SYCAMORE – When dog owners bring their best friends into the Modern Mutt Spa in Sycamore, co-owner and groomer Carshon Hampton aims for comfort.
She talks to the dogs as she cuts their hair, trims their nails, and bathes them in one of the spa’s tubs. And unless they bite her, she always tells them they are a good boy or girl.
“I try to make everything just as positive as possible,” Hampton said. “Unless it’s biting you, you never do anything to the dog. You always praise it and tell it it’s a good dog, because they need that. I am a stranger to them ... so I try to make it as positive as possible.”
Hampton said she has served more than 200 clients since her spa opened its doors Nov. 6. At this point, the grooming side of the spa is a one-woman show. The spa’s other owner, Alina Brighman, helps Hampton with the financial side of the spa.
Hampton initially started out as a plumber, but the ailing economy forced her to find another line of work. She then worked for local dog-grooming companies for a few months before deciding to open her store Nov. 6.
“How happy the dogs were – when they came in to see me or when they left,” Hampton said when asked what drew her to dog grooming. “They weren’t stressed out. I try to make the experience for the dogs as comfortable as possible.”
Hampton offers three levels of grooming – a bath, a bath, brush and trim, and a full groom – each of which are priced according to the dog’s weight. She also offers individual grooming services, such as different kinds hair trimming and cleanings at various prices.
Because she’s the only groomer, Hampton said her services are usually by appointment only. Hampton said she would like to groom up to five dogs a day, which would probably require her to hire another employee. But they’ll have to match her level of compassion.
“I want to hire somebody who cares for the dogs like I do,” Hampton said. “Not just to groom them and send them away, because that’s not what I do.”
Hampton will take on dogs of all breeds and sizes except one: chow chows. Because of their territorial nature, Hampton said she has been bitten four times by them.
“They’re very meticulous about who they’re with,” Hampton said.