is also going to match every donation through Bathe to Save.”

With at least 83 dogs bathed at $20 each, and Subaru matching that money, Dakin should expect to receive, at the very least, $3,320 from Sunday’s Bathe to Save. However, the benefits of the event, Anthony said, are greater than the pile of cash raised.

“We’re building this franchise on the back end of a culture, not the back end of a business model,” Amos said. “We’re raising awareness about animal adoption and it’s impossible to quantify that.”