Scenthound, a company that provides basic hygiene and grooming services for dogs, cares about more than just helping our furry friends. They also care about making all of their locations a welcoming place where all employees, dog parents and community members can feel included.
Scenthound has taken a variety of steps to ensure their employees who identify as LGBTQ+ feel welcome, respected and celebrated.
Founded in 2015 and franchised since 2019, Scenthound is a wellness-centered, membership-based dog grooming business and focuses on five core areas of maintenance: Skin, Coat, Ears, Nails, and Teeth.
Bill Gray opened his first Scenthound franchise in Dunwoody and now owns three locations, all in Metro Atlanta. In doing so, Gray makes it a priority to ensure his businesses are inclusive to all dog parents and employees.
“As a racial minority myself and growing up struggling with the idea of finding a place where I belonged, I wanted to make sure as a business, we provided an environment where people could be themselves,” he explained. “The more diverse and inclusive we make our environment, the stronger and deeper we will deliver our ‘One Pack’ value. Working together, leaning on each other and supporting each other, we can all get the work completed that our dog members need.”
With June being Pride Month, Scenthound is recognizing a handful of their LGBTQ+ employees who all go above and beyond.
Rin Maas, Customer Service Representative: ‘It’s a genuine company’
Rin Maas has worked at the Scenthound Northern Atlanta stores including Tucker, Dunwoody and Chastain Square for three years. She first began working with the company as a high school student, and for the past two years, Maas has worked remotely while attending college in Indiana and in Atlanta when she’s home for breaks.
She first started bathing pets, and has worked her way up to working directly with dog parents.
“My favorite thing about Scenthound is the people — everyone is really welcoming and very open-minded about everything,” Maas said. “Starting there, I was a little bit nervous because I was just coming into my own identity and people there were very welcoming of that. They were very open to just seeing me for who I am, not going off of any preconceived notions of who I was.”
For Maas, it’s the little things that mean the most, like being asked how her girlfriend is. During last year’s Pride Month, Scenthound’s corporate offices even had special Pride shirts made that staff could wear.
But Scenthound doesn’t typically make its inclusive environment an advertisement to join or support the business, which Maas said makes it feel much more genuine.
“I think because they don’t outwardly say, ‘Come on, we’re super inclusive and we have a bunch of gay people here!’ that says a lot more to how accepting the environment is,” she explained. “It’s about the pets, and it’s about what we do. The inclusivity of it is not the main focus — they care about you as a person for your skills and what you bring to the team instead of you just being a diversity hire.”
Though the welcoming environment is definitely an added benefit, what Maas loves most about working at Scenthound is seeing the love between dog parents and their pets.
“I started out bathing and I really liked that because you get to be really hands-on with different dogs — different breeds, different temperaments — you just get to interact with a lot of different animals,” she said. “But my favorite part is what I do now, working the front desk doing intake and outtake. You really get to see the most pure form of love every day when their dog comes running out and an owner’s face lights up.”
Keesha ‘Stew’ Stewart, Scenter Leader: ‘A welcoming environment’
Keesha “Stew” Stewart has worked with Scenthound for around a year at the Dunwoody location. She began as a Scent Tech and now is the Scenter Leader/manager of the location.
For Stewart, Scenthound’s welcoming environment was a deciding factor in finding a place to work.
“Before Scenthound all of my previous jobs had very strict rules about self expression. So the freedom to be able to just be me with no restrictions at my place of work was definitely appealing to me,” she said. “The immediate acceptance was, for me, new and exciting — definitely a big contributing factor when deciding to accept the offer to join the Scenthound family.”
Like Maas, Stewart said the way she feels supported is in the details.
“I like that everyone makes the effort to use everybody’s preferred pronouns,” she said. “All too often this request is ignored or ridiculed in the workplace. It’s nice to work with a group of people that not only accept but respect the requests.”
Soren Leblanc, Groomer: ‘They allowed me to blossom’
Soren Leblanc has been working with Scenthound for about a year now. He began as a Scent Tech and was recently promoted to a trimmer.
“I really was drawn to how eager they were to teach me. It’s my first pet industry job, and I think they did a wonderful job of taking their time and allowing me to grow and learn new skills,” he said. “They focus on positivity and that allows people to blossom.”
But what Soren enjoys most is how that support extends beyond the work their employees do for the company.
“When I first got the job, I remember being really nervous about telling them that I was Trans, but I was met with welcome arms,” Soren said. “Having a supportive workplace can make such a difference in someone’s life, and I’m proud to be a part of a place like Scenthound that provides that and that I’m able to be a part of. I’m really proud of the work I do, and It means the world I’m able to do it being my authentic self.”
The owners of Scenthound stay true to their mission to remove barriers so people can love and connect with their dogs every day through its Passion for Pets mission statement that includes:
- Dog First: We advocate for the health and well-being of every dog in our care.
- One Pack: We are one company, one team, with one mission. We trust, respect, and support one another.
- Bring Love: We bring good energy to our work, and we do our job with loving intention.
- Seek Growth: We believe. We learn. We grow.
- Make a Difference: We work with purpose and are driven by a desire to make a positive impact.
- North Star: To remove barriers so that people can love and connect with their dogs every day.