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Mobile pet-grooming van goes to fetch its clients

  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center blow-dries Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center blow-dries Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center brings Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, to be groomed, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center brings Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, to be groomed, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center has started a new avenue with dog grooming in a custom-fit van that makes house calls, shown Thursday.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center has started a new avenue with dog grooming in a custom-fit van that makes house calls, shown Thursday.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center washes Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center washes Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center washes Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center washes Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center blow-dries Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center blow-dries Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center blow-dries Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center brings Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, to be groomed, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center has started a new avenue with dog grooming in a custom-fit van that makes house calls, shown Thursday.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center washes Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center washes Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Owner Beth Ostrowski-Parks of It's Pawsible dog training center blow-dries Quinn, a Miniature Schnauzer, Thursday, inside the new custom-fit van.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

The “show” is a bit of a foray away from the main mission of It’s Pawsible, which is to train dogs and, equally important, the people who accompany them.

But with a new, custom-retrofitted, $85,000 Mercedes Sprinter state-of-the-art dog grooming van, It’s Pawsible staff now travel right to customers’ homes to offer dog grooming services. The van has a generator and a plug, so it can be charged when parked at its home base.

It’s Pawsible’s grooming van joins a booming dog grooming business in the Pioneer Valley, one of nearly two dozen enterprises that offer dog-grooming services. (See related list.)

“Most of our business so far has been here,” Ostrowski-Parks said, referring to the training center and day camp at 60 Main Road in Westhampton.

“But we did have one customer whose dogs get carsick when she takes them to the groomer, one dog would throw up on the other on the drive home,” she said.

With the business now mobile, such problems can be avoided.

On a recent grooming appointment in the van, a little dog named Rory wagged her tail while employee Billy Fondakowski finished blow-drying her fur. He was using a device designed to dry not just the fur, but also the skin.

Fondakowski, who has been working for Ostrowski-Parks for almost two years and is now in line to attend grooming school, worked with Rory, who was standing on a raised table and held in place from above by two harnesses, one around her hips and the other her chest.

Behind her, toward the back of the van, was the large stainless steel wash stall, which reaches to the floor, but also has an optional raised standing platform for smaller dogs. Next to the tub, a caddy much like what you might find at any day spa holds shampoo, conditioner and a blueberry facial.

“We use it to wash their faces, it removes any sort of stains they might have,” Ostrowski-Parks said. “It’s non-toxic, and some dogs seem to really like the taste of it.”

Next to where Rory was getting blow-dried was a small table with all manner of shears, scissors and nail clippers displayed. The table has drawers with locking buttons, which secures its contents inside while the van is in motion. The van also features an internal vacuum system so staff can get the inside completely clean after each pet has been trimmed and groomed.

Ostrowski-Parks is clearly pleased with the new van. Among its features, she says are the water tanks in the back of the van that allow each bath to use water efficiently — about seven gallons of water per bath.

“Seven gallons is nothing,” said Ostrowski-Parks. The efficiency is made possible by a spray nozzle that infuses the cleaning solution into the water. This nozzle also gets water to the skin underneath the fur, a notoriously hard-to-reach spot.

Ostrowski-Parks said when owners bathe their dogs at home, they tend to use a lot more water.

Her new van has one tank for clean water, which holds up to 60 gallons, and a second one for “grey” water, which holds 45 gallons. After baths, Ostrowski-Parks empties the grey water on her own property, never the customer’s.

“The water isn’t even that dirty,” she said. Ostrowski-Parks said the grey water has only a small amount of soap in it. “It’s good enough to water my plants,” she said.

Related

Area dog-grooming enterprises

Friday, April 12, 2013

Area dog grooming businesses include the following: Amherst Dog Wash 321 Main St., Amherst, 253-9274 Family Veterinary Center, 99 Main St., Haydenville, 268-8387 Little Rascals Grooming at the Amherst Dog Wash, 321 Main St., Amherst, 219-0636 Whirl Wind Farm Kennel, 435 Market Hill Road, Amherst, 549-3780 Shady Glen Boarding Kennel, 37 Amherst Road, Belchertown, 843-503-2926 Tail Waggers Boutique, 123 Hawley …

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