PF Michigan Makes Tails Wag by Turning Old T-shirts Into Dog Toys

Planet Fitness franchise groups love finding ways to give back to their communities, and it is always a treat to see how creative PF team members get when they seek to make a difference. PF Michigan realized that they had a slew of old, outdated PF t-shirts, and they wanted to find a way to put them to good use.

“The first idea was finding an organization that could use them for crafting material or that works with individuals that could use size 2x-6x shirts for clean clothing options,” said Brooke Shurtz, regional manager for PF Michigan. “Our GM at Toledo-Glendale, Mary Delaney, took on the task of finding a local organization that could use them.”

Shurtz explained that Delaney wound up finding a way for the t-shirts to be put to good use by being crafted into dog toys, and team members rose to the challenge spectacularly. The group reached out to three local animal shelters in the Toledo area to ask if they would be interested in receiving the hand-made dog toys as donations, and the answer was an overwhelming yes.

PF Michigan’s six Toledo locations (Holland, Sylvania, Toledo-Glendale, Toledo-Laskey, Maumee and Perrysburg) turned the initiative into a friendly competition to see which group could craft the most dog toys. February was promptly turned into “Waguary” and the result was more than impressive. “In just under 30 days, these clubs were able to craft 1,953 toys!” Shurtz said proudly. The leading club was the Holland, Ohio, location, which made over 600 dog toys.

“Our franchise has always encouraged our associates to give back and embrace the philanthropic spirit,” Shurtz said, explaining that the group felt that putting the t-shirt inventory towards this initiative aligned with that sentiment more than dropping off the shirts en masse at a thrift store. “Our Toledo area clubs in particular are all animal lovers, with every GM owning at least one furry friend and several having experience with volunteer work at shelters. There was really no question about if this dog toy project was something we could successfully drive in such a short amount of time, and our staff members were more than willing to help support this good cause.”

Every associate on the staff, from managers to part-time employees, was invited to make the dog toys if they wished. “I can say that several of our employees learned how to braid for the first time from this project and they had a lot of fun doing so,” Shurtz said. “Several employees got very creative with the toy making process and found new ways to braid, twist, tie, and utilize almost 100% of the t-shirt during crafting.”

Shurtz also pointed out that having a friendly competition in play to support such a worthy cause provided a much-needed morale boost to PF Michigan’s teams. Being part of giving back to the community in a fun – and adorable – way turned into a positive and rewarding experience for team members.

Fortunately, this project inspired PF Michigan to continue their support of local animal shelters. The initiative allowed the group to develop new relationships with these organizations, and they are looking forward to participating in a shelter-led event this June. The Toledo Humane Society hosts an annual “Bark in the Park” fundraiser, which is a 5k and 10k run, and they invite local businesses to have some fun and mingle with furry friends and animal-lovers alike. “I am excited to say that PF Michigan group will be hosting a table at this event and handing out more dog toys that our staff is already hard at work crafting!” Shurtz gushed.

With a little creativity and some dedication, great things can be done to help those who are in need – including those who have four legs!