Marion Bryer, owner of Pooch Parlor in Homewood, wants to establish a grooming salon at the South Suburban Humane Society so that dogs at the shelter have a better chance of being adopted.
“It’s hard to bond with a dog that smells,” Bryer said. “If you freshly adopt it, you want to snuggle it. Bt if it’s dirty, it’s tough to do that.”
An online funding campaign to raise money for the grooming service is underway.
Volunteers from the humane society currently bring dogs from the shelter to Pooch Parlor to be groomed. It’s a free service that Bryer provides for the shelter. However, she said it’d be easier to groom more dogs if there was a salon at the shelter.
Bryer plans to train volunteers to groom dogs at the humane society. Her goal is to make the shelter’s salon open to people who would otherwise not be able to afford the grooming service. Qualified patrons would be able to regularly groom their pets at the shelter’s salon, and do so at a cost considerably below what it would cost on the open market.
She stressed the cost of grooming a dog can be the reason why someone will choose not to adopt it.
“I watched this lady fall in love with a dog and it broke my heart because she went home with another dog instead,” Bryer said. “And it was only because she couldn’t afford the (regular) grooming.”
Not only will this new salon help the dogs, but it will also help the humane society. Bryer said the shelter has limited income and this could help a great deal.
“Money at the shelter is going out more than it’s coming in. So maybe this can be another alternative,” she said.
But every vision has a price tag. Tina Zagone, a Pooch Parlor client, started a GoFundMe page to help Bryer raise money for the grooming parlor. On the 11th day of the fundraising campaign, $1,125 of the $7,500 goal had already been raised.
Bryer said she’s happy to see that people have donated so much already.
“The plumbing alone is $3,000 so I’m grateful,” she said. “I also have the best clients ever that are donating and we’ve just gotten started.”
Jacob Engelman, a humane society volunteer and outreach manager, has worked with Bryer throughout the years and said he can always depend on her. He explained having a grooming salon in the shelter would help the dogs immensely.
“When dogs don’t get the proper help or grooming their hair gets long, matted and dirty which can lead to a lot of health problems,” Engelman said. “This salon can help prevent that from happening.”
Bryer’s volunteer work hasn’t gone unnoticed. She recently won the “Volunteer of the Year” award at the humane society’s annual fundraising gala.
“I was raised in a house where charity is anonymous, not spoken about or bragged about,” she said. “When I give, it’s a personal thing, I do it for me.”
Bryer said she would love to have the grooming parlor running for the shelter dogs by the end of this month. She stressed that any donation will help the cause.
“If a dollar is all you have, we’ll take it.” she said. “We just try to do the best we can with what we have and anything will help.”