From mud baths to unique haircuts, KC dog groomer finds niche pampering pups

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- From show dogs to toy dogs, one business in the Volker neighborhood is capitalizing on pampering pets.

The day FOX4 stopped by Simply Grooming by Gia, co-owner Jennifer Orton was prepping her 5-year-old poodle Albus for Valentine's day, carving hearts out of his coat.

But Albus isn't the only pet that frequents the shop.

"We do from itty bitty chihuahuas to mastiffs," Orton said.

And no matter the size, they all can be a bit high maintenance.

Jennifer Orton and Albus

"We do mud baths, spa treatments, paw soaks," she said. "We do a lots of brush outs and maintenance to keep the dogs however their owners want them."

Orton said a lot of pet owners that come to her use their dog's coat to express their own creativity.

"Maybe they work in accounting, but they want their dog to be purple," she said.

Snapshots of her most recent creations show some of that originality. There's Baylee sporting a colored comb-over; Javier posing in a freestyle trim; Watson representing the "fusion-inspired" look; and Benji rocking a mohawk.

"It's fun, but it's serious though," Orton said.

Serious because they're handling razor sharp tools with moving targets.

Benji rocking a mohawk

"We always try to take into account what's going on in the dog`s life as well and that they are sentient beings with their own things they'd like to do," she said.

Orton said they also are conscious of any ethical concerns people might have about their treatments.

"We're not using human products on dogs," she said. "We're using products that are actually designed for dogs to work with their pH and skin and coat, so it's not toxic for them."

She said it's all about tailoring the dog's experience.

"As soon as they've had their puppy shots, we say get them in here," Orton said. "Bring them in to meet us, so we can do low stress kind of things like a bath and a brush out before we try to do big haircuts."

Treats -- a lot of treats -- help build that trust, too.

Albus' Valentine's Day look

Orton said dog grooming isn't tricky.

"It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be," she said.

And it doesn't hurt to have a dog like Albus who loves the attention to hone her skills.

The dogs at Simply Grooming by Gia, on average, are pampered about once a month. Those visits can last any from 30 minutes up to 4 hours and can cost upward of $200.

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