Doggishly Dapper Grooming in Gypsum recently celebrated its one-year anniversary after opening its doors quietly in January 2012.
"It's scary opening your own place," said Kitty Ahern, who started the business with her mom, Ginny Putnam.
"We didn't know there were so many groomers out here in Gypsum when we opened, but we're staying busy enough," Ahern said. "We have people bring their dogs to us from as far away as Aspen and Rifle."
Doggishly Dapper Grooming is located at 10651 U.S. Highway 6, next to Tu Casa Mexican Restaurant and close to Eagle Valley High School. Business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Early drop-off or late pickup is available upon request and there is a play room for the animals waiting to be picked up.
The business may be reached at 970-524-3655. Its website is www.doggishlydapper.com.
Ahern and Putnam own poodles and are very familiar with the challenge of grooming thick, curly fur, but they groom all breeds.
"I love all dogs," Ahern said. "I don't have a preference for what kind of dog I work with. We make the world a more beautiful place, one dog at a time."
They'll even paint claws cute colors and incorporate bows into the styles if you like.
"Our rates are comparable to others in the area but we charge less than upvalley," Ahern said.
Ahern and Putnam are also members of the National Dog Groomers Association of America. That keeps them informed on the latest techniques and breeds.
Ahern has always loved dogs and has worked with them since she was a teenager.
"I enjoyed bathing dogs at Pet Center when I was 18," she said. "I worked at a bank for a while and missed working with dogs, so I started working at The Pet Spot in Edwards."
There, she spent 10 years apprenticing under Tracy Hearder, who is a well-known groomer in the county.
"Tracy books up for a year and sends her extra business to me now," Ahern said.
Putnam said she wanted a fun job like this after working in the operating room at Vail Valley Medical Center for 20 years.
"It's fun because dogs are always doing cute things like falling asleep in the bubble bath," she said.
The mother-daughter duo have been learning Spanish since they opened.
"The better we can communicate with our customers, the more we can make people happy," Putnam said. "We're very thankful to our customers and community for supporting our business."