The owner of a Prairie Village dog grooming business says she’s surprised by some people’s negative reaction to her plan to hold a balloon release to honor deceased pets.
Christine Gregory, who opened Queen of Paws Boutique and Spa in Prairie Village in 2012, came up with the idea to do a balloon release outside her shop Sunday, June 22 as a way to both honor pets who have recently passed away and raise funds to pay for the surgery of a puggle injured in a traffic accident.
But over the course of the past several days, Gregory says she’s heard from a handful of people who are upset by the fact that balloons factor into the service, and that they could pose a threat to birds, turtles and other wildlife.
“One person is saying I’m trying to kill wildlife,” she said. “This was just supposed to be a positive, emotional event. A nice tribute to people who had lost pets.”
Gregory said she got the idea for the event, which she’s dubbing “Up, Up & Away,” after attending a balloon release memorial service for hospice patients at Shawnee Mission Park. Gregory’s mother passed away five years ago.
“I went because I’d never done something like that for my mom,” she said. “They released 400 balloons, and there weren’t any issues.”
She also said she had cleared the idea with the Prairie Village Police and the Parks and Recreation department. Since the balloons she’s using are biodegradable, she said, the city didn’t have any issues with the event.
Though Gregory still plans to offer balloons, she’ll also be offering candles as well, “for anyone who might be worried about the balloons hurting animals.”
Gregory is asking for a $5 donation per balloon, with the proceeds going to help pay for femoral head removal surgery for Yoshi, a puggle recently hit by a car. The surgery is estimated to cost $6,000-$7,000, and Yoshi’s owners can’t afford the cost. Gregory said she hopes to raise the full amount, but “would love to at least come up with half of it.”
The event will begin at 1 p.m. at Queen of Paws Sunday, June 22, with the balloon release itself scheduled for 2 p.m.