WELLSBORO - The Animal Care Sanctuary in the former SPCA building on Route 6 has opened a "groom room" inside the white house in front of the kennels, said the shelter's community liaison Wendy Reber.
"We have a custom tub with stairs and offer baths for dogs of all sizes up to 140 pounds," she said.
"Our prices are competitive as we hope to raise money for the animals who live here," she said.
Training of the staff is ongoing, according to care handler Kelly Swarner.
The grooming service provides baths, nail trimming, ear cleaning and easy haircuts; and Swarner said customers get the added satisfaction of knowing the fees they are charged help support the shelter and keep its animals "clean and happy."
Joan Smith-Reese, executive director of the shelter, said it is "important for ... shelter animals to gain visibility and for people to learn that ACS gives these animals a voice, oversees their well being and assures they have a good quality of life while waiting to find their 'forever homes.'
"The groom room is just one avenue we have created to raise money for these animals," she added.
Appointments for grooming are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. and every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"So far we've had quite a few calls for baths and grooming," Reber said. "Our staff is undergoing training, so if you are more concerned about cleanliness and less concerned about style, we are the groomers for you," she added.
By next year a "full salon experience" will be available, she said.
The sanctuary is opening a "Community Care Clinic in the upstairs portion of the house Sept. 13, Reber said, and also has a clinic at its East Smithfield location.
"We are offering veterinary care services," she said, "and will be concentrating on low income families' pets.
"Our prices are reduced as we hope to help rectify the pet overpopulation issues that face our area, and at the same time raise money for the animals who live at the sanctuary."
Reduced cost spay and neuter services will be offered for cats that are at least 4 pounds and at least 16 weeks old.
"In the near future, we will offer reduced cost spay and neuter services for dogs as well," she said.
The clinic will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every other Thursday.
"We all need to be responsible. There are simply too many thrown away and homeless animals in Tioga County, and we can help decrease those numbers," Smith-Reese added.
The veterinarian on duty will be Alaire Smith-Miller, of Canton, who attended Penn State and then Michigan State, where she received her DVM degree in 1990.
After practicing in Vermont for 10 years, Smith-Miller returned to the area to be closer to her family. For the past few years she has worked at various local clinics until starting Minneaqua Veterinary Cottage, a low cost clinic about four years ago. She quickly outgrew the small space and was invited to serve the community at ACS in 2010 with improved equipment, staff and room to grow.
She and her staff will do spay/neuter, vaccinations, well pet visits, and minor ailments at the new clinic location.
Adoption hours at ACS, in Wellsboro are Thursday and Monday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In East Smithfield, adoption hours are Tuesday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.