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Local groomer a Hometown Hero
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OHSUSANNAS Grooming and Hillbilly Pets on Almon Road in Covington got into the holiday spirit early.

On Nov. 18, 53 pets left there with freshly cleaned coats and 147 meals were given to local families, all for free. Susanna Roberts, owner and operator of OHSUSANNAS, organized the Pets and People in Need Party as a way for her to help those who are suffering from economic hardship.

"I decided, these people have been here for me, I need to give back to the community. I can’t let the animals suffer. I thought it would make the people feel good over the holidays to at least have their animal clean, walk out of here with some food, pet food."

Roberts is no stranger to giving, though. Her love of grooming and helping animals began nearly 34 years ago when she taught herself how to groom after witnessing the effects of puppy mills.

"I worked for a pet store chain up in Virginia and we would go to the airport and I’d get four and five hundred puppies in from puppy mills. I couldn’t stand it, so I just set up a table and just taught myself to groom. Then people would buy the puppies and ask me to still do it."

When Roberts and her family moved to Covington 16 years ago, she decided to buy the building she works in now and continue grooming. Initially, she helped customers in-need by allowing them to take bags of food for their pets with the promise of donating food back to OHSUSANNAS once they got back on their feet. When it became apparent to Roberts that her customers’ financial situations weren’t improving, she organized an entire day for giving.

Roberts began handing out fliers requesting donations of perishable food items nearly six weeks in advance and was surprised at the response. Local people and businesses donated canned goods, turkeys, bags, dog food and even their time to help make the Pets and People in Need Party a success. Roberts was so pleased with the community’s response and the number of families and pets who were helped that she plans to make it an annual event.

"I don’t want anything. I want those people to walk out that door and just feel good for the holidays. I do plan to do it again," she said.