DALLAS — Grooming is the key when you’re trying to impress someone, whether it be a job interview or a prospective date.
For a homeless animal trying to impress a potential adoptive family, looking their best could mean all the difference.
That’s why one Leadership Wilkes-Barre project committee — with its project called “Wild Blue Yonder” — decided to do something to help abandoned or stray animals at the Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge find new homes.
Looking at an estimated cost of $8,000 to $10,000, the committee plans to establish a grooming room and a meet and greet area.
The grooming room will have a tank-less water heater, a stainless steel tub and an adjustable grooming table. The walls and floor in what is now a supply room will be tiled, as will a large meet and greet/training area.
“This means a lot to us and our animals,” said Marge Bart, owner of Blue Chip. “It will make it easier to bathe our animals and to keep them free of skin diseases and mange.”
Bart said 35 dogs and 190 cats are currently waiting to be adopted.
Committee member Amy Yando said too many animals are neglected, abandoned and abused.
“You can’t turn on the TV without seeing a report of a dog or cat thrown out of a car window, tied to a tree or left in a garbage can,” Yando said. “These animals are defenseless, scared, hungry, sick and very dirty. It was a no-brainer for me to sign up for this project and help provide Blue Chip with a grooming room to properly care for these animals and provide them the best chance of finding a forever home.”
Eric Witkowski signed up for the project because its mission resonates with the entire group.
“The energy was immediate,” he said. “Everyone’s body language showed interest. Blue Chip performs a noble service to the community and it was something we knew we could proudly stand behind and be a part of.”
Amy Feldman said outfitting Blue Chip with a real grooming room, a warm, safe space for animals to get a fresh start was an easy decision.
“The thought of these poor, scared animals having to be hosed off and bathed outside was just horrible,” Feldman said.
Committee member Paula Mesaris recently adopted two cats from an animal shelter, where she witnessed the vast number of animals in need of a forever home.
“When a team member presented the opportunity to participate in a project that improves the lives of both animals and the people who volunteer at Blue Chip, the project choice was easy,” she said.
Kim Frey adopted a dog from a no-kill rescue and said it was one of the best decisions she ever made. Frey said when it came to look for a project, Blue Chip was a no-brainer and the grooming room is one of Blue Chip’s biggest needs.
“It will save Marge and the volunteers time and expenses in the long term,” Frey said. “Most of all, it will give the newly arriving animals a warm and inviting place to get a fresh start and ultimately a better chance of getting adopted.”
Lucy Boardwine feels honored to be part of a fantastic project through Leadership Wilkes-Barre.
“To know the construction of a grooming room will be an improvement to the care of the animals brought to Blue Chip makes this endeavor so worthwhile,” she said.
David Marcelin, Dan Landesberg and John Gutkowski are also on the committee.
After the grooming room is completed and the meet and greet area done, Wild Blue Yonder plans to continue raising funds to purchase necessary supplies to get the grooming started.
Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge is a non-profit 30-acre animal shelter where animals of all types can find a safe haven. Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge does not practice euthanasia.
The Blue Chip website states: “It’s a place where no animal is too old or too unwanted to find a warm bed, good food and, most of all, love.”
Bart said annual expenses of the farm total around $260,000, most of that for veterinary costs. Blue Chip spends $1,000 a month on cat food and another $1,000 a month on cat litter.