Northeast Times

A local groomer gone green

Did you know pet hair can be com­pos­ted? The own­er of Pooch­ie's Place in NoLibes does — she’s us­ing tons of it, plus oth­er ma­ter­i­als from her shop, to help the earth. 

Amelia Breslin, own­er of Pooch­ie’s Place, shows off the fur she col­lec­ted from two dogs – which will soon be re­cycled. SAM NE­W­HOUSE / STAR PHOTO

Com­ing up on her one-year an­niversary groom­ing cats and dogs in North­ern Liber­ties, Amelia Breslin has new ideas cook­ing that are chan­ging the whole nature of the busi­ness.

“We waste so much pet hair. This came from a 10-pound mini-poodle!” Breslin said, hold­ing up a huge plastic con­tain­er stuffed with pet hair. 

Breslin, 32, of Fishtown, own­er of Pooch­ie’s Place, at 341 W. Gir­ard Ave., couldn’t help but think there was a way to go green by re-us­ing pet hair. 

“I was tak­ing out these trash bags full of hair. Then I thought, ‘How can I get rid of this in an en­vir­on­ment­ally friendly way?’” she said.

After a little bit of re­search and tak­ing a com­post­ing work­shop, Breslin will now be bag­ging up old pet hair to hope­fully donate to La Fin­quita Farm Stand, which is sup­por­ted by the South Kens­ing­ton Com­munity Part­ners, as well as any oth­er urb­an farm­ers and garden­ers who want it.

“We’re ex­cited about the part­ner­ship, be­cause dog hair and hu­man hair that’s been un­treated is a good source of ni­tro­gen,” said Natania Schaum­burg, dir­ect­or of pro­grams at SKCP. “We’re ex­cited to in­cor­por­ate the waste of loc­al busi­ness in­to a product that will be used in the garden.”

SKCP, which holds com­post­ing work­shops, has a list on their web­site of house­hold waste ma­ter­i­als that can be com­pos­ted.

Breslin is already pre­par­ing small pouches of pet hair for com­post­ing, called “Shaggy Baggys.” 

As Schaum­burg said, dog hair is ac­tu­ally a be­ne­fi­cial ad­dit­ive to com­post that can add ni­tro­gen to soil as it de­com­poses. 

It also stops deer, mice and rats from eat­ing at roots, Breslin said.

Once Breslin star­ted con­vert­ing her waste from her busi­ness in­to a re­cycled good, she figured, why stop there?

So, she star­ted mak­ing pet toys out of the wash tow­els that she uses for wash­ing pets in­stead of throw­ing them away.

“Dogs love chew­ing wa­ter bottles,” Breslin said, show­ing off her Koozi Crunch­er, a re­cycled tow­el sewn in­to a cozy that fits around a stand­ard-sized wa­ter bottle. 

This way, dogs can play with plastic bottles without risk­ing in­gest­ing plastic. Breslin said that if you soak a cozy in wa­ter and put it in the freez­er for a little while, it makes an ex­cel­lent teeth­ing toy for dogs. The cozy can also be soaked in foods like chick­en broth to add some fla­vor. 

The same ideas holds true for Breslin’s “Happy Tails,” as she calls the rope toys she makes out of tow­els.

That’s not all that’s go­ing on at Pooch­ie’s. Breslin bakes her dog and cat treats her­self. She also has a dog’s cloth­ing line in the works called “Dogue.”

Last month, Breslin’s hard work was re­cog­nized re­cently by TV sta­tion PHL17. View­ers voted Pooch­ie’s Place the win­ner of “Best Pet Groom­ing” in the city.

Not bad for someone who, just a year ago, only con­sidered pet groom­ing a hobby. 

“This was my side job,” said Breslin, who groomed pets for 13 years while work­ing as a bar­tender. “Gradu­ally, I real­ized this is what I wanted to do.”

“It’s a lot of work and it was hard to open, but it is so re­ward­ing when you get to see people come in with their pets, and leave happy.” ••

You can reach at snewhouse@bsmphilly.com.

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