Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Business

Dog groomer takes business to the countryside and adds boarding service

BROOKSVILLE — What dog wouldn't enjoy a stay in the country, in a shaded, leafy bower where hardly more than the song of a bird intrudes? Such is the new home for Posh Pups Pet Resort and Spa, formerly a dog-grooming enterprise in Spring Hill, relocated and expanded to add canine boarding to its offerings.

"I had a lot of requests for boarding," said owner Andrea Geiger, 28 years a groomer and with experience in veterinary clinics as well. The native Long Islander, now 46, took on her first canine job at age 12 as a ringside handler for a Corgi breeder and has been involved with canine pursuits ever since.

For the getaway resort, Geiger looked for "a quieter atmosphere, a family-oriented site, a kind of homey feel." She found it on 10 acres southwest of Brooksville, close to orange grove country and only 10 miles from the heart of Spring Hill.

More than 80 percent of her grooming clients have followed. New clients have arrived, too, at the 1,500-square-foot cottage that has been refurbished and fitted with a standard kennel of nine units and a seven-unit special-needs kennel "for little dogs who need extra quiet. Those big, deep-barking dogs, they terrify the little guys," she explained.

Providing a serene environment throughout, a radio constantly plays "soft, soothing music, easy listening," she said. "Eventually, we'll add TVs."

The climate-controlled resort gleams with newness: cages, floors, countertops, sinks, fixtures, walls and cupboards.

To limit stress on the temporary occupants, Geiger asks owners to bring their dog's own food.

"Changing their environment is enough," she said.

Of course, when a recent boarder had to stay beyond its intended return-home date, Geiger restocked his larder with the dog's regular brand of food.

To replicate a dog's regular outdoor exercise, Geiger or kennel manager Dixie Forbes accompanies every canine's romp four times daily in a spacious, fenced sun-and-shade outdoor play area. Group outings are managed for compatibility among the individuals. The human duo encourage cardio play with rope pull toys, balls and a Frisbee.

In the resort's spa department, grooming is carried out meticulously. "My philosophy is quality, not quantity," Geiger said.

Forbes handles the shampooing: two soapings, up to a fourth, if necessary. Every dog gets a blueberry facial, no extra charge, because Geiger likes the results, especially to remove eye runs.

On the grooming table, Geiger works from toenails up.

"Even dogs with a lot of exercise need their nails trimmed," she said. "Long nails can get caught, pulled out. Too long, they can damage toe structure."

Untrimmed hair around toe pads carries footprints indoors and can retain moisture, fostering fungal growth.

Pedicure finished, Katie, an all-white poof of Bichon-Shih Tzu, posed ladylike for her monthly trim and styling, which entails the use of five different-sized clippers and two pairs of scissors, the latter for just-so feathering of topknot and muzzle hair.

In the I'm-finished-and-relaxing area, a blacker-than-licorice Shih Tzu mix, Precious, came to attention at the whoosh of a nearby door opening. Debbie Johnston of Weeki Wachee had arrived for the dog she's fostered for nearly a year, a small bundle of silk attuned to sound because she's blind.

Johnston, a first-time client, wept. "That's the best she's ever looked," she said.

As the duo exited, Forbes patted her chest. "That just makes my heart. . . ."

Geiger nodded.

Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]

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