For the cause

Female DVM shaves her head to raise money for struggling shelter
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Feb 01, 2011

North Bend, Ore. — An Oregon veterinarian and her husband shaved their heads to draw attention to the plight of shelter animals in their community.

Kelly Thompson, DVM, a veterinarian at Hanson-Meekins Animal Hospital in North Bend, Ore., made a claim that if donors would give a total of $5,000 to help treat stray cats and dogs, she and her spouse would shave their heads. The fundraiser was dubbed, "Shave a Vet, Save a Pet." Not only did it work, she made good on the pledge.

Thompson, herself an owner of eight cats, four dogs and four foster kittens, has been working with the Animals of the Coos County Animal Shelter for some time, helping to provide vaccinations and spays and neuters.

"After a while, I said I need to raise you guys some money. If we can raise $5,000, I'll shave my head," she recalls. "The good news, I learned, after doing this was that everyone tells me I have a nice-shaped head."

She says they would've gone through with the charitable act even if they fell short of the $5,000 mark because the people who gave money, "still should get something," she told KCBY, a local television station, which helped to spread the word of her initiative. "Some people drove out of their way to donate to this cause."

Beyond TV coverage, additional promotion of the fundraiser came as a result of Facebook posts, a newspaper article, word-of-mouth to clients at the veterinary clinic and posters positioned strategically throughout town. Thompson says she's especially appreciative of the support her clinic provided, both financially and to help draw media attention to problems associated with pet overpopulation.

Thompson first planned to shave her head for charity three years ago as part of a radio promotion for children's cancer. The fundraiser wasn't entirely successful, she says, because the support needed just wasn't there. But Thompson never lost the desire to reach out in this way.

The money for the latest fundraiser will help to benefit the shelter as well as the Friends of Coos County Animals adoption center. The center's spokeswoman noted to the television station that the money may help treat up to 100 animals or more with spays or neuters, microchips, blood work, as well as vaccines at the shelter.

"Because of the success of this fundraiser, I'll have to one-up this next time," Thompson says. "Next year I may have to do something where I tattoo a pet-related cause or logo on me. I definitely have a willingness to do things to bring attention to causes."