Pet grooming at your home

It's convenient for the owners, and less stressful for the dog

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Posted: Sunday, April 22, 2012 12:00 am

Reluctant to bathe Fido in the family bathtub or clean up the result of Rover's car sickness after a trip to the canine groomer?

Jill Trent has the solution for you.

Trent, of Galena, Ill., is part of a growing national trend of mobile pet grooming. Operating Rover Done Over, she brings the bathtub to your driveway.

According to Jeff Reynolds, executive director of the National Dog Groomers Association of America, of Clark, Pa., the mobile part of the industry has been growing the past 10 to 12 years.

"It's gaining momentum from coast to coast," he said. "Groomers like being their own bosses. It's very convenient for the consumer. The groomer comes to their house with their own self-generated unit."

Pet owners will pay the price for convenience. Trent's prices vary. A bath costs $35 and grooming $45.

"It's a high-end thing," Trent said, pointing out her prices are pretty low-end compared to Madison, Wis., where the minimum charge is $60 to $70.

In Rover Done Over, she pulls a trailer equipped with a high-powered blow dryer, water tanks, a water heater and a generator. The unit matches the seasons with heating and air conditioning units. The interior is white and pleasant.

Trent and her husband, Tony, originally hail from the Chicago suburbs where she worked as a full-time dental hygienist. Only able to find part-time employment after the couple moved to the Galena area four years ago, Jill sought a new career.

"My passion has always been my love of animals (the Trents have no children), so I knew that I wanted to do something with animals," she said, explaining mobile groomers are popular in the suburbs. The Trents had their dogs groomed that way, so it was a logical choice for her.

Jill started her business in November.

"The main advantage of mobile grooming is that it's less stressful on the dog," she said.

Trent explained that in the busy suburban salons, dogs are groomed in stages, so they spend a lot of time in cages around other dogs, all barking. The result?

"They go to the bathroom in the cages and on the grooming tables because they are there so long, and because they are so stressed," she said. "There are other dogs around them, barking. It's deafening chaos."

In a mobile, it's just Trent and one dog.

"I play soft music, I have big windows they can look out and I am gentle with them," she said. "The dog only has one person to get familiar with, instead of different bathers and different groomers. Your dog feels at home because they are at home."

Trent parks her trailer in a client's driveway or on their street. Another advantage is the convenience for the owner. "Mobile groomers cost a little more than salons because it takes gas to drive to your home and gas for the generator, but people need to realize that they would have driven to a salon and back using their gas to do that," Trent said.

Rover Done Over has a few clients who aren't even home when Trent grooms their dog. She enters the home, gets the dog and returns it when she's done -- so the client doesn't have to take time out of their busy day.

"Some dogs get car sick so it's good for them," she said. "And for those dogs that shed a lot, you don't have the hair mess to clean up."

Mobile groomers are popular in the suburbs and bigger cities, but not so much in the tri-state area, Trent said. A web search lists mobile groomers in West Branch and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and in Middleton, Fitchburg and Janesville, Wis.

"I think once someone uses a mobile groomer, they will see how much easier it is, and how much nicer it is for their dog," Trent said. "They will continue to go mobile, and word will spread. It's the only way I would want my dogs groomed."

The Trents have four dogs, including two stray adoptees, and two cats. Jill said she has never not had a dog. "I love them all," she said.

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