On the nook of South Cherry and West Adams, husky howls and barking might be heard within the air, although normally just for a couple of minutes. On that nook in downtown Muncie, sits Amy’s Pet Spa.
Proprietor Amy Shears has been busy since she opened in November 2022, and her enterprise is just rising. Kelley Stewart, Shears’ neighbor and proprietor of Sit-Keep-Play Pet Grooming, not too long ago broke her wrist, leaving Shears to assist Stewart’s shoppers within the midst of a pet grooming scarcity.
All through the time after the pandemic, in response to Groomer to Groomer, the pet inhabitants elevated by 24 to 30 p.c in the USA. Although there are many pet groomers, about 310,000 in response to IBISWorld, there aren’t sufficient to maintain up with the brand new demand.
From working at a parrot rescue in Ohio to fostering a whole bunch of canine, Shears is aware of pets. In Muncie, she has volunteered at Animal Rescue Fund, Muncie Animal Care and Providers, Motion for Animals and Grateful Rescue.
Although Shears primarily works with canine, she additionally gives grooming to cats, unique birds and different small animals.
And for those who’re questioning, sure, Shears has heard the joke earlier than. “Amy Shears’ Pets” was a no go.
Pet grooming is in Shears’ blood. Her mom was a pet groomer when Shears was a baby, so she was round animals from a younger age. At 13, the Westfield native bought a job on the Hamilton County Animal Shelter, and when she was in 4-H, Shears confirmed canine and guinea pigs.
“Working with animals comes naturally,” she stated. “I used to be all the time that bizarre child that was sitting over with the cat that does not like anyone, but it surely was in my lap.”
Shears moved to Wisconsin and have become an apprentice for a pet groomer named Jenn Nelson in 2010. Then, when she lived in Ohio, she would go to kill shelters and take dwelling canine who had been alleged to be euthanized that week. Working with all these pets and trainers helped Shears turn into extra assured with animals.
Sophie Richau, buddy of Shears and buyer at Amy’s Pet Spa, stated Shears is a miracle employee on the subject of Richau’s husky, Koda.
“He doesn’t freak out along with her, and I’ve by no means seen anybody have the ability to do this,” she stated.
Although Koda has separation nervousness, Shears was in a position to calm him. Richau stated Koda is all the time excited to see Shears, and after visiting Amy’s Pet Spa, he was the fluffiest and greatest smelling he’d ever been.
Shears prides herself on with the ability to handle animals who aren’t all the time the simplest to work with.
“The very best ones are when individuals come right here as a final resort … they usually suppose nobody will take them,” she stated. “With the ability to do this for the canine and put the individuals comfy as a result of they’re simply attempting to handle their pets, and generally, it’s just a bit tougher than they might hope due to points they’ve had earlier than or simply nervousness basically.”
Shears stated it helps that she makes use of what she calls “mild grooming.” As a substitute of getting a bunch of pets in her spa all of sudden, she solely schedules one animal at a time, until they’re household or dwell in the identical family. This fashion, the pets don’t have to fret about being distracted or made anxious by different animals.
“We simply take our time and determine what they like, what they will tolerate,” Shears stated. “In the event that they get too wired, particularly the little ones, then they will have coronary heart assaults or strokes, so you need to be tremendous cautious.”
Light grooming permits Shears to present the pets breaks when they’re anxious, leaving the animals calmer and happier.
Shears stated loud noises just like the dryer might be scary for animals. She tries to behave calm and upbeat, so the pets can decide up on her emotions.
Animals aren’t the one ones to be involved with through the grooming course of.
When Shears finishes off an appointment and blow dries the pet’s hair, she places on a masks or a head web mesh, just like what a beekeeper wears. Shears stated she has to put on the masks to maintain from getting animal hair in her mouth.
“It will get in your eyes and in your mouth,” she stated. “I’ve had a hair caught in my ear earlier than, and it’s itchy for like eternally.”
As a consequence of the entire hair within the air, pet groomers can develop groomer’s lung. In accordance with Groomers On-line, that is when pet hair travels into the lungs and inflames the lung lining, scarring airways and inflicting a continual lung situation.
Nonetheless, sporting a masks is a small value to pay for doing one thing Shears loves.
“I find it irresistible as a result of I get to assist the canine,” she stated. “It’s type of zen simply engaged on a canine in right here.”
In 2009, Shears began doing pet pictures, and she or he opened Fur in Focus Portraits. She plans to mix this with Amy’s Pet Spa within the spring.
At the moment, Shears’ packages at Amy’s Pet Spa are a shower, a shower and trim, a full groom, nails and shed much less remedies. Every bundle differs in value primarily based on the sort and dimension of the animal. The packages vary from $15 to $85.
In accordance with Thumbtack, the typical pet groomer prices between $60-$90 a session.
As part of the bathtub bundle, Shears will brush, bathe, trim nails, test ears and glands and blow dry the animal. With full grooms, she performs all of these duties and cuts the pet’s hair as effectively.
Marie Jones, returning buyer at Amy’s Pet Spa, stated she has taken her and her mom’s canine to Shears a couple of occasions, and stated she might inform how a lot Shears liked animals from the primary time she met her. Jones’ mom’s canine, Zoey, could be a bit tempered, but Shears is ready to calm her down sufficient to place her to sleep.
“Amy is a canine whisperer,” Jones stated.
Jones’ canine was taken from her by an ex-husband, so after having to undergo 9 months of attorneys and the police to get her again, she is cautious of who she takes her canine to.
“I knew there was no else I’d wish to belief to handle my child,” she stated.
Shear stated she doesn’t need house owners to be ashamed to carry their pets if the animals have difficulties or if the proprietor’s haven’t brushed them out shortly. Shears stated poodles, for instance, get matted simply, so generally house owners are embarrassed to herald their canine.
Shears desires to assist and do what’s greatest for the pet. She additionally doesn’t thoughts letting an proprietor keep if they’re fearful about their furry buddy.
“It means so much to me as a result of that is their child, to depart them with a stranger might be nerve racking,” Shears stated. “That’s actually rewarding.”
Shears and Stewart are wanting ahead to having occasions the place individuals from the neighborhood can carry their pets and study suggestions to assist them. Shears stated they wish to have a film occasion the place company can carry their canine, an Easter egg hunt and a “Howl-a-ween” occasion.
Amy’s Pet Spa and Sit-Keep-Play Pet Grooming will host a twin grand opening to rejoice their companies March 4.
Contact Lila Fierek with feedback at [email protected].