MARBLE FALLS — With a strong shake, Palmer managed to soak Ashley Montandon and just about everything nearby in the mobile grooming trailer. Montandon laughed and took it as just part of her routine.

“I have a messy job,” she said after Palmer, a sheepadoodle dog and a regular client, finished his shake. After patting him off with a towel, Montandon pulled out the blowdryer. “People will ask, ‘Why does it take so long to dry a dog?’ Well, they have a lot of hair.”

Montandon, owner and operator of Hill Country Hounds Mobile Grooming, opened her operation in April and is still building up her clientele. She’s not new to pet grooming, or even Marble Falls, but Hurricane Harvey’s winds pushed her in a new direction last fall.

A 2000 graduate of Marble Falls High School, Montandon began grooming dogs as her “mommy business” because it allowed her to work around taking care of her four children. She quickly discovered she loved dog grooming and eventually opened a brick-and-mortar pet business, Paws by the Bay Grooming, in Palacios. Folks in town told her the location she chose never flooded.

That was until Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas coast in August 2017.

“I had about six feet of water in my shop,” Montandon recalled.

Fortunately, she took steps before the hurricane made landfall and moved all of her grooming equipment to her home. Soon after the storm dissipated, Montandon set up shop in her sunroom.

“I had clients who needed their dogs groomed,” she said.

After a few weeks working out of her house, Montandon decided she needed a change. In December 2017, she returned to Marble Falls with her four children. From the start, she knew she wanted to go mobile. Montadon needed something that supported her lifestyle as a mother of four active children as well as ensured her clients got personal, at-home — or at-business — service.

She ordered a custom trailer, designed specifically for mobile dog grooming. She also added her own touches to better reflect her personality and emphasize her commitment to caring for each dog.

“My clients and their dogs, they’re my family,” Montandon said.

Being mobile has its perks for pooches and their owners. Montandon can set up shop at a client’s home or business, where the dog stays inside until its appointment. Then, it’s just a short walk to Montandon’s “office.” If a client has multiple dogs, Montandon takes them one at a time.

“It’s much less stressful on the dog,” she said...................