Union County

Hair stylist offers skills to help animal rescues

Patrick Lomantini at his first stop on the first BarkAID national tour in Billings, Mont., in 2011.
Patrick Lomantini at his first stop on the first BarkAID national tour in Billings, Mont., in 2011. COURTESY OF PATRICK LOMANTINI

Patrick Lomantini, a master hairstylist from Wichita, Kan., said that in 2010, he performed 227 haircuts in 72 hours, taking only 15 minute breaks every four hours.

The funds he raised went to a local humane society.

That effort was the beginning of an idea to help animal rescues by using his hair-cutting skills, he said; so Lomantini started BarkAID.

“I get to cut hair all over the country, develop friendships in every state,” Lomantini said. “And it’s all for a good cause.”

He said he started the campaign by selling his car and sleeping in his salon.

His first stop on the hair-cutting tour was in Billings, Mont., in 2011, where he did 60 haircuts in one day.

Over the past three years, Lomantini says, the tour has taken him to all 50 states. This year, his fourth national tour again will cover all states, with some (including Georgia and California) getting several visits.

Lomantini also will be coming to Charlotte, and a Union County rescue will benefit.

“In each state, he stops at a salon and provides haircuts all day for a donation of $25 or more,” said Megan Masters, an animal rescue volunteer. “One-hundred percent of the donations that he receives are donated to a local animal rescue. FurBabies rescue from Indian Trail is the rescue of choice this year for North Carolina.”

According to Daryl Strickland, founder and director of FurBabies, the nonprofit organization has rescued about 1,000 dogs since operations began in 2010. FurBabies provides awareness, education and adoption.

Because he is going to unfamiliar places, Lomantini contacts rescue shelters by first Googling them and looking for the most financially needy. The shelters then refer him to local salons. Most of the time, he enlists the help of hair-cutting schools and employees at the salons.

“On average, we’ll raise $2,000-$3,000 a visit,” Lomantini said. “This year we’re bringing in more shelters and more salons.”

The Charlotte event will be Aug. 14 at Armis Salon in the Toringdon Circle Shopping Center in Ballantyne, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. The address is 12210 Copper Way, No. 218.

Appointments can be made by emailing hapymama722@yahoo.com or calling the salon at 704-321-1424.

For information about BarkAID, visit www.barkaid.org or Facebook at www.facebook.com/BarkAidCharlotteNC.

Kim Becknell Williams is a freelance writer: kimbecknellwilliams@gmail.com.