Sarah Heibel, owner of Wag with Swag mobile pet grooming, gives Honey, an 8 year old Yorkshire terrier owned by Erin Deering from Grand Island, a bath. (Photo by Nathan Keefe)
Tue, February 9, 2021 3:30 PM
The hair, the nails, the knot … the long ones and the short ones
By Karen Keefe
Erie County Editor
It’s winter, it’s cold and we are still in the midst of a pandemic. But the dog needs a bath, and no one in the family wants to fight with a dog, foam, and the tub.
There is a solution, and you won’t even need to get wet!
This is Wag’s mobile grooming with Swag.
Sarah Heibel has a brand new business, up and running since November, but she’s not a newcomer to the pet grooming business.
“I’ve been in the industry and have been grooming with a corporate groomer for 10 years,” she explains. “In this business I started out as a groomer, worked up to a manager, and then I was actually an academy trainer, so I trained probably around 150 students by Syracuse during the three years that I have held this position. “
Sole owner of the business, she lives in Tonawanda but receives quite a few clients from Grand Island. Her decorated van is her calling card – it’s hard to miss and attracts attention when she arrives in a neighborhood. “Every time I park somewhere I get a few calls from Grand Island. “
In mid-January, Heibel came to the Falconwood neighborhood to give a bit of swag – and neatness – to a mix of Sharpei and a Yorkie.
One of them belongs to this writer. He’s a sharpei named Leonard.
The 8-year-old Gold and Silver Yorkie named Honey is owned by Erin Deering of Grand Island, who found Wag with Swag through Google, then through a recommendation from another mobile groomer. “I was looking for a place that would be open right now during the pandemic. My dog really needed a good bath and a haircut, ”said Deering.
Both the dog and the owner were a little nervous at first, but once Heibel started Honey wasn’t scared at all, and neither was her owner.
“I was a little worried at first because it’s a new experience for me, but when I saw the results I would come back to her whenever I needed to get my dog to do it,” Deering said. . “She actually took the time to figure out what I wanted for my particular dog,” she said. “She was really cute when she was done.”
“They behaved very well,” Heibel said. “You know, honestly, most dogs behave really well when they’re in the van. It’s a different environment for them. Heibel said. “It’s just me and them, one-on-one, and we can kind of hang out and get to know each other more than I did in my past career” as a chain groomer . “So that’s good for me. I get a lot of kisses, a lot of love, a lot of… hair!
Heibel has had a lot of additional business since the pandemic. “It is partly for this reason that I chose the mobile because I can do it without contact. I can come to your house and you don’t have to leave your house, ”she said.
At the start of the pandemic, with more and more people in quarantine, Heibel was still working at a big box pet groomer. There has been “a huge drop in the number of people bringing their pets because they were scared and nervous to do so,” she said. Now people are looking for mobile pet groomers because of the pandemic, she added.
“The biggest challenge for me is being alone, I would say. I’m used to this group of people and this group of other groomers so there are a lot of podcasts and songs being listened to now.
Gorman Enterprises in Elma fitted the interior of the pickup truck. “They normally do ambulances, fire trucks and food trucks,” Heibel said. She bought the van from Orleans Ford in Medina.
Streamline Design of North Tonawanda made Heibel’s logo, branding and decorated his van.
“When I saw the van, I cried. I got on all fours and cried because it was perfect.
Nathan Keefe with his Sharpei pet, Leonard, is pleased with the results of dog grooming by Sarah Heibel, owner of Wag and Swag mobile pet grooming. Leonardo does not seem happy.
To contact Heibel at Wag with Swag, text 716-908-0089 or message the company on Facebook.
Other animal groomers in the area, including one mobile, include:
• Dana’s Stylin ‘Pets, 1732 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island, 716-773-5958
• Ride and Groom (mobile dog grooming service), 716-517-5700
• JG Clippendales, 7408 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls, 716-236-7205