With 25 years experience raising and showing dogs, Lauri Travis decided to start her own business, Hi Desert By Design Pet Grooming
By Lauren Brown
Pet stylist Lauri Travis cleans the ears of a basset hound named Omar while grooming him on Dec. 1. (Photo by LAUREN BROWN)
When Louisiana-Pacific shut down in Hines, Burns resident Lauri Travis’ LP’s environmental manager found herself without a job.
She didn’t want to move, so she decided to take one of her passions and turn it into a job. Over the last 25 years, Travis has bred, raised and shown Great Danes and boxers. She loves dogs, and chose to study to become a pet stylist. “I’ve been grooming dogs for a long time, but just my own,” she said.
She trained for seven months at the Pet Grooming Academy in Albany, where she progressed through three levels of training: bathing, roughing (combing out) and finishing. She opened Hi Desert By Design Pet Grooming about two and a half months ago in a building behind her house that has been outfitted with a grooming station, large stainless steel sink, propane water heater and kennels.
Because of her lifelong experience raising dogs, Travis knew she had a leg up on learning how to be a groomer. “I was ahead of the game as far as handling dogs and dog behavior,” she said. While she was well versed in working with large breed dogs, she gained quite a bit of experience working with smaller dogs at the academy in Albany. Over the course of her seven-month training stint, she groomed hundreds of dogs and worked with the “most ornery of the ornery,” she said.
Travis acknowledged that the groomers already working in Harney County are great, however most are booked for weeks out and some aren’t taking new clients. That’s why she felt there was a need for another pet groomer in town. Also, she said some groomers don’t want to handle the bigger breeds. “I like the big dogs,” she said.
At Hi Desert By Design, Travis offers a bath and brush (which includes a nail trim and ear cleaning), the basic grooming package or a full groom. A full groom includes, among other things, a nail trim, feet trim, brush out, bath, trim, comb through, under arm shave, bandanna and doggie cologne.
- As part of the bath and brush package, Omar got his nails trimmed and his ears cleaned in addition to a bath and brush. (Photo by LAUREN BROWN)
Prices range from $20 to $60 depending the nature of the cut and the size of the dog. Hand scissoring, de-matting and heavy undercoat removal are extra. Travis also performs nail trims only for $10.
Travis uses detergent-free, biodegradable shampoos and pampers dogs with a blueberry facial scrub that is easy on the eyes. “It’s a great product,” she said. “I could get it in my eyes and it wouldn’t hurt. Everything is humane and safe.”
People are often surprised how long it takes to groom a dog, Travis noted. A standard bath and brush can take two hours while, for example, grooming a standard poodle with a specific breed cut, can take anywhere from four to eight hours. Most regular clients get their dogs groomed every six to eight weeks, though clients who have dogs with longer coats may get them groomed more often.
Working ranch dogs may only get groomed once or twice per year, but Travis said that border collies and Australian shepherds do have coats that mat easily, so it is beneficial to have them groomed periodically.
Because of her 25 years of dog breeding experience, Travis said she can also talk about dog nutrition with clients. She sells a line of high quality dog food called “Dog Lovers Gold” as well as fish oil supplements.
Travis said that while the current economy has taken its toll on many businesses, the pet industry doesn’t get hit as hard because many folks are still willing to make sure their beloved pets are cared for. She said dogs are great companions and it’s been proven that they help lower their owners’ blood pressure. “Dogs are like kids to a lot of people, and they need to be able to trust you (as a groomer),” Travis said. “They need to feel that their dog is pampered, cared for and safe.”
She said that each dog is different. “You have to adjust for each one. We had an older dog in here, and we really took our time. He needed to take breaks and lay down at certain points,” she said. “Most of my clients’ dogs love to come here.”
Travis’ grooming business is located in Burns. To schedule an appointment, call her at 541-961-1028. For more information, check out her website at www.hidesertbydesign.com.