A Day at the Groomer

A Day at the Groomer
by Jennifer LB Leese

Waking this morning I could tell that something different was going to take place today. I ate breakfast and went outside and rolled around in the crisp leaves and cool grass--like I do every morning. So far nothing different had occurred.
I curled up in the corner of the couch while my mom went through her morning routine.
A few minutes later she was standing by the front door smiling at me. I didn't know what to think until I smelled something familiar--my collar and leash! I jumped up and ran to her. I don't know what it is, but when she takes my leash out of the closet, I can't control myself. I'm going somewhere!
Mom opens the door. I try to stay still...but this is all too exciting. I jump in the car and sit up front. Where are we going?
I poke my head out the cracked window. After a few minutes of letting my ears flap in the wind...I sit back and take in all the strange scents. The moment the car stops, I know where I am. At the groomer! Do I have to go here again? I'm not dirty! What if Mom doesn't come back for me? I would much rather be chasing a squirrel, eating my morning treat, or taking a nap.
The groomer pats me on the head and talks to my mom. Mom kisses me and rubs my ears saying something in a loving tone. Now I'm with Auntie Marilyn. She takes hold of my leash, the same time Mom leaves. I'm lead me to the back room where it is warm. A few of my dog friends are there. I'm too nervous to talk with them. Placed in a cage between a Golden Retriever and a German Shepherd. My favorite cookie is laid in front of me. I'll eat it later.
After my nap, Auntie Marilyn opens the cage door and smiles at me. I hop up. Is Mom here already? She leads me out of the cage, pats my head and clips a leash on me.
She picks me up and sits me on the grooming table. The jitters come back, but I do have to admit...it feels good when she checks over my fur, ears, and feet.
I go back in the cage until Auntie is ready to clean me. No longer tense, I look around. The Pet Lover's gift shop has items for not only dogs, but also for cats and horses. My mom bought a mug, doormat, flat, blanket, and tote here last time we came. I heard one customer say that the retail shop has the largest dog breed flag assortment in the area!
Just then I realize "Just for Dogs" isn't a place to be afraid of; it's a place where we are handled with love and affection. Auntie Marilyn treats us all like we are her pets. I know she likes being with us--I'm positive she was a dog friend in a former life!
Sadie and Spencer, Auntie Marilyn and Auntie Ellen's dog friends, are here somewhere! They're lucky; they go to work with their moms.
When it's my turn for a bath, Auntie is careful to get all the soap out of my thick fur. She hums and talks to me a lot! If it wasn't for that, I'd be nervous all over again.
I moan as she towel dries me...especially when she rubs my long floppy ears! I start to get excited. I know what's next! The blow-dryer. I've seen some dogs turn and run away from the warm air that flies out of this thing, but not me...I think it feels great when Auntie Marilyn runs the brush through my hair.
When I'm dry...I feel warm and toasty. I'm ready for another nap--but I can't! It's off to the grooming table to get my nails trimmed, ears cleaned, and if I had long fur...I'd get a hair cut. Thankfully I don't have to experience that! Bassett Hounds have short course hair that doesn't need a cut and style.
Lastly, Auntie places a pink bow atop of both my ears. I feel pretty and Mom should be here soon!
"A Day at the Groomer" is complete.
Sisters, Marilyn Motter and Ellen Panchula, are the owners of Just for Dogs, Inc., a professional dog grooming shop and a gift shop that sells pet supplies and items for the owners.
The grooming shop opened in November 1998 and the following year, the retail started with just flags and dog treats and a few dog supplies like collars, leashes, brushes, and shampoos. The store was remodeled to make way for set up of the retail section around 2002. Ellen, became Marilyn's partner and ran the retail section part-time until she retired from teaching and now runs the retail section with her sister full-time.
"We sell a lot of great treats--especially healthy ones...low in fat and those for dogs with allergies. Most of our dog cookies/treats come from a dog bakery. We have some great sources to buy from all over the United States."
Grooming since 1991, Marilyn felt it necessary to open her own shop. "I needed to improve myself. I also wanted to provide customers with more personal service while expanding my clientele."
The gift shop offers full grooming service for dogs. Nail clippings is a service they do for walk-ins as well as for scheduled appointments. The full groom service includes a bath, hair cut, nail trim, ear cleaning and a colorful bandana or bows to wear home. The dogs are also spritzed lightly with a cologne spray for pets. "Most of the time when the dog sees me bring out the bandana and bows they get excited and they know they are done and will be going home," said Marilyn.
Just for Dogs is a company that cares. Ellen and Marilyn are both dog lovers, taking pleasure in what they do. "I have a great clientele.
"I will continue [grooming] for as long as I can--probably until retirement--which is a long way off!"
Loving what you do is half the battle. Marilyn and Ellen have it made. The two of them get to spend hours six days a week with these pampered darlings.
"We enjoy getting to know all our customers while creating a relationship with them and their owners. We swap dog stories about their antics and their personalities. Even in the retail shop, we have made many new friends." When customers come in looking for a specific item, Marilyn and Ellen try their hardest to find it for them. "Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don't."
Marilyn feels that dogs should be spoiled. "Especially with love! I guess that's what's best about the job--being able to play with and care for a lot of dogs for a little while everyday."
All grooming is done by appointments only. Their hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. "All of my regular clients book automatically every 4-6 weeks. I do receive a lot of new clients every week, so calling ahead to get an appointment is a god idea! Holidays are always booked up fast and we're extremely busy."
Just for Dogs hopes to create a website sometime during 2006. To make an appointment for your loyal companion...call (301) 824-3371 or visit 22423 Jefferson Blvd., Smithsburg, Maryland.