THUNDER BAY -- “My whole life is with animals,” says Bobbi Jo Philips, owner of Bobbi Jo’s Pet Grooming. She has been grooming for two decades, starting at Annie’s All-Breed Grooming. After working many years for other businesses, she decided to strike out on her own, opening a pet grooming place on Court Street.
After five years, she moved to Powley Street (off of Cumberland Street) in August 2018, and employs two part-time groomers. In addition to grooming, she does pet boarding, including small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.
Always passionate about animals, Philips has worked with many of the cat and dog rescues in town. Some dogs that come to her shop, matted and dirty, have never been bathed or groomed before in their lives. “You work slowly, you need patience for this kind of work,” she says.
She has fostered cats at the shop as well, at one time taking care of 21. “Rescue is not easy,” says Philips. “My cat Bobby was born in the shop, and out of a litter of nine, he and his brother were the only two that survived.”
Some of the challenges she faces in her job are dogs that have not been handled much, and react badly to being groomed. “Some dogs you have a heck of a time getting groomed. Sometimes I have to charge more, and [customers] complain about it being pricey, but it takes more time,” she explains.
Pet owners can help make everyone’s lives easier by brushing at home and getting their pets used to being handled, she says. “Everything starts at home. As puppies, they have to get used to being brushed. Do it softly, it’s all positive reinforcement, give them treats,” she suggests.
“Everything I do is for the animals,” she says. “I just want this to be a positive place for pets.” When people leave their cats with her for boarding, she keeps them at her shop, where she is all day. She also takes in small dogs at her own home, but they get to spend the day with her at the shop, so that they aren’t alone all the time. “I couldn’t handle that either,” she says.
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