What is it like to see “real good” done in your community? When we ventured up to Las Vegas, NV to assist with the last stop of the 2021 Pup Relief Tour, we knew we’d see the impact made by Brian Taylor and his fellow groomers on our community, but we were not truly prepared for what we witnessed.
When Brian Taylor, aka @thedogfatherofharlem, originally reached out to us, he was looking for equipment, dryers, shampoo, and more to help fund the 2021 Pup Relief Tour. He told us the last stop would be in Henderson, Nevada (near Las Vegas). This stop would be different than the previous four as they were not using an established grooming salon like they would be in Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, or Alabama. Instead, they were building a pop-up salon in a Senior Center to help those who couldn’t afford grooming due to the pandemic.
We thought that Las Vegas/Henderson isn’t that far from Phoenix, Arizona (where Ryan’s Pet Supplies is located) so we would drive up the equipment and donations ourselves. We planned to drive up on Friday and get there early to help them set up the pop-up salon.
As the weeks leading up to the went on, we reached out to our family of brands and vendors and were shocked at the overwhelming response of people wanting to help and donate. Metrovac donated a variable speed Master Blaster, a dryer valued over $500. Chris Christensen sent four Kool Pup dryers (which really helped as most of the bathing and drying was done outside in 100+ degree heat and these dryers blow cool air). Groomers Pro donated over 40 Angels Grooming Apparel bather aprons and a load of Jelly Pet grooming loops. Nature’s Specialties donated 16 gallons of Plum Silky Shampoo, bottles of cologne, and Scissor Stuff scissor spray. We saved items from returns that weren’t salable but could still be used or salvaged. This included groomwear, bandannas, tools, etc.
We aren’t just here to boast about everything that was donated, we are here to say that we are so proud to be part of a community that’s willing to help. When we showed up Saturday morning for the first day of the Vegas stop of the Pup Relief Tour, we were blown away by the organizations and individuals that showed up to help including Street Dogz and Red Riderz Inc.
Street Dogz is a Vegas-based organization that helps the homeless and homeless pets. They provide them with assistance including free spray/neuters, free pet food, emergency housing, and emergency medical aid. They even deliver food to those that cannot pick it up. Talking to the individuals that made up this group was so heartwarming. Red Riderz Inc. is a group of motorcyclists that also showed up to volunteer their time and efforts. What a wonderful group of people that were so willing to help in any possible way. We had no idea how many individuals were going to show up and help get dogs checked in, bathed, and dried. We had such a great time connecting with these two groups!
The next thing that blew us away were the groomers. The groomers that Brian had enlisted showed up ready to work and give back to the community, each of them more excited than the next. We had so much fun meeting each groomer and watching them work on their respective pups. Most of the dogs needed shorter haircuts with minimal scissoring but that didn’t stop these groomers from bonding with each pup and giving them love. Every groomer was so thankful to be there, and you could tell they were happy to use their skills for philanthropic good.
Finally, we need to talk about Brian Taylor aka @thedogfatherofharlem himself. Can we discuss how amazing it is that he organized this entire tour to give back to the community and celebrate black groomers, who have typically not been in the spotlight of the grooming community? When we first started communicating with Brian, we were so excited to be on board. A five-stop tour grooming over a thousand dogs FOR FREE? We knew we wanted to help and brainstormed different ways that we could. We had no idea the impact that this would have on the community, including ourselves.At the last stop, we had the opportunity to talk to the pet parents that benefited from the pro bono grooming. These pet parents were so excited to have the Pup Relief Tour provide comfort for their pups as many could not provide it on their own due to their current circumstances from the pandemic. They were so thrilled to see their fur babies taken care of.
Brian said on an IG Live that these groomers would go home “reinvigorated to be able to say, what else can I do in my community?” This didn’t just include the groomers. Everyone that was a part of this tour was positively affected. We at Ryan’s Pet Supplies came home, energized about the community that we are a part of, excited to give back even more.Our mission at Ryan’s Pet Supplies is “to take care of people who take care of pets,” and therefore we are so grateful to have been even a small part of the Pup Relief Tour. However, the real stars of the show were Brian Taylor, his amazing groomers, and all the wonderful volunteers that showed up to help the community. At the end of the day, we all just love pets and want the best for them. To see so many volunteers do “real good” in our community, all for the love of dogs, truly reminded us how wonderful our industry is.
Thank you, Brian Taylor, and the entire 2021 Pup Relief Tour! You did what you set out to accomplish: celebrate diversity, spotlight black groomers, and encourage everyone on the tour to give back to our community in new ways.
Who’s cutting onions in here? We’re not crying, you’re crying!