(Editor’s note: The following story appeared in the April 8, 2010, issue of the Creston Valley Advance. In June 2013, the owner of Hound ‘N’ Mouser expanded the business and moved into the Creston Valley Mall.)
If Fido is looking a little worse for wear, there are three choices: ignore the dirt and matted fur, break out the scissors or take him to someone who knows how to help.
The latter choice is the best, if you ask Laryssa Pugh, owner of Hound ’N’ Mouser Pet Grooming.
When owners groom their pet improperly, “they use either scissors and end up cutting the skin or they use the wrong tool for the wrong job and end up brush-burning the dog,” Pugh said.
The same goes for cats, which she also grooms — using only quality professional grooming products and equipment — although less people think of taking their cat to a groomer.
“It’s not something that’s heard of,” she said, “but if cats can’t clean themselves or get matted easily, then I’ll do it here.”
As a child, Pugh had rodents as pets, but no dog or cat until she was a teenager. She knew, however, that she wanted to become a veterinarian, which didn’t pan out, but when a friend mentioned grooming, she jumped at the chance.
Pugh took a six-month course in her native Saskatoon, Sask., which was followed by training in a salon. The JKL Training Academy graduate also pumped up her knowledge with a year-long online course, which included a three-inch-thick textbook and DVDs.
She lives in Creston with her husband and children, having left Saskatchewan five years ago after an Easter weekend visit left them longing for the Creston Valley climate.
“Everybody was out mowing their lawn,” she said. “It was freezing cold in Saskatoon and bright and sunny here.”
Pugh started Hound ’N’ Mouser in Erickson, and then moved the business with the family to Regina Street in 2006. After working for a few years out of one room, she renovated the garage, creating a shop that was accessible to both wheelchairs and senior pets.
The shop offers a relaxed environment for the groomer, the pet and the owner. Pugh takes a single pet — or more than one pet from a single home — at a time, which means customers can drop off their pets, run a few errands and come back, rather than waiting all day for the pet to be run through a busy production line.
“They like to see their dogs go on the table, not into a kennel,” Pugh said.
Typically, small dogs take about an hour, medium dogs, such as Labrador retrievers, take two hours, and bigger dogs, such as Newfoundlands, can take more than three.
With most pets, it’s important for owners to care for their grooming between visits to a professional — which is why some thought should be put into getting a new one. For example, a shihtzu may require more care than other breeds.
“If you don’t have the time, energy or funds to groom him regularly so he is looking and feeling his best, perhaps a shihtzu is not the right breed for you,” she said.
Her job is one that Pugh loves, and she can’t wait to see her clients — and their owners — each day.
“It started as a hobby, but it kept going from there,” she said. “I love going to work every day.”
And when she works her magic and turns a mangy mutt into a pretty pooch, the owner’s smiling face is a highlight.
“I’ve been bitten, sneezed on, peed on and pooed on — those were the low points, but the rewards are so much greater.”