ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BRENDA CONYERS
If it’s cool enough to have the windows open, you may hear strains of a fine opera aria as you pull your car up to the newest business near Lost Springs.
Ramos, a 16-year-old double-yellow-breasted Amazon parrot, stands ready on his perch to serenade those who bring their dogs out for grooming at the new grooming shop, Pets 4 Pals.
Owner and groomer Monica Bach said she can never be too sure when he might decide to break into song.
Bach opened her grooming shop earlier this summer and is pleased to offer dog and cat owners her specialized services.
She brings experience with grooming, breeding Brittany dogs and Russian Blue cats, working with greyhounds, and loving animals to her business venture.
“I think I have only had one or two days in my entire life I didn’t have a dog,” Bach said. “They have always been a part of my life. I love them.”
She began her grooming business five years ago in Phillipsburg after her family purchased the local grooming shop.
“I took my dog in and was told the shop would be closing soon if it didn’t sell,” she said. “After talking with the owner for a while, my husband and I thought this is something I could do.”
The former shopowner trained Bach. With a lot of reading, guidance and practice, Bach said she was become able to groom all types and sizes of dogs.
“She had a clientele that did quite a bit of showing their dogs,” Bach said, “so I learned a lot of show cuts. I did poodles, schnauzers, papillons and all the little dogs.”
Mixed-breed dogs would also get a styled cut that would make them more comfortable, easy to care for and nice looking.
“Business always picked up before the holidays,” Bach said. “People wanted their pets to look really nice.”
Bach said she goes the extra mile to make the pets look their best.
“I have bows for both the ‘little girls’ and ‘little boys,'” Bach said. “Every dog leaves here with a bow either on its head or on its collar.
“And I even carry toenail polish for those who might want it.”
Summer can be a busy time for a pet groomer, Bach said, with comb-outs, shaves and coat preparation for running in underbrush and swimming in the water.
One Phillipsburg client brought several Great White Pyrennes for a spring comb-out each year. Bach said that was probably one of the hardest grooms she has ever done.
“It took a long time to comb them out,” she said. “It was a lot of work.”
The dog’s owner had Bach save the hair, which was later sent to a spinner to spin the fibers into a useable yarn.
“Another woman, who owned a collie, had me save the hair, and she had a beautiful sweater made out of it.”
Bach does not use any type of sedative or aversive treatments on dogs that might be considered behavioral problems.
“People bring their dogs in and warn me how terrible they will be,” she said. “But I have found dogs are a lot like children-once the parents are gone, they are easy to work with, even the big ones like Rottweilers.”
Sometimes the dog becomes fidgety and tired of the grooming process. Bach said she just takes the dog off the table and allows him a break.
“We may go for a little walk, get a drink of water, and rest a while in the kennel,” she said. “After a time, we’ll start back up again.”
Bach does have muzzles available for when dogs try to snap at the blades.
“They can move so fast,” she said. “It is easy for them to bite the blades and cut their tongues, so it is safer for the dog who might try to bite for me to use the muzzle.”
Owners are encouraged to bring their pets to their appointment before noon and plan to leave them for the day.
“That gives me time to work with the dog-no rushing-around kind of thing,” she said.
Pet owners have the following choices of grooms for their animals:
n Bath, which includes ear cleaning, hair plucking, nails trimmed and filed-$8 for a small dog or cat, up to $15 for a large pet.
n Haircut/style, which includes a the bath and pet grooming-starts at $15.
n Flea dips and flea shampoos-price depends on the pet.
n Grooming for puppies-$12 to $15.
“I like to see people bring their puppies in as soon as they get them,” Bach said, “even if just to get a bath and nails trimmed. That way they get used to me, and the sounds and smells of a grooming shop.”
Bach said she uses a dryer and power hand dryer that uses room-temperature air instead of heat to avoid damaging the hair and over-heating the dogs.
Next month, Bach will begin carrying a retail line of high-quality Purina food for dogs, cats and horses. The Exclusive Purina line uses fresh meat in the formula instead of frozen meat.
She plans to add other items, such as shampoos, leashes, collars and chew toys in the upcoming months.
“I am going to have Bio-Spot available, too,” she said. “This is a product to take care of fleas that owners can apply monthly.”
Besides the singing parrot, Bach lives with her husband, Anthony, and children Caleb, 8, Calen, 7, Colten 3, and Caden, 4 months. She continues to raise Brittany dogs and quarter horses. Her household also has a Carin terrier, cats and a large rabbit.
For an appointment or more information, Bach can be reached at 620-381-1243.