Mark Imhof had experience working in finance, not with rescue dogs. However, after adopting a few dogs of his own, he wanted to give back in a special way. Mark was determined to help rescue dogs look and feel better through grooming. So he made a big decision that would soon help change the lives of these animals.
A Major Life Change
Mark was working as an internal auditor at a bank with his college education in finance and accounting. However, he wasn’t happy. His life changed for the better when he and his girlfriend adopted a few dogs through Susie’s Senior Dogs, a Facebook page that advertises rescue dogs available at different shelters. The dogs had matted, dirty furs that can make dogs not only look mean and messy but can actually be uncomfortable and painful for them.”What matted fur does is, if it gets wet and dries and gets wet again, it almost turns into something like plastic,” Mark shared with TODAY.com. “Believe it or not, it can cut off their circulation. Some dogs have to have limbs amputated because of matted fur.” Mark and his girlfriend quickly cleaned up their new dogs to help make them feel comfortable. As he noticed the moods of the dogs brighten after they were cleaned, Mark had an idea, one that would shake his life up completely. What if he helped to groom other rescue dogs to make them look more presentable for potential families? The idea sounded good but it would mean walking away from his job at the bank.”I ran a back-of-the-envelope calculation and realized I could make more money grooming than at my corporate job if I were to play my cards right,” he shared. “I talked with my girlfriend, and then I went down to the American Academy of Pet Grooming, and by the following day, I was in class working on dogs.”
Finding New Clients
After 25 training classes, Mark was accredited to be a full-time dog groomer. He could technically run his own business but he needed more experience to work on his technique. That meant finding some new furry clients to work with. “I began communicating with the NYC Animal Care and Control, and they allowed me to begin working on their dogs,” he said. As he began grooming the rescue dogs, he fell more and more in love with the process. “After the first dog I groomed, I thought, ‘Man, there are so many dogs like this at the shelter who look mean and really are the most lovable animals,'” Mark said. The man slowly but surely built up his own grooming business, but still actively volunteers at the shelter. “I’m still committed to going at least two days a week, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to hire a staff,” he said. “One of us could go to the shelter while the others handled the store.”
Making A Difference
Mark is so adamant about still helping with the shelter not only because of the experience he gets but because of the joy and change he sees in these dogs. For example, one dog named Sean was Mark’s very first client. Sean was on the shelter’s unadoptable list because of behavioral issues. However, his hair was very matted and dirty, which was certainly affecting the poor animal. “Of course, I explain to people, if we were to mat your hair, and then ask you to go do a job, you would probably have behavior issues too,” Mark stated. After Mark worked his magic on Sean, the dog was better behaved. It’s transformations like that that make Mark’s hard work worth it. “I have seen such transformations in almost all the dogs and it is so uplifting,” he admitted.“I KNOW they will pay that love forward to their future forever homes.”
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