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Dog wash to benefit neglected, abused animals

Jerry Campbell photo -- Kelly Iams, of Grooming by Pam, 618 South Lincoln in O'Fallon, poses with her pit bull, Annabel. Iams is organizing a benefit for stray and abused animals, while Annabel is acting as the poster pup for the event.

By J.W. Campbell
Wednesday, February 27, 2008 9:07 AM CST

Annabel the pit bull has been fortunate in her life; now she has the opportunity to share her good luck with other dogs.

The 4-year-old pooch is the poster pup for a suds-4-my-buds fundraiser that will held 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 9 at Grooming by Pam, an O'Fallon business located at 618 South Lincoln.

At the fundraiser, all breeds, from dog show champions to mutts, can be professionally groomed by the staff at Grooming by Pam with the proceeds going to Mutts N Stuff, a St. Louis organization that provides foster homes for stray dogs and cats, especially those that are scheduled for euthanasia.At the March 9 event, owners can have their dog washed, dried and nails trimmed. The cost for dogs weighing less than 30 pounds is $10. For dogs weighing between 30 to 60 pounds the price is $20. The charge for canines weighing 60 pounds or more is $30. If someone just wants a brushing and nail clipping for their dog, there is no set cost, but a donation would be appreciated.

Those wishing to get their dog washed are encouraged to make an appointment or call ahead. For an appointment, call Kelly Iams at 210-0869.

According to Iams, the owner of Annabel, Mutts N Stuff has a history of tackling some of the most heart-wrenching animal cases.

"They like to take on special cases, animals with mange or broken legs or whatever," said Iams. "Unfortunately, they don't have the funds to treat them; so what we do is raise money for them so the foster parents don't have to do it out of pocket."

For Iams, the cause of neglected and abused dogs is personal.

"I worked at the Belleville Humane Society several years ago, where I met all sorts of different dogs there," she said. "Most of them were either given up by their owners or strays; but the first dog I met was a pit bull. He was just he coolest dog. When he first came in, he was 75 percent underweight, abused and neglected. He was found on a chain in the middle of East St. Louis. We took him in, got his weight pack up and he was just the coolest, sweetest dog there was.

"I decided that any breed that can take that sort of abuse and neglect and can come out of it still loving humans is the kind of breed I want for my own dog."

Subsequently, Iams adopted Annabel, another pit bull that rescued from a less than ideal situation.

Iams is also a member of the Gateway American Pit Bull Terrier Club, a group that is dedicated to fostering better understanding of pit bulls. According to the group's Web site, the organization hopes to change minds and dispel damaging myths surrounding the breed, as well as promote responsible ownership practices.

"You can train any dog to be vicious or you can train any dog to be awesome," said Iams. "It's all a matter of where the dogs are coming from and how they're raised. The only (negative) thing I've found about pit bulls is that they can be an aggressive dog; but you can say the same about other terriers - Jack Russells, Westies, whatever - all of them can be dog aggressive. Of course, the pit bull is a lot more powerful than you average Jack Russell, which means to own a pit bull you have to be the most responsible owners out there. You have to be on top of your game.

"I have three pit bulls and they've all been through obedience school and are in advanced training right now. We want to make sure that our group owners know that you've got to be the best. That's what our group is all about, educating."

For more information on Mutts N Stuff and the Gateway American Pit Bull Terrier Club, log onto their respective web sites at www.muttsnstuff. com and www.gapbtc.org.

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