For many people, life is better with a dog in it. And the numbers back it up: According to a 2021-22 national survey of pet owners conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 70% of US households, estimated at 90 million families, own a pet.
These pets aren’t just part of the household, they’re part of the family. And in some cases, they are an indulgent member of the family, subject to special care and special care.
As you’d expect when dealing with fur-covered family members, grooming is key.
Whitney Caetano, co-owner of Dog Gone Crazy Pet Salon, said customers book grooming appointments a year in advance.
“My books are literally done for the year. They’re done in January.
“I have a client, a teacher who has a doodle named Bentley. She said it was harder to get in here than her doctor’s office.”
Speaking of doodles – a cross between a poodle and a labrador retriever (labradoodle) or a golden retriever (goldendoodle) – this is Bakersfield’s hottest breed, at least if show turnout is any indication. .
“I call us the doodling salon,” Caetano said. “I did a TikTok about this when everyone had a doodle on their table. The breed takes a lot of grooming.”
Caetano said some clients come monthly, depending on the breed, with the most frequent visitor being an English Sheepdog who is groomed every two weeks.
Gabby Vasquez said she brings her 8-year-old poodle, Gemma, to the salon about every five weeks, except during the holiday season, when she books every four weeks.
“I’ve brought her since she was a puppy,” Vasquez said. “I love going to their place. Alicia (Salon co-owner Cole) goes out of her way. She does her nails, matches her (hair) bows.”
This can include red, white and blue for the 4th of July, orange on Halloween and pink, Vasquez’s favorite, at other times.
The pink treatment even extended to fur grooming when Gemma received a pink heart, made with a temporary dye, on her rear end for Valentine’s Day.
And Vasquez said Gemma’s demeanor changed when she was complimented after her visits to the salon.
“She knows it. She walks around like she owns the place, prances around like a little princess.”
Caetano said those good feelings after the show aren’t just for repeat customers. Dog Gone Crazy is one of the local salons that offers grooming sessions for adoptable dogs from area shelters.
Dogs get the star treatment with a little TLC so they can look their best when promoted on local TV stations and social media.
“They’re clean, they smell good,” Caetano said. “The (hair) rugs are gone. With a cute little scarf they are an eye-catcher. It helps in every way.
“It makes the heart happy.”
The groomer, who has been in the industry for 19 years, said she would rather not do anything.
“I love animals, I love dogs. I love taking care of them, making them beautiful.”
And while she enjoys interacting with customers, she also believes in the saying she has on the living room wall: “The more I get to know certain people, the more I like dogs.”
Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter: @realstefanidias.