Every dog needs love and care, even senior and special needs dogs, Vanessa Slagle said. When she realized she was working for a company that didn't want to serve senior and special needs dogs, she decided to open her own business.
Lovely Pets Grooming, on 640 W Lancashire Blvd. in the Village Center, has been open since October 2020. Currently there are three groomers and an office manager making up the team.
They can groom all kinds of dogs.
"You have to do what the pet parents want," she said, "Sometimes they bring pictures."
Groomers are trained in breed standards. They know how to make a poodle look like a poodle. In Slagle's case, the training took a month and she did a two-year internship. But no matter what the breed standard is, groomers listen the owner of the pet and try to do what the owner asks.
Besides learning about the various hair cuts, groomers also have to know how to keep dogs' coats healthy and how to keep everyone safe during the grooming process. It helps, she said, when they get to know their canine clients.
If the dog is stressed by being around other dogs, Slagle encourages their owner to book an appointment during a slow time for the shop. That's not always easy since the shop sees 25 to 30 dogs a day.
Occasionally, a dog is stressed enough that the groomer must stop in the middle of an appointment. If the dog can't be calmed down, they may be sent home with half a haircut and given another appointment to resume. None of her groomers have been injured by a dog, she said.
Slagle won't say what her favorite breed is.
"I love doing all the dogs," she said. But she's noticed that there are more small breeds in Bella Vista than in other communities.
Walk ins for nail clipping are welcome, she said. Most dogs should have their nails clipped every four to six weeks. It may be less necessary if the dog walks on concrete routinely.
In the past she has employed a cat groomer, but it's hard to find someone who has been trained to work with cats.
"Cats carry more diseases on their nails and teeth," she explained. Most cats benefit from regular nail clipping and some breeds of cats need to be bathed and brushed just like a dog.
Slagle doesn't offer doggy day care and she makes sure that the dogs in her care don't interact with each other.
Most of her business comes from word of mouth, she said. She doesn't advertise, but the business has a Facebook page (facebook.com/lovelypetsar) where photos of well-groomed dogs are posted.
Lovely Pets Grooming is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information visit their web site (lovelypetsar.com/) or call 479 553-7280.