K-9 Frankie vests up

By Carolyn Zachary | Nov 26, 2018
Photo by: Carolyn Zachary Paws & Claws Pet Grooming owner Kamrie Hodgeman holds K-9 Frankie as his handler, Det. Sgt. Merl Reed adjusts Frankie's new custom ballistics vest Nov. 21.

Belfast — K-9 Frankie of the Waldo County Sheriff's Office has a new piece of equipment: a custom-made ballistics vest, courtesy of a fundraising effort led by Kamrie and Greg Hodgeman, owners of Paws & Claws Pet Grooming.

The couple presented the vest to Frankie and his handler, Detective Sgt. Merl Reed, Nov. 21 at a soon-to-open second location for Paws & Claws — a pet spa and daycare at 8 Stephenson Lane, off Route 1 in East Belfast.

With the purchase of their new building, the Hodgemans had searched for a way to give something back to the community that has supported their business over its dozen years of operation in Aubuchon Hardware, where Greg is manager.

Kamrie set up a GoFundMe page last spring, hoping to raise money to buy a vest for the Sheriff's Office's 5-year-old Belgian Malinois. The vests cost $1,000 or more apiece, and the Hodgemans committed to contributing $500. Members of the community in a matter of just a few weeks donated more than $1,600.

"We gave the entire amount — $2,104 — to Maine K-9 Vests Fund," Kamrie said. "It vested Frankie and left $1,104 to vest another dog."

While Paws & Claws' current location at 231 Northport Ave. will continue to offer pet grooming, the new location will have a waiting room and coffee bar for owners, a doggie living room where animals can play or relax, space for four groomers, and a fenced outdoor play yard.

The Hodgemans plan an open house Saturday, Dec. 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with refreshments and an opportunity to meet the groomers and tour the new facility. A flyer for the event specifies "mamas and papas only"; pets should remain at home.

K-9 Frankie looks a little uncertain about his new ballistics vest, pictured here Nov. 21 with his handler, Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Merl Reed, at a soon-to-open new Paws & Claws location at 8 Stephenson Lane, Belfast. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Detective Sgt. Merl Reed and K-9 Frankie in his new ballistics vest, pictured Nov. 21 with Kamrie and Greg Hodgeman, owners of Paws & Claws Pet Grooming and a new, soon-to-open pet spa and daycare in East Belfast. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Detective Sgt. Merl Reed of the Waldo County Sheriff's Office with K-9 Frankie and Kamrie and Greg Hodgeman, who led a fundraising effort to procure a custom ballistics vest for Frankie. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Kamrie Hodgeman holds a cookie version of K-9 Frankie in his new vest, specially made for the presentation of the donated ballistics vest Nov. 21. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
K-9 Frankie cookies at Paws & Claws' new pet spa and daycare in East Belfast, set to open in mid-December. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
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