Prettying pets in Coupeville

For Heather Luttge, pet grooming is a family affair. She is a third-generation pet groomer and she has been plying her trade for the past 15 years out of a van that traveled up and down Whidbey Island.

That changed recently when she opened up her own shop on North Main Street in Coupeville. The shop, known as Heather’s Pet Grooming, is located next to Peak Performance Chiropractic and it gives Luttge a chance to expand her business.

“I wanted a change because I was limited,” Luttge said while she was giving a dog, Ruby, a flea bath. She could only groom small animals when she worked out of a van. She now has facilities to accept larger dogs and can take more throughout the day.

She said she still plans to take dogs one at a time. That would satisfy a general complaint she has heard in her years as a pet groomer — owners don’t like leaving their dog at a pet groomer’s for most of the day.

“They don’t have to stay as long,” Luttge said.

With Ruby, she clipped her nails, gave her a flea bath and dried her using blowers. In all, she spent a little more than an hour bathing her and clipping her nails. She was ready in time for her next dog appointment.

The new storefront expands her business by offering a permanent location. She still intends to use her van to travel to pet owners’ homes.

She plans to work out of her van four days a week and at her store three days a week. Her 30-year-old van comes complete with a tub and a hot-water and cold-water tanks. She just hooks up power at a pet owner’s home and bathes the dogs in her van.

Her new Coupeville office has a bathing room, an area to cut dogs’ fur and a waiting area where Luttge’s canary, Virgil Bernard, greets customers. Hydraulic lifts are found in each of the rooms to help her with larger dogs.

She chose to move into Coupeville because the 1,800-person town didn’t have an established pet groomer.

“Coupeville didn’t have a grooming shop so I thought it would be a good idea to start a dog-grooming shop in Coupeville,” Luttge said.

She has been grooming pets for 37 years. She started when she was 10 years old by bathing her family’s Yorkshire terrier. She then started grooming Grandma’s dog and her career grew from there.

Luttge said her specialty is grooming poodles. She recently spent four hours grooming a standard poodle.

With being open three days a week, she is the only person working at the shop. As people find out about the new service, she hopes more people will come. That will allow her to hire some additional help.

Heather’s Pet Grooming is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. She said she will work with people’s schedules if they can’t bring their pets in on those days. For information or to make an appointment call 678-6888.

Heather’s Pet Grooming is the second, animal-related business to open in the strip mall.

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