Kathy Weber is the ultimate recycler and environmentalist.
Weber, a dog groomer who owns The Clip Joint in Monona, has turned the dog hair removed while grooming her canine clients into a second business, Dogless Dog Hair.
Experts say dog hair helps protect gardens from pests including slugs and snails, which become trapped in the dog hair. Rabbits, squirrels, deer and other creatures are deterred by the scent of dog hair as it tricks the pests into thinking there is a dog nearby. This method is environmentally friendly for gardens, trees, shrubs and potted plants and does not harm animals or humans.
Weber, 61, has owned her dog-grooming shop for 43 years. Every spring, customers would ask her for dog hair for their gardens as their grandparents had used it to keep pests out of their gardens.
Two years ago, Weber began saving all of the dog hair, which had previously gone to a waste-treatment facility. She now packages the dog hair to sell in 13-ounce bags for $6 each.
“I keep my rates low to ensure that everyone is able to use natural pest deterrents in their gardens rather than toxic chemicals,” Weber said.
Nine area dog groomers have committed to going green and supply Weber with dog hair.
During February, she had a booth at the Wisconsin Public Television Garden Expo and will be at the Isthmus Green Days on April 26 selling the products available through her business, which include:
• Garden Snakes, a breathable, biodegradable burlap tube filled with dog hair sold by the foot to fit the dimensions of buyers’ gardens.
• Deer Deterrent bags, breathable and biodegradable burlap bags filled with dog hair, which keep deer from munching on shrubs and trees.
• Bird Nest in a Bag uses leftover dog hair, shredded paper, twine, burlap, thread, and dryer lint that Weber has around the house. Everything birds use to make their nests is placed in small biodegradable burlap bags that can be hung in trees, on fences or on shepherd’s hooks, so that birds can remove what they want.
“Through my grooming business, I’ve seen dogs that have gotten into the garden after their owners have applied toxic pesticides and herbicides,” Weber said. “Often the dogs develop tummy problems, hot spots and they won’t stop chewing their feet. The dogs are miserable. Knowing that Dogless Dog Hair products will keep dogs and their owners safe, puts my heart at ease.”