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It's a Ruff Business

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  • It's a Ruff Business

    Aileen Horne is a new pet groomer in town, and she's brought her many years of experience and a passion for animals to her business, The Fluffy Puppy.

    "I love, love, love animals," said Horne, who says she's owned (or currently owns) just about every animal imaginable: a bat, a dove, a duck, horses and, of course, cats and dogs.

    "I am synonymous with animals," she said. "I have a gamillion animals because they find me or people drop them off at my house."

    But, deep down, she still considers herself a dog person.

    "Out of all the animals, I could never live without a dog," said Horne, who opened her dog grooming business the week of Thanksgiving, after putting off the opening date due to construction.

    "I can't wait anymore," Horne remembers thinking, while she worked to make the space in SuLaine's strip mall, which used to be a garage, into a "cozy" and "peaceful" spot for the animals.

    And now she's even got the latest and greatest in pet grooming gadgets (a hydraulic grooming table and a high-speed dryer) in there to get the job done.

    "Back then (when Horne began grooming 40 years ago), we didn't have these super cool hydraulic tables," said Horne. "If you wanted an 80-pound german shepard in the tub, you had to pick him up and put him in there."

    Horne said when she first got into the pet grooming business, she had to quit because lifting the dogs onto the grooming table was actually hurting her back, but now, after years working in pet clinics (among other jobs), she's back doing what she loves—and she does her best to make sure the dogs love it too.

    "I usually do five dogs a day...I don't like rushing," said Horne, adding that taking it easy allows for her and the dogs to feel less stressed.

    And when there's no stress, there's time to play, since Horne tries her best to keep the dogs out of kennels after they are groomed and waiting for their owners to pick them up.

    "Generally speaking, I haven't really had to put a dog in a cage," said Horne.

    In fact, she does things a little differently, taking videos of the dogs playing to post on her business's Facebook page.

    Horne says, if she does get busier, though, she's got room for another grooming table and another groomer.

    "That's as big as I'll get," she added, saying she'd rather focus on quality over quantity.

    And she's got the experience to give quality cuts, with many years in the industry and time spent at pet expos in Las Vegas, learning "Asian Fusion" grooming and how to breed profile for doggy hair dos.

    Recently, she event helped to fluff up a pup who had been camped out at the Detroit Lakes Human Society for quite some time, and after his pampering puppy time, he even got adopted.

    "I told the Humane Society...I would do it (groom pets that are up for adoption) for free, so I did one dog and one cat so far," said Horne.

    As far as cats go, she's willing to groom them, as long as they aren't too matted or frisky.

    "If your cat will allow me to do it, I'll do it," said Horne with a laugh, adding, "If somebody wanted me to wash a hamster, I'd do it."
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