N.A. Dawgs Pet Grooming owner and groomer Barbara Todd will not reveal the type of shampoo and cologne she uses on dogs.
“I’m not going to tell my secret because all of my customers love my shampoo and my cologne,” said Todd as she stood inside her 706 W. Bankhead St. business in New Albany.
In fact, Todd has used the same shampoo and cologne on dogs her entire 17 years in business.
“I’ve never changed,” she said, adding that she calls it her “secret sauce.”
Her business is very clean and has the feel of a salon with signs on the wall that say, “Do Not Forget Your Collar” and “A House Is Not a Home Without Dogs.”
“It’s a salon for dogs,” Todd said. “That’s exactly what it is. They come here, and they get pampered and they go home.
“I am very particular about cleanliness. That is very important in a dog grooming business or a veterinarian business. I take pride in a very clean facility for sure.”
There is a human salon next to her business. Sometimes dog owners will drop their dogs off for grooming and then go to the human salon. That way the dog and the owner both have a spa day.
N.A. Dawgs Pet Grooming provides services such as bathing, haircuts, toenail trims, brush outs and de-shedding.
“I kind of stick to the smaller dogs, anything under about 50 pounds,” said Todd. “I used to do the bigger dogs 17 years ago.”
Some of the dogs she grooms include Shih tzus, schnauzers, poodles, cocker spaniels and pomeranians.
“There’s a big variety of small dogs that I do, even short-haired dogs,” Todd said.
The business has a lot of repeat customers, said Todd, noting, “That’s why I’ve been here for so long.”
Some people bring in their “babies” once a week. Other dogs may come in every six weeks, every three months or once a year.
“New Albany and Union County have been fantastic to me,” she said. “They have blessed me with a wonderful business.”
Grooming makes the dogs feel good, especially if they have not had a bath in a year, she said. Grooming is particularly important for indoor dogs when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness, she added. She thinks many people who keep their dogs inside like to bring them in for a “spa day.”
Todd grooms indoor and outdoor dogs, and most of them enjoy the grooming. They like the attention and getting rubbed on, Todd said. She has only had to turn a few dogs away for being aggressive.
“I’ve had great success in the dog grooming business,” she said.
She also has customers from the surrounding area including Ripley, Pontotoc, Blue Mountain, Holly Springs and Hickory Flat.
Todd, who grew up in New Albany and graduated from W.P. Daniel High School, said the business has grown over the years. She loves animals and said, “I grew up my whole life with dogs. I’ve always had a dog . . .”
She even remembers her first dog, a pug named Coobie. Currently she and her husband Gable have two dogs—Dixie, who is an 11-year-old Boston terrier, and Dolly, who is a 6-month-old Boston terrier.
“We’ve got a little bit of excitement from time to time,” said Todd, adding that her dogs live inside.
Being a good dog groomer requires patience, a lot of love for the animal and owner and kindness, she said.
“There’s not a lot of good dog groomers out there,” said Todd. “Dog grooming is a trade. It’s a skill. It is a dying trade.”
Todd tries to get the dogs groomed in about two to four hours. The owners simply drop the dogs off and pick them up once the grooming is complete.
“My customers love to have a good clean dog. When they snuggle up with them at night they smell really good,” she said. “I love when mine are good and clean.”
In the summer, Todd may groom 15 to 20 dogs in a day and about 7-13 dogs a day in the winter. She said some people bring their dogs in for a trim so they will be cooler in the summer. Her business starts getting very busy around March.
“I think it’s definitely a business that’s grown over the years for sure,” she said.
Todd even talks to the dogs as she grooms them, and they respond by wagging their tails.
“It just makes your heart feel good,” she said. “They’re like my children. I feel like I’m in a classroom sometimes. A lot of them mind very well.”
Dogs need a fresh bath and to be completely dried before they get a haircut, said Todd, who uses scissors and electric clippers. She also smooths down their toenails, and a bath and nail trim for a dog only costs about $15.
“It’s very affordable,” said Todd, who attends Shady Grove Baptist Church and enjoys spending time with her two “adorable grandchildren.”
Todd also offers a three-month course in dog grooming where students learn the basics of grooming. She has been offering the course for at least 10 years and said it is “hands-on, direct training.”
N.A. Dawgs Pet Grooming can be reached at 662-538-0414.