Posted 6/16/15 (Tue)
By John D. Taylor
When Jenn Cobb moved from Bakersfield, Calif., to Crosby in February, she didn’t have to search too hard to figure out what she would do to earn her keep – she’d follow her heart and do what she’s been doing most of her life, grooming and caring for dogs.
“My parents had a grooming salon – Moondoggie’s – in Bakersfield,” Cobb said. “And when I was 15, my after-school job was bathing, cleaning and sometimes shaving dogs.”
As Cobb shared this information under the watchful eye of Millie, her 9-year-old mixed breed Chihuahua who is her boon companion and office guardian, Millie’s tail wagged and she reached out for more pets.
Cobb recently opened Crosby’s second dog grooming business, Millie’s Place – yes it’s named for Millie – located in Jim Holmes’s building at 119 1st Street NW, catty-cornered from the Moose Lodge.
With Gladys Harstad scaling back her grooming business, about ready to retire, Cobb may have stepped into grooming at the right time.
After Cobb’s parents sold Moondoggie’s, she began working for a veterinarian with a grooming and boarding facility as the kennel attendant, where her primary job was caring for animals that were being boarded or had been treated by the vet.
She recalls fondly a litter of puppies, delivered from their mother via Cesarean section, and how she, under the vet’s orders, broke the amniotic sac surrounding each puppy, used a syringe bulb to suck fluids from their lungs, then rubbed the puppies with a towel to get them breathing and bring life to the tiny forms. She also woke up pets who’d been under anesthesia.
Veterinary practice turned out not to be for Cobb, however.
“There’s a happy side to veterinarian medicine,” she said, referring to delivering puppies, “but there’s also a sad side to it.”
Desiring to spend more time on the happy side of dog owning, when her step-mother opened a new grooming facility called Starpups, Cobb was happy to join her.
She has also worked at Petsmart as a groomer in both California and Arizona, where she received her “official” groomer training.
“It’s what I love to do,” Cobb said. “I wouldn’t be happy working in a truck stop. I’ve always loved animals. Although I get along with people fine, I like being around animals more than I like being around people. There’s also a need for it.”
Gladys Harstad, Crosby’s other groomer and Cobb have become friends, and Harstad is happy that someone is available to take care of Crosby’s dogs as she shifts out of the grooming business.
Cobb, like Harstad, said her focus is not an in-and-out grooming shop, but a place where both dogs and their people can feel comfortable.
“Grooming is unpredictable, and I don’t want to get so slammed with business that I can’t do this right,” Cobb said. “I’m taking my time and developing things slowly. I don’t want to get overwhelmed. I take customers by appointment only.”
Cobb’s big emphasis is safety – especially in light of recent incidents elsewhere, in which dogs being dried in cages after bathing have died due to excessive heat from the large blow dryer units used.
Cobb wants to take the time to make grooming a good experience for the dog and the owner.
It’s hard for a dog to go to a new groomer and get used to new clippers, blow driers, getting their nails trimmed and other things, she said.
She will, on occasion, use a cage drier; but always without heat, using room temperature air, and set to automatically shut off after half an hour.
She also emphasizes cleanliness and building a relationship with the dogs she cares for.
“They’ll get as much love here as they do at home,” she said.