For years, the Cochrane and Area Humane Society has been aided by the wildly-popular Hair of the Dog fundraiser.

While the fundraiser had to be canceled or at least postponed until later this year, its major sponsors have stepped forward to collectively make a $5,000 donation to the Humane Society.

This April would have been the sixth annual event. Including this $5,000 contribution, it has now raised over $130,000 in support of the humane society.

Event founder Kendra Watt, of CIR Realty, explains.

"All of our sponsors from last year got together and decided that we need to donate to the Humane Society anyway because they haven't been able to run their programs, they haven't been able to do any adoptions, so they're definitely lack in funds."

Still, she holds out hope Hair of the Dog will be held later this year. 

"Even if we have to make it a smaller scale, as long as we can keep it safe and play by the rules, we will still do it. We did receive a lot of donations February and March for the live and silent auctions, so I'm basically sitting on all these items ready to auction them off."

As a small business person, Watt said they realize the impact of COVID-19 has been substantial.

"We're all small business owners, so we've all been hit hard with the COVID thing as well, but it's a small community, it's a tight-knit community, and we all strongly believe in what the Humane Society does, and we all do our part."

Watt created the event with a good friend when one of her dogs died.

"My best friend and I thought we would throw a party and see if we can raise some funds for the Humane Society and then it ended up being a really, really big party and a lot of money was raised. That's why we ended up doing it every year."

CAHS executive director Janine Rosler says these sponsors are an incredible group of people who are not only there for the Humane Society but the community.

"Even though they could not run this event this year in support of the Humane Society, they're still coming out, showing their dedication and support of the work we do to help us in our efforts to serve those in need."

"They are the perfect example of an incredible group of people and local businesses. We are also privileged and happy that they can support us and we, in turn, do whatever we can to support them and promote shopping locally."

The society's revenue stream has been reduced by the pandemic, yet the cost of core services continued.

"When we closed our doors, we did have to hit pause or pretty much postpone all of our programs and services and those are revenue generating for us."

It also meant their fundraising events, like book sale and their traditional gala that raises over $60,000 had to be cancelled.

Besides Watt, the others contributing were Kari Jensen, of Chew Chew Pediatric Dentistry, Fiona Sharman, of Global Pet Foods Cochrane, Erol Yersel, of Erol's Automotive, and Jason Helfrich, of Royal Mechanical Services.