BY KAYLEE DUFF
Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to share the love with everyone and everything around us — from significant others and family to friends and pets.
It really is no secret that most people adore animals, especially domesticated ones like cats and dogs. And it makes sense — we spend lots of time with our pets, feeding them, taking care of them, comforting them (and letting them comfort us). People even go so far as to dress them up and throw them extravagant birthday parties.
Sara Treneff, owner and pet stylist at All About The Dogs Pet Wash, gets it. Located in Columbus’ German Village, All About The Dogs is a grooming business that is dedicated to serving dogs the same way other businesses serve humans.
Sara chatted with True Q’s editor about the shop, what it’s like to work with dogs and how we can show our pups some major love this Valentine’s Day:
Kaylee: People really love their pets, and definitely treat their dogs like family members. Being a dog grooming business, do you get to witness that a lot?
Sara: We witness that every day! Many of our clients do not have children, so their pets are considered their children. They take them to daycare, to get their hair cut regularly, to annual checkups at the doctor, to playdates and even sometimes to work with them! Or if you’re me, you find yourself saying constantly, “you can steal my kids, just don’t take the dogs.” (Just kidding!)
What are some of your favorite memories with clients and their dogs?
Oh my gosh, there’s so many! I have 15 years worth of clients, so many go from dating to married to having children, through love and loss. I have been so blessed to share with them the good and bad moments in my own life and theirs, all just from being their “dog groomer.” I have had clients that have asked me to be with their dog as they were sent over the rainbow, because they just couldn’t “do it,” but wanted the dog to be with a familiar face. Those are the hard but soulful moments that fill my heart.
What advice would you give someone who wants to really treat their pup good for Valentine’s Day?
Doggie Date Night! I love having date nights with my dogs! Sometimes, it’s just a walk down the Scioto Mile or an event with other dogs. Our dogs want nothing more than time with their human. To them, every day is a good day when their human walks through that door. Valentine’s Day represents love, so what better way to treat your dog than to show some extra love?! Every dog has their own “love language,” so my best recommendation is finding what that is for your dog, and giving it to them!
How did the business get started? What’s the history there?
I am actually the third owner of All About The Dogs. I have had the pleasure of living my daydream here for the past eight years. The business was started as a do-it-yourself pet wash. The original owner then saw the demand for grooming service as well. I am the first Owner/Pet Stylist. Previous owners had no grooming experience. When I took over eight years ago, I was just a dog groomer. My original intent was to be able work for myself, groom dogs and afford to see my son through college. I had no idea where the journey would go.
Over the past eight years, it has evolved into so much more. I was 28 years-old, with six years of grooming experience, an extensive list of loyal clientele from both Grove City and Grandview. No college education. I was a teen mom at 15 and graduating high school was as far as I could go in the education department. I could go on for pages about the struggles that got me and this shop where it is now, but to sum it up, I was lost and the only time I felt found was with my dog. She didn’t judge me; she loved me every day no matter what. I knew I wanted to be in a profession where I could experience that love every day. They call me the crazy village dog lady for a reason. I have a hard time connecting with humans, but dogs? Dogs I get, and they get me.
I offer people more than grooming services. I give them a hug when I think they need it. I go out of my way to build relationships with the dogs and their families, because they are important to me. I call this a “family-run business” not because we are blood related, but because we are circumstance related. The groomers, the clients and the Village are all part of our family, and without that mix, we don’t have a purpose of being here.
What different services do you offer?
We offer full and self service options. We have tubs and supplies for people to wash their own dogs and a great staff of humans to do the dirty work for you. We are very popular for our easy walk-in nail trims and anal gland expressions. We have “TLC” options for special needs pups that include after-hours appointments to allow me to work with the dog, giving them my undivided attention in a calm setting. We have groomers that will dogsit for clients as well. Of course, our outgoing personalities and dance moves are always on display and free!
So here’s the thing: I absolutely love dogs. What is it like getting to work with dogs all day?
Working with the dogs is great! While most people think we play with dogs all day, in the grooming industry, that is unfortunately not the case. While we do have fun and get to enjoy the dogs, we also have a lot of pressure on us.
We work with surgically sharp shears and blades on a moving target. Not a day goes by where we don’t clean up poop and pee. Imagine spending four hours perfecting a groom only to get a whiff of poo… and seeing that the dog you just devoted perfection to has pooped and stepped in it, and the mom on her lunch break is on her way to pick the pup up! We listen to barking all day. We are being trusted with someone’s child, who cannot express to us their emotions and needs. We have to play the guessing game to be able to keep the dogs happy and safe at the same time. It is a lot of pressure on us, but also incredibly rewarding.
Your website says that you all love to express individuality while also prioritizing the dogs. How do you do that, and how can owners bring that attitude home with them?
I am very picky when it comes to hiring groomers. We have a very high standard that goes way beyond basic grooming credentials. And instead of uniforms, we all wear what we want. (This usually involves Homage, dogs or a local band/business). It allows each groomer to express who they are and what they like.
Look good, feel good, do good. I live by that motto in human and dog life. Your dog groomer may be a previous felon or former drug addict. They may have a terrible driving record and awful credit. Your dog groomer may have piercings, tattoos and dreaded hair. Ask yourself though: Do any of these things hinder this person from loving my dog as their own for a few hours? Will this person give my dog the voice it needs when I am asking for the unreasonable? Will this person be able to give my dog a bath and a haircut? The answer is AB-SO-F*ING-LUTELY! We will always take all necessary actions (including sometimes saying NO to a client) to do what we feel is in the dogs’ best interests. As a teen mom, I spent so many years being judged, and that is the last thing I ever want any dog or human to feel in this shop.
Our exteriors and pasts do not determine who we are. WE determine who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. For most of us, that aspiration is to be better today than yesterday. Sometimes we hit our mark, sometimes we fall short. Either way, our dogs love us and that is the unconditional love we strive to give back every day!
Find All About The Dogs Pet Wash online at allaboutthedogspetwash.com, and check them out on Facebook and Instagram. Visit their shop in the German Village at 207 Thurman Avenue. Call 614.444.WASH to make your appointment today!
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