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Paw tattoos raise money for rescued dogs

Laura Barton

By Laura Barton, Tribune Staff

Tattoo artist Jason McMillan tattoos a paw print behind a customer’s ear, with the proceeds going towards Welland and District Humane Society to help pay for heartworm treatment for several rescued dogs. Laura Barton/Welland Tribune/Postmedia Network

Tattoo artist Jason McMillan tattoos a paw print behind a customer’s ear, with the proceeds going towards Welland and District Humane Society to help pay for heartworm treatment for several rescued dogs. Laura Barton/Welland Tribune/Postmedia Network

Dog lover and tattoo artist Jason McMillan opened up shop at Artistic Impressions in Welland on his day off Sunday to raise money for seven dogs at Welland and District Humane Society.

McMillan said he heard about the dogs rescued in January from a fire in Haldimand County and the discovery of them being heartworm-positive once placed at the shelter. He had thought about doing a tattoo fundraiser for the dogs, and after some encouragement from his brother he made it happen.

“It’s important to take care of animals at the shelter,” he said while tattooing one of many paw prints for the day.

All of the proceeds from the paw print tattoos went to the humane society to help out the dogs.

Medication for each of the seven dogs with heartworm is $1,500, a cost that humane society executive director John Greer has said would be taken care of. The shelter has been appealing to the public to help raise funds to recuperate the money spent on the treatments, however, because an expense that big all at once is not in its budget.

People could get a paw tattoo for $60, with a few different sizes and styles to choose from. Clients filled benches and some even sat on the floor in the tattoo studio's waiting area as his tattoo machine buzzed on.

“The phone’s been ringing off the hook,” he said, adding that he was surprised there was so much interest because the only way he advertised about it was through Facebook.

As soon as the post went up, he said, people started reaching out to get a tattoo done. He’s glad to see this kind of support.

“It just shows the sense of community in Welland,” he said.

He didn’t have a goal for the day, saying instead that he hoped to surprise himself with how much he could raise while still putting out quality tattoos.

He decided to have the fundraiser on his day off because he’s otherwise pretty booked up during the week. Doing it this way allowed him to dedicate time to the cause.

McMillan said this is the first time he’s done something like this. While he’s thought about it on other occasions, he said he’s never been quite organized enough to pull things together in time. This time around, things fell into place perfectly in just a couple weeks’ time; he was able to work it into his schedule, his boss was supportive and people showed an interest.

lbarton@postmedia.com

Twitter: @LBartonTribune