Prescott shop grooms pets 'with love'
PRESCOTT - Dog lover and former janitor Al Gutierrez III has "groomed" himself for a new career, and he could not be more pleased.
"This is one of the best jobs I have ever had," Gutierrez said. "I am happy to come to work. I just love working with the dogs. It is just a great job."
Gutierrez, a Prescott native whose family arrived in the area in 1885, broke into the field in 2005 when he went to work as a bather at a local shop. He previously worked for seven years as a janitor at the Arizona Pioneers Home here.
He opened Al's Lucky Dog Grooming this past November at 544 Sixth St., Suite H.
While Gutierrez loves his work, employee Kristi Lowe, a groomer who started at age 14 about 26 years ago, said the work is not for everybody.
"It takes a person with a lot of patience," Lowe said. "You have to have empathy for the dog that did not call for an appointment. You also have to be physically fit."
Lowe continued, "I learned to groom with love."
Lowe, Gutierrez and bather Garrett Cook work in a 1,700-square-foot building with a concrete floor and vaulted ceiling. Their work area is free of pet odors. Customers may wait in a lobby.
They provide a variety of services for dogs and cats, with dogs accounting for a majority of their services. They use a medicated shampoo for dogs with skin conditions.
"We also brush all the dogs' teeth for free and dremel (trim) their nails," Gutierrez said.
Grooming sessions for large dogs take two to three hours, Lowe said. She recommends grooming dogs every six weeks, or once a month if they shed.
Al's Lucky Dog Grooming also maintains a kennel in back with 30 cages where dogs dry off after a washing, and to await the return of their owners.
Both Gutierrez and Lowe bring their dogs to work. Gutierrez said he loves working with his customers and their pets.
"You build a real strong bond," he said.
Lowe interjected, "We are the friendliest groomers in Prescott. We (also) sing and dance."
Gutierrez said, "It is a nice atmosphere in here."
He said his big plans are to keep on doing good work. He added he is considering an expansion by opening a boarding facility, likely at another location.
Gutierrez recommends appointments for grooming.
Lowe said, "We take emergencies. It's best to make an appointment."
Al's Lucky Dog Grooming maintains business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information and to make an appointment, call 445-5360.
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