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Pawfect Pets

October 8, 2020

For Shearly Pawfect Pets Founder Michelle Carpin, grooming is much more just grooming — it’s a form of art, a mission that includes education and gaining an animal’s trust.

The full-service grooming business on South Michael Street in St. Marys began with a soft opening in August 2017, Carpin said.

Carpin, who lives in Weedville and has been grooming for 12 years, has two dogs of her own, Bentley and Penny.

Originally, Carpin said she wanted to go to school for horse training, and considered attending veterinary school. She also worked at The Dog House in Reynoldsville, learning much of what she knows from Founder and longtime groomer Kathie Simcox. Carpin also has experience in at-home mobile services for dogs, such as basic nail trimmings and clean ups.

There are many things Carpin enjoys about the business, including helping pet owners notice possible underlying issues. SPP refers many dogs to the vet, she said, which is part of the reason she got into grooming.

A big part of the mission is also education. People may not know common information, such as it can be damaging to shave a dog’s plush/double coat and irregulate their body temperature, Carpin added.

“I love making dogs more comfortable, and sending a finished product out the door,” she said.

Carpin also uses holistic-health products, with all grooming products being natural. With a background in nutrition, she has many “dog food conversations” with pet owners.

Grooming is also a mental and emotional business for Carpin – she gives dogs who have been “blacklisted” by other groomers a chance.

“A lot of groomers don’t have the patience or experience (it takes) working with difficult dogs,” she said.

These dogs who tend to have issues are often just misunderstood, Carpin says, and take longer to trust the groomer and decrease the dog’s anxiety.

It’s also best to start bringing a dog as a puppy, Carpin says, getting them used to routinely visiting the groomer at a young age. Soon enough, the dog and the groomer become friends.

Grooming also means knowing a dog’s boundaries and reinforcing good behavior, Carpin said. She recalls not being able to touch some dogs with a comb, and now they are excited and happy to visit the shop.

Carpin’s two full-time employees, Taylor Ehrensberger and Alexis Lowe, are training to be groomers — one currently bathes and blow dries the dogs, and one blow dries and brushes, she said.

“When you’re grooming, you have to have an eye for art,” she said, adding it takes skill to work with the skeletal structure of the dog and sculpting the different types of coats.

SPP also offers cat grooming, which many groomers do not, she added.

The shop was closed for nine weeks due to COVID-19, Carpin said. SPP is offering curbside services, too, which includes pet owners being able to pull up to the back door, as long as the dog isn’t a “runner” or fear-aggressive.

Carpin says she loves having her business downtown, buying products from other businesses and supporting one another. Her goals include expanding the shop’s retail section.

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