Man’s best friend is fast picking up some human habits! Party frock to bow-tie, the modern dog is all about being well-heeled and groomed to perfection. And stirring that cause for canines is Paws and Best Friend Pet Salon at 29/1A Ballygunge Circular Road.
“A dog salon is not merely about style, it’s also a way of ensuring that your dog stays healthy. Dogs need special care and specialised instruments. A shower at home can often leave dogs with rashes if not dried properly, and the hair dryer at home can burn their skin,” says proprietor Jayeeta Ganguly as she lets Joey, a six-month-old Beagle, bound about the whole salon before whisking him away for a bath.
“We have to ensure that the dogs feel comfortable in their surroundings, especially those coming in for the first time. So we allow them to do their own little bit of investigation. But it does become a bit problematic when the owners are around, as the pets don’t sit still during the grooming process, which involves sharp clippers or scissors,” she adds.
It was a trip to pet salons in Delhi that inspired Jayeeta to bring one to Calcutta. “Then in Bangalore, I came across Yashodhara Hemchandra of Fuzzy Wuzzy pet salon, who is a pro. I asked her to let me try my hand at the job and learn from her. In the process, I realised I’d love to get trained in pet grooming,” she says.
Jayeeta went a step further and signed up for a professional course in the Best Friends Doggy & Kitty Salon Cum Learning Centre, Singapore. She opened her first salon in Bangalore, before shifting to Calcutta. It’s just been a year since she took over Paws, a pet salon that existed at the same location, and turned it around into a barking success! But hers seems to be the only success story in town.
“There are two things that stand in the way of pet salons catching on in Calcutta. The first is the mistaken belief that pet salons are very expensive. The second is the idea that the neighbourhood odd-jobs boy can groom a dog by giving it a bath,” says Jayeeta.
The package prices at Paws and Best Friend Pet Salon put to rest the first fear — the most popular being the full grooming and basic grooming packages, costing Rs 900 and Rs 750, respectively. “The products are mostly imported from the US (like PetEdge shampoos) and instruments from Singapore, as the Indian market is still not developed,” says Jayeeta.
As for the neighbourhood boy — you will rarely come across one that can spot the rashes underneath your dog’s fur! But a word of caution there: groomers are not vets, so do see a doctor when needed.
Regulars at Paws drop in every alternate week and, no, you don’t need an appointment.