Batavia dog groomer raising funds for CHIP IN program

  • One of Dave Heun's favorite scarecrows at St. Charles Scarecrow Fest was "The Year of the Scarecrow and Minions" by the Vanguard School.

    One of Dave Heun's favorite scarecrows at St. Charles Scarecrow Fest was "The Year of the Scarecrow and Minions" by the Vanguard School. Courtesy of Dave Heun

  • Cathy Barrett of Benji's Barking Lot in Batavia is collecting donations for CHIP IN and offering donors a free nail trimming for their dogs.

      Cathy Barrett of Benji's Barking Lot in Batavia is collecting donations for CHIP IN and offering donors a free nail trimming for their dogs. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted10/12/2015 4:07 PM

Cathy Barrett got "goose bumps" when hearing from the Community Helpers Impacting People In Need organization that the Batavia school district has as many as 50 homeless students.

That chilling effect stems from Barrett's own experience when coming to Batavia 23 years ago as a single mother to start a dog grooming business.

 

"I like CHIP IN and what it is trying to do because in being that single mom, I know how hard it is," Barrett said. "You need help from other people."

Barrett intends to be one of those "other people" this time by asking area residents to drop off donations for CHIP IN at her Benji's Barking Lot dog grooming shop at 18 N. Prairie St. through November.

In exchange for donations, Barrett, who operates her shop out of her home, is offering a coupon for a free nail trim for the donor's dog.

Barrett said she has helped CHIP IN before by working with Randy Simonian of Batavia, but Simonian was not able to help this year.

"I wanted to do something to get more donations, so I figured the free nail trim was good," Barrett said.

It also makes sense from a business standpoint for Barrett, who admits her customer base -- both the owners and the dogs -- are getting long in the tooth.

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"My customers are older and starting to retire and leave for Florida, or their dogs are passing away and they don't plan to get another, so I like the idea of getting my name out there a little more as well to let people know I am here."

Those wanting to make donations can check the Benji's Barking Lot website, benjisbarkinglot.com/, for information and hours, and the CHIP IN site, www.chipinbatavia.org/, for suggested donations.

"I know they have said they can always use toiletries and personal care items," Barrett said.

Fun to learn

The trickiest part about Batavia's first PechaKucha Night last week might have been getting attendees back to their seats at Riverview Banquets after the obligatory "beer break" halfway through the nine six-minute presentations on various topics.

Turns out, that beer break is a key part of the contract when the Batavia Public Library inked the deal to make Batavia an official PechaKucha city. Without a beer break, your city may not be granted the PechaKucha designation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

So what did I learn at this entertaining night that brings people together to hear short presentations on any number of topics?

First, if my college classes had been like this, with food and alcohol as part of the mix, I may have gone for that master's degree.

In just a sample of all that went on, I got a sense that hiking through Europe can be physically and spiritually rewarding. Also, the people of Honduras are in great need of help, and the Hands for Hope dental care program is an example.

Seventeen towns in 12 states carry the Batavia name in the U.S., and there are eight more in other countries.

Oh yes, and Michael Boehm of Batavia invented the George Foreman grill.

Finally, the way we work at home and in modern offices is changing, the child adoption process is like a roller-coaster ride of emotions, and we have some interesting artists and architects in this area.

That's a load of learning. If you missed this first one, another is scheduled for Jan. 21.

They caught my eye

The St. Charles Scarecrow Festival last weekend did what it does best -- provided entertainment for all ages. And a few scarecrows really caught my eye.

Maybe it's because everyone has Minions on the brain, but it is fun to see how scarecrow creators played off that theme in various displays. "The Year of the Scarecrow and Minions" by the Vanguard School was an excellent creation.

Being a Grateful Dead fan, the Filling Station's Grateful Dead scarecrow promoting a Dead cover band sure had a place in my heart.

That squirrel jogger

At first glance, it looked like a jogger going across the pedestrian bridge in Fabyan Forest Preserve had a squirrel running along side on a leash.

The squirrel was running right next to the jogger at a frantic pace, creating a scene that would have been perfect for one of those silly YouTube or Facebook videos.

But then the squirrel peeled off, doing what squirrels do -- running toward a tree with a nut lodged firmly in his mouth.

A fisherman standing nearby laughed and said, "That squirrel has been doing that all day, going to get nuts on one side of the bridge and coming back."

And then it dawned on me. Fishermen must see a lot of interesting things hanging out in nature all day.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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