The weather is heating up and so is business at Fallbrook’s Paradise Pet Spa.
“This is the busiest time of year,” said Mindy Deremo, who co-founded the shop in 2005. “Everybody wants their dog shaved for the summer.”
For some dogs, the “summer shave” marks their first visit to Fallbrook’s Paradise Pet Spa in several months.
“A lot of our summer shaves are Australian Shepherds,” said Deremo. “They come out of the woodwork. They don’t keep them groomed all year and (then) they shave them down for summer.”
The “once-a-year-dogs,” as the staff likes to call them, can bring many surprises in their thick coats.
“They scare us that first time they come in because you never know what you’re getting,” said Deremo. “Dead lizards, dead bugs, worms. They get lost in the hair. So we clean it all out. There’s a reason our profession was on ‘Dirty Jobs’ (a television show on the Discovery Channel). It is a dirty job.”
It’s a dirty job that Deremo, an animal lover, has been doing for 15 years and continues to enjoy. She started at a local grooming shop right out of high school before opening her own business.
“It’s very rewarding work, watching the parents light up when they pick them up,” said Deremo. “They’re clean and they look good.”
Deremo co-owns Fallbrook’s Paradise Pet Spa with fellow grooming veteran Krystal White and they employ highly-experienced groomers Daria Kedroff and Jennifer Quintero.
“We don’t have turnover,” said Deremo of the staff. “And I trust everybody with the dogs and cats we groom. You have to treat them like they’re your own (pets), and that’s what we do. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. They’re like little toddlers – you can’t leave them alone for a second because you never know what they’re going to get into.”
Deremo said cats are much more difficult to groom than dogs. Kedroff is the cat specialist on the team.
“She’s the brave one,” said Deremo of Kedroff, who recently had to concede defeat to one of her feline clients. “She was trying to groom it and it started flipping out and she couldn’t let it go. She ended up putting it in the front room and closing the door. The owners had to come get it.”
Occasionally, a dog will be deemed too unruly to groom. “It has happened,” said Deremo. “We’ve had to fire a couple of them.”
Injuries come with the grooming profession.
“Bites, scratches, neck problems, back problems, arthritis,” said Deremo in listing the hazards of the trade.
In addition to physical tests, sometimes Deremo is presented with creative challenges, which she enjoys.
“I have a dog coming in next month and he’s turning 17,” said Deremo. “He’s an Australian Shepherd and his name is Frisbee. We dyed a big blue 16 on his side last year, so this year I have to figure out where the 17 is going and what I am going to do to make it stand out – one-up it somehow.”
Frisbee, as a special longtime client, gets a private session at the spa.
“His owner will bring him in at the end of the day when everybody is gone and I’ll trim him,” said Deremo. “He gets stressed so she sits with him while I do it.”
It’s that kind of customer service that has kept Fallbrook’s Paradise Pet Spa in business for more than 11 years in the same location at 218 W. Fig (across the street from Fallbrook Library). It’s also why if you want to schedule an appointment for grooming (baths, haircuts, nail clippings), Deremo suggests you call “a few days to a week ahead” of your preferred date for services.
Fallbrook’s Paradise Pet Spa offers new clients an introductory offer of 20 percent off your pet’s first grooming. For more information or to make an appointment, call (760) 723-2273.