CEDAR RAPIDS — Amanda Thompson’s advice for owners whose dog is getting his or her first haircut? Slow down.
“A lot of the people want to know how long it’s going to take,” said Thompson, owner of Pampered Pets. “We try to make this as easy on the pet as possible.
“If you give us time, we don’t feel like we’re pushing your dog so much. Then we can get to know her little quirks.”
Thompson took over the business in 2015 from sister-in-law Geanette Gilroy, who’d launched it just the year before. Thompson had just spent six years at a Cedar Rapids veterinary clinic after finishing Kirkwood Community College’s grooming program.
“After I had my son, I needed to go somewhere that was a little bit more flexible with the family life, and she decided to get married and moved away,” Thompson said.
“I always liked animals. I wanted to do something that involved animals. I’m not the best when it comes to blood and seeing them suffering, though.”
It takes a bit of looking to find Pampered Pets. Although it’s a Blairs Ferry Road address, the building — it also houses the KMRY Radio studios — fronts Mildred Lane NE. Pampered Pets is around back.
Getting to know the customer’s pet makes for a relaxed dog and a happy customer.
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“It’s good for them to have downtime, just to relax and get used to somewhere new, with people they don’t know,” Thompson said.
A visit starts, but only starts, with hearing the owner’s preference.
“Then we see if that’s possible,” Thompson said. “Sometimes they say, ‘We want to leave this much on,’ and the hair is really matted. This time of year it’s usually to get it shorter, and in the winter it’s, ‘Leave more hair.’”
Thompson has drawn on her vet-clinic experience when she thought it necessary.
“If I see anything unusual, if I see something a bit strange, I can have them talk to their vet,” she said.
Given time to get familiar with a new dog, Thompson finds her approach works.
“A lot of the new people say they left their old place because they were not happy with how they felt their dog was reacting, or they had some horrific haircut experience,” she said.
Thompson said her client base continues to grow.
“I’ve been looking for another couple groomers to come in, but I’m having troubles finding people,” she said.
“It’s always good to have someone who has experience. That’s a qualifier that’s hard to get. It’s not the line of work for everybody.”
Still, the good days outnumber the bad.
“It is very satisfying for us to do total transformations, particularly when the dog was long overdue for a groom,” Thompson said. “Oftentimes, those are the ones that leave with more energy than they came in with. You know that they feel so much better.”
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AT A GLANCE
l Owner: Amanda Thompson
l Business: Pampered Pets
l Address: 1957 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, suite 450, Cedar Rapids
l Phone: (319) 393-3326
l Website: pamperedpetzcr.com