ONE OF Leisha Motwani’s ‘clients’, a young Labrador named Mojo, takes up position at the door of his home every time a visit to her grooming salon is announced. Motwani, the owner of Petgascar Pet Spa in the city, calls it one of the best feedback she receives for her job. “I always wanted a pet dog but could not get one since my parents are petrified of them. My love for animals and for a creative job led me to train as a groomer for pets,” the 27-year old says.
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Now, Motwani’s usual day includes haircuts, spas, showers and nail art for pets, at her two centres in Andheri and Powai. “Manicures for dogs are challenging,” she says. “They do not like being touched on their paws and if the nails are black, it is difficult to ensure you’re clipping a nail and not the skin beneath it.” But nail art, including bright polka dots, for dogs are a regular demand from pet parents. “We clip the nails carefully, file them and paint them with a special nail polish meant for dogs,” Motwani says.
A haircut is the most common service at grooming salons, which depends on the quality and length of the coat and the breed of the dog. The service includes hair drying, brushing and combing, before the pet is ready to go home. “Some people prefer regular hair cuts since the city has a lot of dust. Some have specific requirements, such as no hair over the pet’s ears as it enters the food bowl while eating, while others ask for a particular style,” Motwani says. Hair colour, while available, is yet to catch up in the city, she says.
A challenge for pet groomers is to deal with the aggression of the pets. “Most pets are aggressive the first time, as they are scared. If pets are brought in for grooming from a young age, they are much more accustomed to the whole process,” she says. Petgascar also offers a two-member team that travels to the clients’ place for the service.
Kruti, owner of Petsville, a boarding and grooming place for pets in Andheri, says patience is the most important skill for a pet groomer. “As cats hate water, it requires a lot of gentleness and patience to give them a shower. Among dogs, aggressive ones are the most challenging,” she says.
“We have had clients come in with pets who were refused service at other places due to their aggression. Pets who are uncomfortable are snappy, they bite. We muzzle their mouths in some cases, but do not prefer it. It is better when pets are excited to come to the salon and not scared,” Kriti adds.
As someone who has been working in the profession for over six years, Motwani wishes pet parents were more careful with their pets’ needs. “I wish there were counsellors for people who wish to have pets. One could explain to them the needs of the pets before they decide on having one, as it is a lot of responsibility,” she says.
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