Good Doggie: Room to groom |

Good Doggie: Room to groom

Melissa M. Kellogg
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyOwner of Good Doggie Grooming, Rebecca Stuart and her right hand dog, Josh greet clients Friday at her new business at the Pet Center in Avon.

AVON – Rebecca Stuart loves dogs so much that when it came time for her get a new job, she decided to open her own dog grooming business. “My work is pooches and smooches,” she says as one canine customer, a gray standard poodle named Namche, laps at her cheek. Stuart’s dog grooming business, Good Doggie, set up shop in June in the Avon Pet Center. Stuart went to school to learn grooming at Critter Clips in Colorado Springs, which she says she chose because 99 percent of the class time was spent working on dogs. After school ended Stuart needed to find a place to set up shop and started putting feelers out around the Vail Valley, she says. One of the places she visited was the Avon Pet Center. Debra McGraf, new owner of the Avon Pet Center and its veterinarian, had just the spot. “I’m so blessed to have met Debra,” Stuart says. McGraf invited Stuart to set up shop in the center’s pet store. Stuart converted two rooms into a grooming room and a doggie holding room. In another common area she has a large dog wash area for bathing the dogs. Ideal clients

Even though Stuart’s business is relatively new, she is not new to the Vail area. She moved to the valley in 1973 after coming out with a group on a ski trip. She says she fell in love with Vail and left her corporate job with Revlon Inc. to move here, where she resolved to do whatever necessary to live in Vail year round. Like many newcomers, she started out working in restaurants and for Vail Associates to support herself. In the summers she worked for Hans Oberlohr who always had summer painting and wallpapering projects to keep her busy. At one point, Stuart says, she left Vail to live in Hawaii for 12 years and even spent a few years living on a boat with her husband and sailing up and down the east coast of Australia. For her, all roads led to Vail and she moved back in 1998 to stay, she says. For Stuart, all paths led to dog grooming as well. She says she’s had a special relationship with animals all her life, especially dogs. She says she could not be happier getting to work with them all day, every day. “They are my friends. They are like children,” she says. “They all have a different personality, they have such honesty to them, they don’t lie to you. They tell you exactly how they feel and they have unconditional love.”Most of us would wish for clients and co-workers like that.Two hours per dog

Stuart will spend almost two hours with each dog and only groom four to five dogs per day, she says. She is very thorough with each dog, brushing and clipping them before bathing and after bathing, she adds. She brushes and clips the dogs before bathing so that she can get to their skin and wash them properly, she says. Then she follows the bath with further clipping, brushing and blow drying. She also trims nails and brushes the dog’s teeth if needed, she says.Her philosophy is quality, not quantity, she says. She would rather be known as one of the best groomers in the Vail Valley than try to groom lots of dogs. According to one client, Maryan Hurtt – Namche’s owner – Stuart’s philosophy works. She used to take Namche to Frisco because she could never get an appointment with the groomers in the Vail area, Hurtt says. “Groomers here are so full they won’t even talk to you if you aren’t already a customer,” she says. “Becky does a great job, she’s very convenient, she’s available and she’s a sweet lady.” Stuart does not require her clients to book appointments months ahead of time like many others do, she says. She will get dogs in and get them groomed when they need it, she says. And she will often work into the evening or on a Saturday or Sunday to accommodate customers, she says. ‘Only solutions’

During an interview, she excused herself to go pick up doggie client, a golden retriever named Brandy, from the vet’s office next door so that she could be groomed and bathed before going home. “I get a lot of referral business from the vets and the pet store here,” she says as she sits and comforts Brandy for a few minutes before beginning to work on her. Stuart says all of her business has come from referrals and word-of-mouth. “I haven’t had to do any advertising yet,” she says. Most of her clients tell her how thankful they are that she’s opened her business, she says. Many of her clients were taking their dogs to Denver, Silverthorne and various other out-of-the-way towns to get their dogs groomed, she says. Having had many years of experience as an entrepreneur – Stuart also has a custom sewing and decorating business – she has some advice for fellow budding entrepreneurs. She finds constant inspiration in a John Lennon quote and she says, “There’s no such thing as problems only solutions.” “You can always go back to school to learn something new and if you want to do something, do it,” she says. “If it doesn’t work, do something else.” Vail, Colorado

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