Pampered pets, happy pets
By Denise Baran-UnlaNd For The Herald-News July 2, 2012 12:42PM
Charlie is a poodle mix/rescue dog at Pampered Pups grooming spa in Joliet. | submitted photo
Updated: August 4, 2012 6:15AM
JOLIET — Michelle Krolack, co-owner of Pampered Pups, knows when dogs are happy with a grooming session.
“When they see their owners, they run around the shop as if to say, ‘Look at me. I feel so good,’” Krolack said.
What began as a mobile grooming business five years ago has broadened into a full-scale spa and holistic food service with a permanent location. The mobile grooming van is still operating, too.
Services for dogs and cats include shampoos and conditioners with blow drying, regular haircuts, skin treatments, nail trims and ear cleaning.
Nevertheless, the store’s commitment to pets is more than skin deep.
Pampered Pups supports local shelters and rescues through donations and by contributing to their fundraising efforts. It also offers discounts to the companion animals of police officers and firefighters.
Greeting customers as they walk through the door is Charlie, a black poodle mix with a shiny coat, big ears and friendly demeanor. Krolack and business partner Rachel Malmfeldt had first met Charlie, their rescue miracle, through a grooming house call.
Both women had been appalled at the sight of the dog, which Krolack dubbed “one huge fluff ball of skin and bones.”
Charlie’s fur was so matted over a severely infected eye that Krolack doubted the dog had two eyes. Malmfeldt eventually adopted him.
“Charlie’s muscles had deteriorated so badly from malnutrition; he was a walking skeleton,” Krolack said. “He’d take a couple of steps and fall over. He had lost his survival instincts and had forgotten what hunger felt like, so Rachel had to hand feed him. It’s only recently he’s started eating on his own.”
Charlie can now walk from the shop to the car and climb a few stairs.
“I’m not sure what keeps him going. It must be faith,” Krolack said. “He worships Rachel.”
Krolack first became interested in pet grooming after she had graduated from college with degrees in English and linguistics. While searching for a job in her field, she began working for a friend who owned a dog grooming business.
“I loved working with the animals,” Krolack said. “I made me feel good about helping them. It seemed like the right path for me to take.”
Krolack then embarked on a 500-hour apprenticeship.
Malmfeldt, who has a degree in wildlife biology and previous experience with pet grooming, was working part time for the Will County Forest Preserve District when Krolack approached her about becoming a business partner with Pampered Pups.
“I have such a passion for nature and animals,” Malmfeldt said, “that I just went with it.”
For more information, visit www.apamperedpup.com.