This Guy Took One Simple Step To Give Shelter Dogs Another Chance
Mark Imhof gives these dogs the ultimate makeover.
This is Mark Imhof, a former public accountant in New York City who now works as a dog groomer for the city's Animal Care Centers.
Imhof has been working as a volunteer groomer for the city's two animal shelters in Brooklyn and Manhattan since December.
He had been working in public accounting for nearly 10 years when his fiancée encouraged him to pursue his passion for working with animals, Imhof told BuzzFeed News.
Imhof was inspired after his fiancée adopted a pit bull from a Brooklyn rescue shelter in April. The shelter didn't have bathing facilities on site, and the dog was in such bad shape that the dirt on its fur caked on the floor of Imhof's bathroom at home.
But after a bath, the dog was transformed.
"It'd be great if someday someone can go to the shelter and help groom the dogs," he told his fiancée.
"Why don't you do that now?" she said.
Imhof completed pet grooming school in October. Aside from his own pet service company, he has been transforming neglected animals who pass through the city's shelter into their best selves.
He volunteers his services at the city's two shelters in Brooklyn and Manhattan two to four times a week.
Imhof likes to shave around the dog's face to expose their eyes, which he said is the "connection to the human" and shows the dog's soul.
His ability to transform dogs is pretty stunning.
But his work is also crucial to the dogs' health. Many of the dogs received by the shelter have been neglected for years and have extremely matted fur, which can be a health risk, shelter spokeswoman Katy Hansen told BuzzFeed News.
Imhof helps the shelter's medical team by shaving down the dog to prepare them for an examination.
One of his most severe cases was Hershey, who had such bad matting around his paws that he risked losing his legs.
"When the fur gets wet and dries out and then gets wet and dries out again, it becomes like plastic and can cut off the circulation of blood to legs," Imhof said. "It affects their personality, this pain they're in."
Imhof spent more than two hours slowly cutting through Hershey's matted fur. He described it as almost a surgery procedure because it required such careful cutting.
After Hershey was shaven down, Imhof saw that he had a layer of white crust on his skin. He gave the dog a bath and saw a noticeable difference in his behavior. Hershey started licking staff through his cage and appeared much friendlier.
Hansen said Imhof's work with the dogs has helped the organization place animals into good homes.
The organization receives about 34,000 animals a year and has a 90% adoption rate for dogs, she said.
"The dogs feel so much better," she said. "You're presenting a much happier animal and they are much more likely to get adopted."