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Otis was recently groomed at Four Paws Pet Grooming in Rostraver.

Editor’s note: This is a weekly series focusing on the importance of buying local.

A well-groomed dog is a happy dog.

Donna Wiliuszis, owner and operator of Four Paws Pet Grooming in Rostraver, said freshly groomed dogs – and cats – have a good feeling about themselves. She said she sees a number of dogs prance out of her shop when “mom or dad” pick them up from their day of beautification.

“Honestly, I have a lot of dogs who when they’re done being groomed have that attitude ‘look at me now,’ said Wiliuszis, who has been in the pet grooming business more than 35 years. “I love seeing them prance out of here feeling good about themselves.”

Wiliuszis started cleaning kennels when she was 16-years-old and started grooming pets when she was 18.

“A lot has changed with pet grooming that makes it easier,” she said. “I still groom the same way, but the equipment is better, and some people ask to use color on their dogs now. We also have new things to wash their faces with to make them feel better and be better.”

Wiliuszis mostly grooms dogs, but she does have some cats as customers. They are a little different to groom than the dogs.

“In a lot of cases, cat owners don’t have or can’t find a groomer to get it done,” Wiliuszis said. “Grooming cats can be a little more difficult because they are unpredictable. Cats can become matted if they don’t do any self-grooming.”

Wiliuszis’ love of animals is why she got into the business and maintains her enthusiasm and excitement on a daily basis working with the pets.

“I was sitting in class during eighth grade at Transfiguration and they ask what we wanted to be, and I said ‘veterinarian,’” she said. “I decided I didn’t want to sit through all the classes or have to do what vets have to do sometimes. So, I turned my attention to grooming.”

It was a good choice.

Wiliuszis’ talks to her dogs while she is grooming them. It helps keep them calm and feel at ease.

“If you baby talk them and make them feel at ease it makes for a great experience,” she said. “I think a lot of it is how you talk to them and make them feel.

“With my shop being in my house, I think in a lot of cases, it’s less stressful for them.”

Sonya Patterson has owned and operated Patterson’s Groom N Zoom Inc., a mobile grooming service, for the past 21 years. The business is based in Prosperity.

Patterson has four mobile units that features two groomers and state-of-the-art equipment. The newest of the trucks was rolled out recently. Its appearance had been on hold since February because of the global pandemic.

She said that while the time varies for each pet, a grooming in her vans, on average takes about an hour.

Patterson said her business grooms dogs, cats and while they don’t do many exotic animals, her groomers will paint toenails of lizards and some other types of animals.

“I lived on a farm the past 57 years,” Patterson said. “(Grooming animals) is something I saw and something I liked.”

She started the business in 1999 and her first mobile truck was on the road in 2000.

“Everything we have on board is state-of-the-art,” Patterson said. “We try to help those who can’t get out to take their pets for grooming.”

Patterson said her business was shut down for nine weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She’s glad the focus is back on grooming animals.

“We don’t cage any animals,” Patterson said. “It’s a straight through process. bathing to drying.”

Patterson teaches all of her groomers.

“I do all of the training,” she said. “I teach all aspects of grooming.”

Those interested in joining the Be Local Network can contact Chris Slota at 724-225-1326 or by email at chris@belocal.net. Discount cards are available at the Observer-Reporter and Almanac office, 122 S. Main St., Washington.

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