By Heleigh Bostwick
When Brittany Collins, Jill Lumbra and Kaaren Dagostino met in dog grooming school, they hit it off so well that they decided to open a business together.
“We all love animals, and we work well together as a team,” said Lumbra. “What one person doesn’t know, the other one does.”
Located in the Agway building on Essex Road, Happy Dog Grooming Shoppe caters to dog (and cat) owners from all over the state.
When it came time to choose a location, the three professionally certified dog groomers decided that Williston seemed ideal.
“I’ve been here a long time, know a lot of people and enjoy the community,” said Lumbra, who’s worked as a hairdresser in Williston for the past 26 years.
“As a hairdresser, I use a lot of the same skills, but I had to change my way of thinking when I was trimming dog fur,” she said, explaining that blade lengths on clippers used for animal trimming are the opposite of what’s used for cutting human hair.
Lumbra spends three days a week at Happy Dog Grooming Shoppe and is the only one of the three that also grooms cats. Dagostino, a respiratory therapist, spends her days off there. Collins is the only full-time groomer. Each operates a separate business while sharing space within the Agway building.
“We love being at the shop,” said Lumbra. “It’s very comfortable for people and animals, and we don’t mind if people stop by and check the place out.”
The brand new facility is designed with the animals’ comfort in mind, complete with spacious dog runs that are 6 feet high and 10 feet long, comfy dog beds and cozy kennels.
“We provide a safe area where dogs that love other dogs and people can play and socialize instead of being put in kennels or crates,” Lumbra said. “It helps the dogs relax, especially the ones that haven’t been here before.”
Aggressive animals are groomed when no other dogs are around, she added.
Services offered at Happy Dog include all forms of animal grooming, from fur trimming and nail clipping to a bath and blow dry and teeth and ear cleaning.
This winter, Happy Dog will be hosting a series of workshops and seminars with other professionals on how to take care of your dog, and is hoping to hold an animal CPR class this winter as well.
“As part of our efforts to educate our clients, we’ll be holding seminars that talk about things like why you need to trim your dog’s nails every two weeks or explaining why your dog’s or cat’s fur will become matted if it’s not brushed,” Lumbra said.
Although the shop takes walk-ins, it’s best to call ahead.
“Each (grooming) activity is specific to each dog and we don’t always know how long it will take with a new animal,” Lumbra said. “Eventually, we get to know our customers and how long it takes to groom their pets.”
Happy Dog Grooming Shoppe is located at 364 Essex Road. For more information, call 777-3371.