Everyone feels better after a good makeover – but for most of us, the results are not life-or-death. For a shelter dog, however, a good haircut paired with a flattering photo can actually save a life. Most shelters can not afford to do this. Many are run entirely on time, effort, and money donated by generous volunteers. Between the cost of food, space, and medical care for these animals, lots of shelters struggle to stay afloat at all. Sadly, over a million dogs are euthanized each year due to their inability to be adopted into a loving home. Given these realities, it’s no wonder that puppy makeovers are low on a typical shelter’s list of financial priorities. However, their effect can be truly life-changing.
It is easy to look at the statistics on homeless animals and feel sad. Taking action is much harder. Mark Imhof, a groomer based in New York City, is doing just that. Imhof travels to local shelters and donates baths and haircuts to the dogs who are staying there as they await adoption. “These are dogs,” Imhof told ABC News. “They want to love someone and I think when they have a crusty shell on them and things like that, it makes them unable to do so. When I can clean them up, you can see [their] eyes and it makes them easier to connect. It’s trying to bring these dogs to comfort, so they can become more adoptable and that’s the goal.”
As a professional dog walker, pet sitter, and groomer, Imhof beautifies and cares for dogs with the skill of a seasoned expert. However, he donates his time and expertise to the Animal Care Shelters of NYC (ACC) for no charge. For Imhof, the chance to enrich the lives of these hopeful dogs and their future owners is reward enough. As Imhof told The Dodo, “I have seen such transformations in almost all the dogs and it is so uplifting and I know they will pay that love forward to their future forever homes.” For a dose of cuteness and warm fuzzies, you can follow Imhof’s work on his Instagram.