Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Keeping up with our Fur-Friends: Life of as a dog groomer

(WCMU/ Gena Harris)
A groomer at Deb's Pet Boutique is giving a furry friend a bath

Local dog groomer talks about her life making pets pretty.

From trimming their fur to nail clippings and maintaining the overall cleanliness of our four-legged friends. Dog groomers have a unique job that’s not usually talked about.

Pet groomers said each and every day is rewarding, as they help care for the animals people love.

Pet groomers provide grooming duties necessary to improve pets’ hygiene and keep them fluffy and cute.

They bathe, dry, and clean their teeth and ears.

Deb Lipnicki is the owner of Deb’s Pet Boutique in Big Rapids.

Lipnicki said after 30 years of grooming, she still doesn’t get tired of all of the cute faces.

“Working with the animals I get to see lots of different breeds of dogs and different cats. Just being able to love on them and play with them and then they go home for the day. Then we get a whole new group the next day,” Lipnicki said.

She said there’s not a dog she’ll turn away... from Doberman pinscher, to Pomeranians and Pitbulls, Lipnicki takes them all in.

Although animals offer endless kisses and love, Lipnicki said there are some downsides to her job.

“Cleaning the bathtubs out, you know, making sure everything is clean and ready for the next day. All of our equipment is put away and making sure all of our shampoos are stacked,” Lipnicki said. “So you know you're kind of tired at the end of the day. So it's like OHHH we gotta clean. But we do it.”

On the other side of the fence, she said her favorite memory of grooming is having an award-winning client.

“I groomed a Cocker Spaniel one time and the young man was showing the dog at our Mecosta county fair and he took first place and the guy got a nice picture from me with his trophy,” Lipnicki said.

While some businesses saw a decline in sales during the pandemic due to stay-at-home orders and store closures. Dog groomers welcomed an increasing number of furry friends.

Lipnicki said she closed her shop at the beginning of the pandemic, but she reopened last June. The state deemed her work essential.

She said she had to make some adjustments to her shop. One way she changed it was by adding holding pens to allow distance between customers and staff.

“We wouldn’t have to have contact with anybody. They can come in there are doors on both sides so that they can come in and put the dog in a holding pen. I get it from the other side, groom it, put it back in the pen, and then people can just pay and leave it on the counter and they can get the dog out from the other side,” Lipnicki said.

Even though pandemic guidelines have loosened up, Lipnicki said she still wants her workplace to be as safe as possible.

This story was produced as part of the Michigan News Group Internship. A collaboration between WCMU and eight local newspapers. You can read a print version of the story in the Big Rapids Pioneer.

Gena is a rising junior at Central Michigan University, double majoring in broadcast and cinematic arts and political science.