Photo by Peggy Sturdivant .
Jasmine Pulido of Penny Paws with Kippy.

At Large in Ballard: Paw by paw

By Peggy Sturdivant

“I want to give dogs haircuts,” Jasmine Pulido’s four-year old daughter Penny said.

“You don’t want to be a financial analyst like your dad?” Jasmine teased her daughter. The only surprise was that her daughter already wants a job. Both her daughters love dogs, but her older daughter is the namesake of her mother’s business, “Penny Paws In-Home Dog Grooming.”

Not that Jasmine set out to be dog groomer after completing her Bachelor of Science at the University of California, San Diego, in Animal Ecology Behavior and Evolution with a minor in Biology. She planned to work with wild animals. After they’d both graduated Jasmine and her husband moved to Seattle, partly because of her husband’s love of coffee, music and rain. He’s a musician and they both compose.

Once in Seattle Jasmine applied as zookeeper at Woodland Park Zoo. In the meantime, already certified as a dog trainer (CPDT-KA) Jasmine took a job at a dog salon. She discovered that she thoroughly enjoyed hands-on grooming work and it definitely made use of her skills in animal behavior. After a starter apartment in the south end the Pulidos began looking for an apartment in Seattle. They had heard good things about Ballard. They wanted a place where they could have a dog. Jasmine had never had one of her own.

Ballard proved dog-friendly but even more important, kid-friendly, once they had two daughters, now ages two and four. “We’re meant to be here,” Jasmine told me while grooming a Standard Poodle known as Kippy Lena, but registered as Lakeridge Promises to be Outstanding.

After additional certification while working at the Petco on Holman Road, Jasmine was inspired to provide in-home grooming and start her own business. She’d seen dogs dragged into Petco and knew they might be calmer at home. With her own hours Jasmine could set her own schedule, and work one-on-one with dogs in their own environment. No need for owners to do drop-off or pick-up. No need for dogs to be kenneled or overstimulated by the presence of other dogs.

Penny Paws relied on word of mouth. Which worked. Dog owners have a way of communicating, perhaps on a frequency non-dog owners can’t hear. “Everyone told their friends,” Jasmine told me, while snipping at Kippy prancing on the grooming table that she provides. “More people than I thought”

Jasmine makes in-home visits Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday by appointment. Her pricing depends on the size/breed of the dog, temperament, and coat, starting at $40.00. She was speaking an alien language to me as a cat person when it came to breeds and dog hygiene. She offers nail trimming, ear cleaning, tooth brushing, as well as basic shampoos, trims and styles. As to anal glands, Jasmine admitted, “I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t getting paid.”

I browsed her website and have to admit the before and after photos of various dogs were addictive. The canine makeovers were more dramatic than human ones.

Most of her clients are regulars; many of the dogs actually look forward to Jasmine’s visits, greeting her effusively. Some do better with their owners nearby, for some it’s the opposite. After the first visit she can even arrange to groom the dog when the owner isn’t home. Although allergic to cats and mildly allergic to dogs she feels like she has found her calling. “This has worked out better than working with wild animals. This is how I can I help pets in our care. It’s a humanitarian service to regular animals.”

Having her own business allows Jasmine to have a work-life balance for her family. She has almost 50 clients, primarily in a five-mile radius of Ballard. She charges a travel fee outside of that range. (I wish I could do that).

Jasmine Pulido does have one regret. Her first dog was Addie, a Border Collie that a Petco client couldn’t keep. After her daughters were born Addie became ‘too reactive’ and developed a barking problem. “I work with dogs,” Jasmine said. “You would think I would have been able to keep her.”

Jasmine had to confront that their home was no longer the best place for their dog. Friends outside of the city already loved and knew her Border Collie. Addie is with them. “She’s super happy.” Jasmine said. “We visit a lot. I still groom her sometimes.” Jasmine’s family has since acquired another dog in need of a home, a Westie, currently in training at age 13 to become a therapy dog.

In the fall daughter Penny will be entering kindergarten, but I have a feeling there’s a mother-daughter dog-grooming service in the future.

For more information about Penny Paws contact jasminethegroomer.com or www.facebok.com/PennyPawsGroom

Contact Peggy atlargeinballard@peggysturdivant.com

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