Learning new tricks: 27-year pet groomer opens salon in Waverly | State and Regional

Written by adsenceatef

SAM CRISLER Waverly News

WAVERLY – In Melanie Howard’s pet salon, a grooming table stands about three feet from the floor. Under a bright length of fluorescent lights, an Australian shepherd-red heeler mix meanders across the tile without a clear destination, until Howard makes her command: “Remmi, up!”

Remmi hops onto the table and makes no fuss when Howard lifts a paw and takes a pair of clippers to the curled nails. He’s been through this before.

“If the animal doesn’t trust you, you’re going to have a hell of a time,” Howard says.

She’s been in the business for 27 years, working at several private businesses and veterinary clinics around Lincoln. In that span of time, she’s learned that the key to a good groom is patience – patience for the dog to settle down, and patience over time in building trust between her and the animal.

People are also reading…

“They’ll test you,” Howard said. “You have to have a bond with the ones you’re grooming.”

She opened her shop, Melanie Howard Grooming, in downtown Waverly on Aug. 1. Many of the clients are carryover customers from her time operating at Salon K9 in Lincoln.

“That tells me I’ve done something right in 27 years,” she said. “I’ve built a pretty good clientele.”

Howard has lived in Waverly since 2004, and until now, she’s never worked exclusively in Waverly. She decided to open her own salon so she wouldn’t have to leave town and be far from her granddaughter. They live together, right down the street, she says.

“Apparently, I like to stay within that three-block radius.”

She had a few reservations about opening a shop, especially after so long in the business. Would she want to keep doing it after a few years?

“But I can’t imagine not doing it,” she said.

Howard has been a dog person as long as she can remember, ever since her family picked up a three-legged terrier from a Missouri lake when she was a child. The dog, with its hair sticking out in all directions, was begging people for food around the lake, and she said it was close to getting euthanized. She convinced her dad to let her take the dog home, so they loaded up in the back of the family truck and rode back to Nebraska.

“She was an awesome dog. She was so cool, even with three-and-a-half legs,” she said.

And even though Howard is technically allergic, she loves and has owned several cats.

Howard offers grooming for dogs and cats, and she’ll stock boutique shampoos and conditioners that can’t be found in stores, along with leashes, collars and other pet accessories.

“Dogs, cats, big, small. We kind of cover it all,” Howard said.

It’s often the small dogs that give her the biggest fits – they like to twist, roll and squirm. But once they get over their defiance, Howard can get closer to the perfect groom – one where her clippers don’t jam, the dog sits still and she can be precise with the haircut.

The perfect groom is always a goal, but even more important to her is making her clients and their pets comfortable with her as their groomer. Especially as the other pet groomers in town fill up on clients. Waverly continues to grow, and so does its dog and cat population.

“I want to be here for the community to help them with their pets,” Howard said.

She says that’s what will set her salon apart – her commitment to the people who count on her to take good care of their pets.

“It’s not just a job,” she said. “My clients are my family. I can build pretty good relationships with people that way. I think they trust me with their animals.”

Lincoln builder eyes Waverly for new development with 500 homes, commercial lots


Source link

About the author


Leave a Comment