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Project K9 Hero: A Lifesaving Mission Worth Supporting on Giving Tuesday

As Giving Tuesday approaches, it’s time to turn our attention to the brave heroes who tirelessly serve and protect our communities—military and working dogs. These loyal canines often go unnoticed but play a crucial role in protecting our lives. One organization that’s making an impact in the lives of retired service dogs is Project K9 Hero.

The Mission of Project K9 Hero:

Project K9 Hero is a non-profit organization with a noble mission: to provide a peaceful retirement and quality healthcare for retired military and working dogs. These incredible animals serve alongside our brave men and women in uniform, risking their lives to protect and defend our nation. They detect explosives, locate missing persons, and perform a variety of other life-saving tasks.

However, once these dogs retire, they often face a significant lack of support and funding for their medical care. Project K9 Hero steps in to bridge this gap. Their work ensures that these retired heroes can enjoy their well-deserved retirement years comfortably, receiving the medical care they need.

Why Project K9 Hero Needs Your Support:

  1. Lifesaving Medical Care: Many retired military and working dogs suffer from health issues due to their time in service, including injuries, chronic pain, and other ailments. Project K9
  2. Hero provides these heroes with access to the best veterinary care and covers the costs, ensuring they live a happy, healthy, and pain-free retirement.
  3. Financial Assistance: Project K9 Hero assists retired dog handlers by providing financial aid to cover the medical expenses of their canine partners. This support is vital in easing the burden on the shoulders of those who have already sacrificed so much for our nation.
  4. Public Awareness: Project K9 Hero plays a crucial role in raising awareness about the vital contributions of military and working dogs. By supporting their work, you’re helping shine a light on the often-underappreciated heroes who protect us every day.

How You Can Help on Giving Tuesday – And Any Day!:

On Giving Tuesday, you have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these heroes. Here are a few ways you can support Project K9 Hero:

  1. Donate: Consider making a generous donation to Project K9 Hero. Every dollar counts and will directly contribute to the well-being of retired military and working dogs.
  2. Spread the Word: Share information about Project K9 Hero on your social media platforms and with your friends and family. Raising awareness can inspire others to contribute to this worthy cause.
  3. Volunteer: If you have the time and skills to offer, consider volunteering with Project K9 Hero. Your time and expertise can make a meaningful impact.
  4. Purchase Merchandise: Many non-profits, including Project K9 Hero, offer merchandise for sale, with proceeds going toward their cause. Consider buying a t-shirt, hat, or other items to support the organization.


This Giving Tuesday, let’s unite to support Project K9 Hero and ensure that our four-legged heroes receive the love, care, and support they deserve. These brave canines have selflessly served our nation, and now it’s our turn to give back. By donating to Project K9 Hero, you’re not just supporting a noble cause; you’re honoring the service and sacrifice of these incredible animals. Together, we can make a difference and ensure that every military and working dog enjoys a well-deserved retirement.

Paragon is proud to say that we stand behind and support the mission of Project K-9 Hero. So, mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday and consider giving to Project K9 Hero. Your support can help save and improve the lives of these unsung heroes. Join us in making a difference this Giving Tuesday, and let’s show our gratitude to the dogs who have faithfully served our nation. Learn more about the Project K9 Hero mission in this excerpt of their annual report.


How to Survive the Holiday Rush

Need tips on surviving the Holiday Rush? Check out this roundup of links to our archives on the topic.

Remember Self-Care:

  • Physical Health – You’re an occupational athlete! What does it take to stay in top form?
  • Food Prep – Plan meals ahead to stay “fueled” for top performance
  • Mental Health – What helps you destress? Pre-book a relaxing massage or schedule time for relaxing hobbies.
  • Pace Yourself – Know your limits and when to say no.
  • Stay Merry – Keep the spirit in the season!

Resources for Surviving the Holiday Rush

From the Archive: Videos at Learn2GroomDogs.com

Preparing for the Holiday Rush with Melissa Verplank

Tails from Holidays Past

Creating Holiday Ornaments on Hip Rosettes

Paragon School of Pet Grooming Proudly supports Project K-9 Hero!

“Protecting Those Who Protected Us.”

Dogs have long been our loyal companions, but for some, they are much more than that. They are service dogs, therapy dogs, and first responders, making a difference in the lives of countless individuals. Project K-9 Hero is here to shine a light on these remarkable canines and ensure they receive the recognition and support they deserve.

Project K-9 Hero is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting retired police K-9s, military working dogs, and service dogs. These dogs have devoted their lives to serving and protecting us, and now it’s our turn to give back.

The Mission, Vision and Purpose

Project K-Hero was born out of a deep love and appreciation for dogs, and it all started with a simple idea – to show honor and support for our  Police K-9 and Working Dogs in their retirement, giving them a life they deserve. Project K-9 Hero wants to provide them with the best quality of life by providing assistance with medical costs, rehabilitation, adoption, food and end-of-duty services.

Their mission is to protect those who protected our families, communities, and our America. Their vision is to ensure the best quality of life for our nation’s retired Military Working Dogs and Police K-9 Heroes by providing assistance with medical costs, food, rehabilitation, adoption, and end of duty services.

Project K-9 Hero has three main purposes:

  1. To ensure each K-9 Hero is rewarded with health and the way of life that they deserve for their faithful and loyal service.
  2. To educate the public on the costs and responsibilities of adopting a retired K-9 Hero.
  3. To help cover or offset all medical, food, and end of duty costs for retired K-9 Heroes.

How can you help support Project K-9 Hero’s noble cause?

Supporting Project K-9 Hero is supporting those who have selflessly served us. Here are several ways you can make a difference:

  1. Donate: Your financial contributions go a long way in helping these retired heroes. Every dollar helps provide medical care, basic needs, and more.
  2. Sponsor a Dog: Consider sponsoring a specific retired working dog, providing ongoing support for their well-being.
  3. Spread the Word: Share Project K-9 Hero’s mission and achievements on social media, with friends, and in your community. The more people who know about their work, the more support they can garner.
  4. Volunteer: If you have the time and skills, consider volunteering for Project K-9 Hero. They often need assistance with events, fundraising, and education initiatives.
  5. Purchase Merchandise: Many organizations offer Project K-9 Hero merchandise, and a portion of the proceeds goes to support their cause. Buying merchandise is a great way to show your support and raise awareness.

Project K-9 Hero is a vital organization that ensures our four-legged heroes receive the care and recognition they deserve. By supporting them, you’re not only showing your appreciation for these incredible dogs but also actively contributing to their well-being. Together, we can ensure that these heroes continue to live happy and comfortable lives after their noble service.

Get Involved with Project K9 Hero!

Whether you support the cause by purchasing merchandise, making a donation, or donating equipment an in-kind labor, we invite you to reach out to Project K9 Hero to support this initiative..


ICYMI: Pup Relief Tour Team Shares Nigeria Dog Groomer Training Story

Paragon president Joe Zuccarello and VP Lorri Keller were joined by the Pup Relief Tour Team in our last Facebook Live. If you missed it, here’s a replay!

Special thanks to the PRT Team for elevating the profession of grooming!

“DogFather of Harlem” ⭐️ Brian Taylor from Harlem Doggie Day Spa HDDS, and the PRT Ambassadors: ⭐️ Gianna Richardson from Gia Styles Grooming Styles Grooming ⭐️ LaTonya Smith from LC’S Detroit Pet Salon & LC’S Mobile Pet Spa ⭐️ Labree Blaxon from Fluffy By Nature Pet Grooming.


Check Out This Gallery of the Pup Relief Team in Nigeria

If you were able to join our Facebook Live with the Pup Relief Tour Team, thank you! Here are a few images of their tour-de-grooming-force! Stay tuned for an update on more ways to help this global groomer initiative!

Special thanks to the PRT Team for elevating the profession of grooming!

“DogFather of Harlem” ⭐️ Brian Taylor from Harlem Doggie Day Spa HDDS, and the PRT Ambassadors: ⭐️ Gianna Richardson from Gia Styles Grooming Styles Grooming ⭐️ LaTonya Smith from LC’S Detroit Pet Salon & LC’S Mobile Pet Spa ⭐️ Labree Blaxon from Fluffy By Nature Pet Grooming.

Join Us for a FBLive with Pup Relief Tour on Global Dog Groomer Training

Join Paragon president Joe Zuccarello & VP Lorri Keller June 1st, 7 p.m. EST for a great Facebook Live featuring special guests Brian Taylor, the “Dogfather of Harlem,” and his team of Pup Relief Tour Ambassador/Trainers, Gianna Richardson from Gia Styles Grooming; LaTonya Smith from LC’s Detroit Salon, and LaBree Braxton from Fluffy By Nature.

The team will recap their global groomer training mission to Nigeria that Paragon sponsored. Hear all about what it’s like to train groomer’s abroad in an intense workshop, and bring your questions!

Want a reminder? Click here to sign up for notification at our sister site: Learn2GroomDogs.com

Here’s a taste of the team’s adventure at Critters Veterinary Clinic in Lagos, Nigeria.

Westminster 101: Guide for Student Dog Groomers

What is Westminster?

The Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.  Established in 1877, Westminster’s influence has been felt for more than a century through its famous all-breed, benched dog show held every year at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Today, America’s dog show has expanded into Westminster Week which includes the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster and the Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster. More than 3,000 dogs entered from around the world make Westminster Week like no other. As Master Groomer and our founder, Melissa Verplank encourages our pet grooming students to watch Westminster as a great way to improve their pet trims! (watch Melissa’s video HERE )We’ve highlighted information to help you tune in.

Learn more @ Westminster

How a Dog Show Works

Each dog at a dog show is presented to a judge by either its owner, breeder, or a hired professional. This person is known as the exhibitor or the handler of the dog.

The purpose of conformation shows (also known as dog shows) is to evaluate breeding stock. Judges select winners based on their ability to contribute and improve the next generation of dogs. Dogs start out in the classes competing for points toward their AKC championship title. Dogs win points based on the number of dogs defeated. The more dogs entered, the more points per win. It takes fifteen points, including two majors (wins of three, four or five points), awarded by at least three different judges, to become an American Kennel Club champion.

Breed Groups judged to the AKC Breed Standard include the Working, Herding, Sporting, Hound, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding.

Learn more, including judging criteria, a glossary and terminology, at Westminster Dog Shows 101 

Watch Dog Show 101:

Westminster – Dog Show 101

Westminster Week Schedule: 147th WKC Dog Show

SATURDAY, May 6, 2023

  • Masters Agility Championship
    • Preliminaries 8:00am – 4:00pm
    • Finals Competition 7:00pm – 9:30pm

Agility is a timed competition that tests a dog’s ability to complete an obstacle course following the commands of its handler. Purebred and All-American (mixed breed) dogs are eligible, to compete in 1 of 5 height classes and are judged on time and completion (minus faults) of the course.

  • Masters Obedience Championship
    • 9:00am – 3:00pm

Obedience is a command-driven competition that tests a dog’s ability to comply with the asks of the handler. Commands can include a combination of sit, stay, jump, retrieve and scent discrimination. Purebred and All-American (mixed breed) dogs will compete to showcase the desired skills of a model dog.

Today, Westminster will also host Obedience, Dock Diving, a Breed Showcase & More

Learn more here: Westminster Schedule

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2023

  • Breed Judging
    • Judging of Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding breeds and Junior Showmanship Preliminaries
    • 8:00am – 4:30pm

The dogs entered at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show each competes within their own breed to be chosen as Best of their Breed/Variety. There are 212 AKC-recognized breeds and varieties.

Junior Showmanship is a competition assessing the handling skills of children 9-18 years of age independent of the traits of the dog. The competition promotes proper training and care to prepare future generations for responsible dog ownership, sportsmanship, and future success in the sport.

  • Group Judging
    • Judging of the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding Groups
    • 7:30pm – 11:00pm

Once selected as Best of Breed/Variety, dogs advance to compete within their AKC-recognized Group: Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, Herding, Sporting, Working, and Terrier.

TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2023

    • Breed Judging
      • Judging of Sporting, Working and Terrier breeds and Junior Showmanship Preliminaries
      • 8:00am – 4:30pm
    • Junior Showmanship Finals
      • 7:00pm-7:30pm
    • Group Judging
      • Judging of Sporting, Working, and Terrier Groups
      • 7:30pm – 11:00pm
    • Best in Show

    The winning dogs across the seven Groups compete for the ultimate prize. From those seven Reserve Best in Show is awarded as a runner up, followed by the Best in Show selection.

    Times are subject to change. All times EDT.

On Air Programming & Live Streaming Info for 2023:


Sneak Peek of The Pup Relief Tour’s Nigeria Outreach

The Pup Relief Tour in partnership with Paragon is fresh off its mission is to elevate the grooming profession around the world, through excellence in skill development.

PRT mastermind, Brian Taylor aka “The Dogfather of Harlem” is passionate about opening avenues to the grooming profession at home and abroad. The banker-turned-successful grooming business owner became a social media sensation during the height of the pandemic when he spearheaded the non-profit Pup Relief Tour in 15 cities across the United States. The team groomed 1918 pups whose pet parents faced financial hardships and raised awareness of pup health and well-being through grooming.

Check out the video below:

PRT mastermind, Brian Taylor aka “The Dogfather of Harlem” is passionate about opening avenues to the grooming profession at home and abroad. The banker-turned-successful grooming business owner became a social media sensation during the height of the pandemic when he spearheaded the non-profit Pup Relief Tour in 15 cities across the United States. The team groomed 1918 pups whose pet parents faced financial hardships and raised awareness of pup health and well-being through grooming.

For the Nigeria venture, Taylor was joined by Pup Relief Tour Ambassadors, Labree Blaxon, Owner, Fluffy By Nature, (California), Latonya Smith, LC’s Detroit Salon, (Michigan) and Gianna Richardson, Gia Styles Grooming (Virginia). All have successful pet grooming businesses here in the U.S. and are primarily Black-owned.

Together, Paragon and The Pup Relief Tour are committed to raising awareness of the shortage of dog groomers and to help pet lovers discover the lucrative opportunity of a career in pet grooming.


Thank Goodness for Doodles!

If you missed our Facebook LIVE on “Thank Goodness for Doodles” or would like more resources on becoming a successful and profitable doodle-groomer, here are a few resources that will help you achieve your goal!

Doodles Are Job Security – Melissa Verplank  weighs in on why Doodles Are Job Security – Watch the Video

Fair Pricing – The Large Dog – Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of pricing large dogs in your grooming business – Watch the Video

Doodle Grooming Roundup – from Paragon’s “Groominar® Network” at Learn2GroomDogs.com:  In our “Doodle” round up, members can find “Groominars®” – instructional videos – on the following topics (and more!): Doodle Roundup

  • Low maintenance Doodle trims,
  • Handling Wire Haired Doodles,
  • Tips for Thick Coated Doodles
  • Basic Doodle Body Patterns,
  • Doodle Head Styling
  • Stylized Doodles trim and even how to
  • Style a Labradoodle Like a Portuguese Water Dog

Not a member? Join us for non-stop professional skills development and community support.

Adding Dental Health Services & Products to Boost Your Business

– By Joe Zuccarello, Paragon President

Originally published by our partners at IndiePet.  

Chew on this! Did you know, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it is estimated that by the age of two 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease? Further, periodontal infections have been linked to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and other life-threatening disorders.

WOW! What are you doing about this? As a Pet Professional, we have an obligation to the Pet Parents who trust us with their pets’ care to inform them of the severity of this problem.

Most Groomers believe they can only make more money if they take an extra dog on the books, or raise prices, or do more big dogs. All of these methods will work, but what about working smarter and not just harder. How?! Recommend extra services that not only generate extra revenue but also educate the Pet Parent and benefit the pet in one way or another. Oral Care services are a perfect add on which satisfies all of these criteria.

If the business has only Groomer they can groom 8 dogs per day and they make a concerted effort to ask every person who comes through the door if they would an oral care service for their pet, (we’ll talk about services choices in a minute) and only 20% of the clients accept, that can equal an average of $20-$30 extra in revenue per day. $30 per day multiplied by seven days per week generates over $11,000 per year in incremental revenue. What if you had more people working in your salon? What if three or four out of every ten clients accepts?

Now that I have your attention (money always works!), let’s talk about the choices you have in service offerings. First, traditional teeth brushing. Depending on the toothpaste and toothbrush (human toothbrush or finger brush) you use, this service can be easy to start and a fair number of dogs will let you brush their teeth while others will not. Another choice is dental wipes. Yet another choice is the best way of addressing the pet’s oral care needs and that is a variety of products engineered to make the entire process easier for the Groomer and the pet. Based on a “no brushing necessary” position, products such as dental gel, breath sprays and foams, water additives, and a variety of treats and chews not only give you more options to address the concern of periodontal disease, but also gives your clients a choice of products to use at home on a regular basis.

Dental products are perfect additions to your services offering, plus they are a great addition to your retail offering. Many Groomers will say dental services offered in salons on a “once a month” basis has very little effect on the pet’s dental health. I beg to differ. I can tell you from experience you WILL sell oral care services by simply asking everyone who enters your business and you WILL sell oral care products to Pet Parents who wish to take better care of their pet’s teeth since you have brought it to their attention that they should be. The products you carry should make it as easy for the Pet Parent as possible. If the product is hard to use or the process is hard to do, they simply won’t do it.

Additional Resources:

Hey Joe Podcast“Dental Awareness with Guest Josh Meyer, TropiClean”

ArticleHow Groomers Can Help Maintain Dental Health

About Joe Zuccarello
With a long career in the pet industry, spanning over 35 years, Joe began his career in the services sector. Leading a team of over 250 employees and all operations efforts at a multi-unit luxury pet resort, spa, daycare, and training facility for nearly 20 years. He then shifted slightly to begin a 10 year position as Director of Innovation and Product development for TropiClean. Joe now leads the team at the undisputed leader in professional pet grooming education, the Paragon School of Pet Grooming and Learn2GroomDog.com providing career training solutions. 

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