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.” ••