Canine volunteers sought for 'hairy' clean up effort

It may sound like a, well, hair-brained scheme, but it's not.

Your dog (and you) can help mop up the oil spill threatening the Gulf Coast by donating a few locks for the cause. (A shout out to ohmidog for turning Philly Dawg onto this most unusual mission.)

Many of the booms and mats used to contain the floating slicks are made with dog and human hair, stuffed into casings.

These unusual sausage-like sponges were the brainchild of an Alabama hair stylist who, after seeing the Exxon Valdez spill ravage Prince William Sound in Alaska, experimented to see how much oil could be absorbed with hair. Turns out, a lot.

Now groups use hair in their oil-slick stopping products, including Matter of Trust, a San Francisco nonprofit, which takes in donations from all over the world and sends them to oil spill sites.

They ask that dog owners not send in small amounts. Instead coordinate with a groomer to send in bulk. For instance, in the Philadelphia area, Camp Bow Wow, a doggy day care and boarding facility in Cherry Hill, NJ is taking donations.

You can also sign up with the ExcessAccess program, or tell your groomer about the program. Dog hair donations should be clean and free of debris.