Saturday, February 9, 2013

An Unlikely House Call

City dwellers take for granted easy access to all sorts of services.  With strip malls in urban areas sprouting like weeds in a wet summer, finding a groomer and pet care is as easy as taking a drive around a section is for me. During that four mile drive in a city, people have to choose which business to patronize.  In small prairie towns on two-lane highways where customers are in short supply, it requires ingenuity to meet people’s needs and make a living at the same time—that’s how a groomer who makes house calls came to be.

When we first moved to a small town bordering Highway 9, I figured I’d continue to drive our shih tzu- mix beast to his regular hair care professional. That wasn’t a serious problem because this kind woman understood Dudley’s issues about having his hobbit-like feet touched, his mouth shaved, and his ears cleaned, but it was long drive in bad weather.

 If you miss your appointment at  a good groomer, you wait until your next one for relief.  As winter-weather advisories began appearing on the radar, concern prompted me to see what was available in my new home town before I had to deal with a dog with dreadlock fuzz.

My investigation revealed an inventive neighbor in a nearby community .  This pet loving woman devised a mobile grooming palace using an old delivery vehicle—the kind with a passenger door like a school bus for easy entry with a pet in arms.  Inside, she has lighting, a water supply and large tub for bathing dogs, a grooming table, generator-driven blow dryers, shears and clippers, as well as a high tech nail file. 

You make your appointment, she shows up in your drive, picks up your furry critter, and returns him in less than two hours, clean and sleekly groomed—in Dudley’s case, feeling soft as an old-fashioned chenille bedspread.  I expected to continue to drive an hour to my previous groomer in rain, snow, and ice rather than suffer through his knots and tangles.  Then a little word of mouth advertising clued me into this gypsy-wagon inspired business.  

This canine stylist travels to each small town in our region at least once a month, making sure rural pets look as spiffy as any big city dog.  She goes several times a month to larger towns like Norton and less often to smaller communities.  She also grooms out of her home and provides boarding services for folks who don’t want to travel with their pets

Obviously, when someone parks a big vehicle bearing a Groomingdale’s sign in your small town driveway, there’s no secrecy about your pet’s appearance.  “Saw the dog lady at your house today,” comments everyone you see.  It’s embarrassing to admit you can’t shear your own pet, but it’s true.  I’m afraid I’ll hurt Dudley while trimming around his mouth, eyes, ears, and . . . the other end. 

 Another reason the groomer’s name is on speed dial is because friends  and family accused me of using a blender to cut our golden retriever’s hair every summer when he was still alive.  Even Tucker was ashamed to reveal himself in public until his hair grew out enough to hide the bald and uneven spots.

As long as this clever businesswoman is willing to make house calls to bathe and trim our fur ball at a reasonable price, she’ll have our business.   Dudley’s grateful too.

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