An Eight-Year-Old Scottie Is the ASPCA’s 1,000th Grooming Case
On Saturday, April 1, Allen W., a resident of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, helped the ASPCA reach an important animal care milestone: His eight-year-old Scottish Terrier, Brodie, was the 1,000th pet groomed by the ASPCA since the organization launched a grooming pilot program in 2022.
“Brodie is an amazing little dog with a big personality,” says ASPCA Grooming Specialist Paisley Manga, who shaved Brodie from the neck down, filling nearly four large bags with his discarded fur. She also clipped the hair around his ears.
Before Allen and Brodie left, Danny Anderson, one of several ASPCA Community Engagement Coordinators who schedules the grooming events, presented Allen with a bag of celebratory gifts, including a clipper set, water bowls, toys and dog treats. Allen also received a framed certificate marking the occasion.
Expanding A Valuable Service
In March 2022, we piloted our mobile grooming clinic, an idea that emerged when the we reduced our mobile fleet amidst a severe veterinarian shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roldcherstone "Rowe" Coutard, Interim Director of Mobile Veterinary Services for the ASPCA Community Medicine team, thought grooming services—which don’t require a veterinarian—would be a great way to reimagine and utilize the our mobile fleet.
Lisa Kisiel, Manager of Casework, Training and Events for Community Engagement, points out grooming is not just about making a pet prettier.
“Improperly or infrequently groomed dogs can eventually experience severe health problems, including skin infections, strangulating hair mats and restricted and painful movement caused by dense hair mats and overgrown claws,” she says.
The Importance of Access
The grooming events—which are in high demand—take place in under-resourced communities throughout the city. We host appointment-based dog grooming on alternating Wednesdays and Fridays at various locations in the city’s five boroughs. Flyers are posted to promote the events, which can accommodate up to 20 dogs.
Accessible grooming options are valuable because pet care services in underserved communities are often unaffordable or geographically inaccessible—a challenge that can result in pets being rehomed or relinquished.
“Access to grooming and other services keeps pets and people together,” says Erin Earley, Director of Community Engagement. “It also allows us to promote other services, including urgent medical care, spay/neuter surgeries and vaccines.”
Our mobile grooming services have improved the health, safety and well-being of 1,051 pets to date, ranging from tiny puppies and kittens to gentle giants of all breeds.
“The impact of this work takes form right before our eyes,” says Paisley. “We see instant relief and calm in both the pet and owner after a good grooming.”
Learning to Groom
Allen learned about our grooming event through Joanna Sanchez, Director of Constituent Services to NYS Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, who represents Allen’s neighborhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
“Joanna spotted me at the post office with Brodie and Wylie, his brother,” Allen recalls. “She helped me make an appointment, then left a reminder on the door of my building. She was very diligent.”
The April 1 event took place at a storefront where the Assembly Member keeps an office. Nineteen pets were groomed that day.
“The mobile grooming clinic was a wonderful opportunity to provide my constituents with an accessible way to support their pets’ wellbeing,” says Assemblymember Epstein. “All animals deserve to be treated humanely and with kindness which is one of the many reasons I’m proud to promote the invaluable work of ASPCA.”
Allen, a clinical psychologist, knows how the high costs of vet care and services can affect people and pets.
“I’ve worked with people who have given away their pets because they couldn’t afford vet bills,” says Allen, who has confronted challenges of his own seeking affordable vet care and services, especially during the pandemic.
During COVID, Allen watched YouTube clips to try and learn how to groom his dogs.
Paisley focuses not just on grooming animals but also on teaching owners how to groom their animals themselves.
“Learning through videos is one thing but having the client with me in person is better,” says Paisley. “We teach people how to groom their pets, so most clients only need our service once.”
“Paisley was fantastic—the best I’ve ever seen,” says Allen. “She showed me how to shave and clip my dogs correctly and made us feel comfortable.”
With nearly a dozen other clients in line behind him, Allen—armed with knowledge and a new set of clippers—told Paisley to skip Wylie. He later groomed Wylie himself and also clipped Brodie’s face and beard.
A few days later, Allen again ran into Joanna from Assemblymember Epstein’s office. She noticed and remarked on the change in his dogs.
“I thanked her again for helping me,” Allen says. “I’m very pleased. It’s great to have this service available, and Brodie is proud to be Number 1,000!”