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Newhall pet groomer celebrates 25 years

Posted: September 27, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 27, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Dogs Etc. owner Bonny Butler, seated left, will celebrate her shop's 25th anniversary with her staff of master groomers from left, KellyJo Vercoe, Brittany McAhren, standing, Denna Cooper, seated right, Amber Dyer, and Luis Sanchez, standing right.

 

By Jana Adkins

Signal Business Editor



When Bonny Butler started her dog and cat grooming business 25 years ago, she felt there was a need for dog and cat grooming services locally. There was only one other shop in town, she said.

Starting out in her garage, Butler met her business partner when her own dog needed some obedience training. The two joined forces and opened up Dogs Etc. in Newhall in 1987.

“We borrowed the money from our fathers at the time,” she said. “The banks didn’t want to loan us any money.”

After three years, Butler bought her partner out of the business. Preparing to celebrate the grooming center’s 25th anniversary on Oct. 17, Dogs Etc. now has five dog and cat groomers.

“In this day and age, it’s very hard to keep a service business open if you don’t have good service, Butler said. “I’m proud of how I’ve managed to keep the business open this long.”

The past five years have been more difficult, she said as business slowed, but pampering pet owners — while they may skip a month of grooming — still come back. Clients love their dogs, Butler said. Their children aren’t spoiled, but the dogs are.

One of the secrets to her success, she believes, is using common sense and understanding the breed when handling dogs. Half of the clientele involve rescue dogs, she said.

“Dogs are generally very trusting if they understand the handling,” Butler said. “When handling a dog that has some issues the most important thing is that they feel secure and don’t feel threatened.”

For those pets that are leery of water, they might not have been introduced to thoughtful bathing when young, she said. If someone put their dog outside and hosed it down with cold water, then the dog might not like water — but no one would like that, she said. For water-frightened pets, Dogs Etc. moves slowly at first and massages the dog with warm water.

“Once nothing bad happens; and it feels good to have hands on them and being spoken to in a nice manner; a lot of dogs will turn around and say this is not a bad thing,” Butler said.

Among Dogs Etc.’s grooming specialties is treating frightened animals that have been sprayed by the nauseating aroma of a skunk. The shop uses its own specially mixed solution — that doesn’t involve tomato juice — to clean the dogs up as much as possible. That stench, however, greets other clients as they walk in to Dogs Etc.

“Other clients come in and ask what smells in here,” Butler said. “And then they ask, ‘Who got skunked?’”

As for remaining in business for 25 years, Butler said she believes a lot of it has to do with respecting clients and understanding what they want. She also credits her team of “great” groomers, saying she couldn’t run the business without them.

“I love what I do,” Butler said. “There’s been a lot of dirty dogs over 25 years but they leave (the shop) like a dog that could be in a commercial. The rewards are tremendous.”

More information on Dogs Etc. can be found by going online at www.dogs-etc.com or by calling 661-254-1601.

jadkins@the-signal.com

661-287-5599

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