46-year-old Mark Imhof of New York City, a CPA with an MBA knew he was barking up the wrong tree somewhere in his life. He wasn’t happy being an accountant, as numbers and running errands isn’t that fulfilling for some. It was time for a change. With the help of his fiance, he not only found his true calling, but managed to make a huge difference in the lives of some very thankful four-legged friends.
FROM CUTTING COSTS TO CUTTING PET HAIR
When at the end of a CPA consulting contract, (or “another soulless job” as he put it) it was his fiance who reminded him how much he enjoyed being around their four dogs, two of which were rescues, and suggested that he should find a way to work with dogs all the time. Finding a new path is life is always “ruff.”
FINDING “SHEAR JOY’ IN LIFE AGAIN
So Mark hung up his calculators and enrolled in The American Academy Of Pet Grooming and has already helped some 200 shelter dogs since graduating. “I come home uplifted every day,” he says. He’s so “paws-itive!”
IT ALL BEGAN WITH ‘ERNIE’
‘The first dog I ever worked on was Ernie,’ Mark shared. ‘My hands turned black from the dirt that was caked on Ernie as I brushed him out. I had to re-apply the shampoo three times to get the dirt off of him, but he came out adorable. It was really then I thought that the shelter dogs could probably use a cut too.’
SHAVE AWAY THE PAST
Inspired by the changes he witnessed in Ernie and others during his groomer training, he reached out to the Animal Care Centers of NYC and offered his services. Short on resources, they jumped at the opportunity to have his skills. Today, he volunteers two to four times per week – donating ALL his services.
HAIR HURTS…AND SOMETIMES MAIMS
“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. Cleaning and grooming a badly matted dog can increase adoptability as well as improve a dog you own to be more sociable.”
MORGAN HAD IT RUFF
“These shelter dogs are afraid and just want to be accepted,” Imhof shared. “I’m trying to give some of their self-respect back.” Morgan, the pup, (who’s up for a forever home) already seems to feel the difference!
IGBY FEELS MUCH BETTER
“To me, it’s therapeutic. I love to see the change they make. They are so much freer and happier,” Mark said. “Their sense of smell is stronger so they like when the matted, dirty fur is off of them.” It’s pretty clear that a nice bath does the body good!
SHADOW HAS SEEN THE LIGHT
Shadow is a 10-year-old Tibetan Terrier up for a forever home. Imhof has long had a special place in his heart for the senior dogs, adopting two senior pit bulls himself. “I think seniors are overlooked because people think puppies are cute — and they are — but the seniors are usually already trained,” he said.
KENNY IS PAWSITIVELY GLISTENING
Kenny was all smiles after his makeover from Mark! This will make a big difference in his adoptability. ACC of NYC sees 34,000 animals annually with a 90% adoption rate. Mark’s volunteer work on cases like Kenny is a big reason for their success. Imhof said almost all the dogs he’s groomed have been adopted. What a great win-win situation!
GROOMING HIS WAY INTO THEIR HEARTS
Most recently, Mark’s good deeds earned the ACC of NYC a $10,000 donation from Hills Pet Nutrition during National Volunteer Week! Mark – that’s one heck of a return on your investment! What a difference one person can make! But according to Imhof, “Nothing is more rewarding than knowing these dogs get their forever home.” Awww!