Full-service pet salon welcomes furry friends in all shapes, sizes

Ask a handful of men and women if they'd enjoy a day at the spa and the majority will probably answer yes.

Animals are no different, according to Carol Cespedes, manager of K-9 Klips full-service dog and cat grooming salon. A day at the grooming salon is a relaxing and rewarding way to show appreciation toward a pet, she said.

K-9 Klips put out its "Wipe your paws" mat mid-April. The salon is open by appointment only seven days a week, caters to all sizes and breeds of dogs and cats, and can service up to eight animals per day. As the clientele grows, regular business hours will be announced.

Tony and Liz Maktenieks own K-9 Klips. The couple also owns and operates two grooming salons in Reno, Nev., where they live. The Maktenieks opened K-9 Klips at the request of Cespedes, a former employee.

"We told her if you ever see an opportunity for a grooming salon, give us a call," Tony Maktenieks said. "And she did."

Cespedes, an experienced "pet beautician" of more than 30 years, maintained contact with her employers of eight years ago. After moving to

Sequim last year, she immediately thought of the couple's offer to open a third grooming salon and invited them for a visit to the peninsula, which they eagerly accepted.

"We were impressed with the Olympic Peninsula," Tony Maktenieks said about the trip. "We were a little concerned (from a business point of view) at first because it's so rural, but after spending a week in Sequim and Port Angeles we weren't worried at all. We knew a grooming salon would do well."

Eventually, "when the time is right," the couple hopes to retire to the Olympic Peninsula, Tony Maktenieks said. "My wife is Canadian and the short ferry ride across the water to Victoria would be perfect for us," he explained.

Until then, the Maktenieks are entrusting Cespedes with running the business.

"We were very happy when Carol was working with us in Nevada and we are happy with how she is running the shop," Liz Maktenieks said. "We support and trust her 100 percent."

Cespedes, who specializes in small dogs such as poodles, schnauzers and Yorkshire terriers, shares the workload with dog groomer and experienced veterinary technician Pat Gorr, who specializes in larger dogs such as shelties and chows.

K-9 Klips uses all natural products - with no added chemicals - and hand dries and scissor finishes pet coats.

Hand scissoring is a lost art, according to Cespedes. "It's easier to turn on the clippers and buzz away but this is not a shave-and-send-them-off joint," she said between phone calls from new customers scheduling appointments. "I take pride in what I do. I want people to see a dog walking down the road and say, 'Wow, they look nice.'"

Dogs and cats are washed, clipped and hand dried before being sent home with a bandana or bows and painted nails - no extra cost. Owners are asked to pick up pets within two or three hours so that their animals spend a minimal amount of time in crates.

As the manager, Cespedes said she intends to build a solid foundation of return customers and promote the business by positive word of mouth.

"For a lot of people, all they have is their pet and we know that," Cespedes said, "so we take good care of their babies. We won't put any dog or cat through trauma. If they start thrashing around and are obviously mad or terrified, we stop because we want this to be a pleasant experience."
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