Sometimes, being a dog owner isn’t all that easy, especially if one’s fur baby hates to be groomed. A trip to get trimmed, clipped and bathed might launch a storm of pitiful whining and baleful stares.
One dog grooming company is working to make life easier for both owners and pets on Whidbey Island by offering a twist on grooming services — the groomer comes to you.
Laurie’s Warm Fuzzies operates as a mobile dog grooming, training and boarding service from Clinton.
Owner Laurie Cecil has been in the business for over 20 years. With her traveling grooming salon, she parks in front of her client’s homes so dogs don’t have to travel.
The van she operates out of was converted into a dog salon by Wag’n Tails Mobile Conversions, an Indiana-based company.
“It’s a fully enclosed grooming shop on wheels,” Cecil said.
One of the benefits of being a mobile service is calmer dogs.
“Dogs are a lot more comfortable in their home environment,” Cecil said.
She describes her business as “no cages, no crates” and a higher-end service geared toward owners who don’t mind paying more than what a big box store would charge.
“You get what you pay for,” she said.
PetSmart lists a basic bath and trim for an adult Labrador retriever at about $55. Cecil’s doesn’t list her prices online, but on a case-by-case basis. She prices by the breed, size, behavior and owner requests.
Cecil is careful about safety and keeping her traveling salon clean and requires that all her clients be currently on flea treatment. She uses a variety of specialized tools and products, but the one she enjoys talking about the most is her hydro massage shower system, which she says the dogs especially enjoy.
Besides grooming, she does in-home dog training, aiming to get the whole family involved in teaching the dog basic manners and obedience. She does limited boarding services as well.
Her pooch training teaches people that dogs think differently than humans, living moment to moment.
She requests that clients call a week or two before they want to set up an appointment. She also cautions that she is not a “last resort” service for dogs with major aggression issues.
Her clients like her services because she is patient and provides close one-on-one care with the dogs.
Client Laura Powers of Oak Harbor has two Shelties and raves about Cecil’s work. After jumping around from groomer to groomer, she finally found Cecil three years ago and became a loyal customer.
“Before we found Luarie, we’d been through every groomer on the island,” she said. “…I can’t say enough good things about Laurie. She has a heart of gold with animals.”
Powers said her dogs are well pampered by Cecil, with the perks such as the hydro massage.
“I’ve never even had a massage,” she laughed.
It takes Cecil about eight hours to groom both dogs, and the dogs regularly get complimented on their silky coats, which Powers credits to Cecil.
“I groom everything, from every walk of life and every income level, but I look for people who treat their animals like family.”
“Every dog can benefit from grooming,” Cecil said.
She loves dogs and her job, she said.
Her job is the only one where she can kiss her clients and not get fired, she joked.