Pet spa caters to canine quirks
May 24, 2006
Like most Park City spas, the reception area is adorned with art hung over black leather couches where customers can sit and listen to the calming classical music played throughout the building.
The spa also houses a private bathing area, a lounge full of luxurious beds and chairs, and a sociable room for hair treatment and styling, skin masks, and pedicures. In terms of spas, it’s pretty traditional.
Only this spa isn’t for people, it’s for dogs.
"I spent a lot more on the facilities than most would," owner Stephanie Haacke said. "Most people just think a dog grooming place is going to be filthy, but that is one of the things my clients always tell me they like the most. They like that it’s clean and a nice environment."
The Classy Canine started in Roy, but closed in 1998 when Haacke decided to teach grooming at Petsmart. The new location, which opened in March near the Jeremy Ranch exit off I-80, is her chance to join the two worlds together.
"We have all the regular grooming services it’s basically a grooming facility only we will also be adding a grooming academy," she said.
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The grooming academy, which Haacke plans to open in the next few months, will be one of the only licensed academies in Utah and will train aspiring groomers on techniques that help to calm the pets while making the experience a quick and safe one.
"The whole reason I did this is, the biggest thing for me at least, is that the dogs are so frightened of the process," Haacke said. "They’re just so stressed out. I once saw a dog have a heart attack while being groomed because she was so scared."
That’s one of the reasons Haacke won’t rush through a procedure.
"We make everyone who brings a dog stay with their pet for 15 to 20 minutes so they can play with their dogs and spend time with them in the lounge so they’re comfortable and so they get used to their surroundings," she said. "That way they’re not as scared and they feel more comfortable when they come back.
"Some dogs hate baths so bad that they just won’t calm down, but with the right care, any pet can at least learn to tolerate the experience."
She also said it is important for the animals to learn to like the process because if they hate it then owners won’t have the grooming done. That, she said, can have disastrous results.
Haacke believes that once pet owners see the difference the atmosphere makes they will be forever converted to her style. But she is not the only one who thinks this way.
"It’s so peaceful here," stylist and future instructor Margie Talcott said. "She has the gentle music playing and the environment is very quiet and stress free. When the dogs come in, they feel the same thing you feel when you come in. It’s peaceful. Dogs are very sensitive. Anyone who says that dogs aren’t sensitive, intelligent animals is dead wrong."
Haacke said that one of the reasons she moved to Park City is that pet owners here love their pets like children and people are willing to spend money on their children.
"I spent a lot of time studying where I wanted to open up," Haacke said. "Statistically, there are more dogs per household than children per household so this is a great place to do it. The people here love their dogs like their kids and want to treat them well."
The Classy Canine has had almost immediate success. Haacke said she she’s almost 50 dogs per week. And she sure is enjoying herself.
"If this business folded tomorrow, I would be able to say that this was the funnest two months of my career."
The Classy Canine is at 3156 Quarry Rd in Park City and can be reached at 649-9889. Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Prices range from $5 for an ear cleaning or nail polish to over $100 for spa packages.
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