Although it’s her first day of business, Kirsten Gilpin has been one busy person.
Gilpin, of Lake Winola, owns and operates Houndhouse Grooming at 197 E. Tioga St. in Tunkhannock. Houndhouse Grooming officially opened its doors on Friday, and there were already a number of enthusiastic customers at the door, wanting to have their dogs’ nails trimmed.
Gilpin, who graduated from Tunkhannock Area High School in 2013, has spent the last six months building up a customer base for her business by operating out of her parents’ basement at their home in Lake Winola.
She believes it is time to strike out on her down and establish her pet grooming business in the area.
“I do pet service grooming,” Gilpin explained. “Bath, dry, ears, nails and clipping.”
Gilpin explained that after graduation, she gave a lot of thought about what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
“As I thought about it, my heart kept on coming back to grooming.”
Gilpin completed a four-month program at the Rochester Institute of Dog Grooming in Rochester, N.Y.
“They certified me in show and pet cuts, shop management, and pet first aid,” she explained.
One of the things she enjoys most, Gilpin said, is seeing a dog come in dirty and walk out clean with a nice haircut.
“It’s a fun transformation,” she explained.
“I really do love working dogs,” Gilpin continued. “My favorite ones are the rescues. Dogs that are brought in that have never been groomed before.”
Most of these dogs are ones people find in shelters, Gilpin explained. although a few are strays picked up from the streets.
“They think you’re going to harm them, and then they realize how wonderful it is to feel clean.”
Grooming involves first giving the dogs a bath, then drying them off. Once dried, Gilpin will brush their coats and if necessary trim back their coats.
“I start grooming their bodies first, then their legs, and do their heads last,” she explained.
For trimming, Gilpin will use clippers or scissors. Gilpin said she uses a hand tool known as a ‘coat king’ for wired haired dogs.
Many of her customers have short-haired dogs, Gilpin continued, but she does brisk business with them - as well as long-haired canines - thanks to her nail trimming service.
Folks bring in their dogs with long nails which could potentially damage furniture and floors.
Gilpin carefully and efficiently trims both front and back paws, bringing peace of mind to the dogs’ owners, and making the dogs more attractive as well.
But it isn’t always easy. Most dogs sit quietly for the nail trim, but one - a large black Labrador named Anubis - definitely does not want to cooperate.
Gilpin is slow and patient during the procedure, but each time she cuts a nail, Anubis jumps and tries to leap off the table. A harness prevents this, but its evident Anubis wishes he were somewhere else at the moment.
Although the procedure causes the dog no pain, Anubis gets to the point where he becomes agitated just by Gilpin raising his paw to cut the next nail.
Gilpin is very gentle and patient throughout the procedure, and finally gets the job done, despite Aubis’ agitation.
“You have to take it slow and steady,” Gilpin explained about what she does when she gets a dog like Anubis. “They think you’re going to hurt them. And they don’t understand what’s happening. You just have to take your time. Sometimes, with dogs, it takes a couple of times before they realize it feels good to get their nails done.”
Gilpin said she also does grooming for show dogs.
“These are pure bred dogs that are all grouped into classes,” she explained. “Either by what they’re bred for, or by the breed itself.”
Most show dogs have very long hair, and Gilpin provides fancy haircuts to show them off properly.
She said she’s done show cuts for terriers and cocker spaniels, but doesn’t know if any of her clients have won any competitions.
Gilpin said she’s passed out flyers and advertised her new business on Facebook.
“I’m very surprised and excited for this turn out so far,” she said.
She’s open for business Tuesday through Saturday from 8 to 5 p.m. Customers wishing to make an appointment may call 570-900-5025.