Longtime pet groomer takes over Paw Spa in Grass Valley
Know & Go
Where: 147 Joerschke Dr, Ste. 6, Grass Valley
Contact: 530-272-5300; Facebook: Paw Spa
Hours: Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. until the last animal goes home. Saturday: 9 a.m. until the last animal goes home.
Robert Lapp was a race car driver at Daytona International Speedway in Florida when someone in the pit offered to pay him $500 to name his newborn daughter “Victory.” He took the offer.
What he also did was kick off a lifetime for Victory of having to tell that story. But as a small child, Victory was whisked away from the race tracks of Florida to Placerville, where she lived until she was in her 20s. After high school, she landed a job at a boarding kennel. It didn’t take long before she realized she’d found her passion — pet grooming.
“We boarded dogs, cats, pigs, birds and hamsters at that Placerville shelter,” she said. “I even remember one goldfish.”
Victory’s gentle touch and calm demeanor made her a natural when it came to grooming anxious animals, and her “magic touch” only became more refined during the decade she spent there. It also made it easy to get a job doing the same thing in the following years when she relocated to Vacaville and Rio Vista.
In 2008 she moved to Nevada County and got various grooming jobs before getting hired full-time at Paw Spa in Grass Valley four years ago. She became the primary groomer and quickly became known for dealing with challenging animals in need of grooming, including rescue dogs.
“It’s really rewarding to groom pets who have clearly been neglected, then see them find homes at adoptathons,” said Victory. “I swear, I can tell they feel better when they leave.”
Roughly a year ago, Victory was thrilled when the opportunity arose to buy the business from Joni Holland, who still comes in to bathe an occasional animal and answer phones.
The transition between owners was a smooth one, said Victory, because the business was thriving, with many longtime loyal customers. And since she expanded her hours, even more clients are coming through the door for full service grooming, haircuts and summer shave-downs — not to mention those emergency appointments for skunk and flea baths, or sticker removal, she said.
The Paw Spa offers various kinds of hypoallergenic shampoos — customized according to skin and fur type — and Victory even provides a doggie “tearless facial scrub.”
A big part of Paw Spa’s business model is giving back to the community, said Victory, which is why she continues to groom rescue dogs free of charge and has welcomed a high school intern, Hailey Swain, who has since been hired on.
“Victory is just wonderful with rescue dogs,” said Carol Rosevear, who volunteers with Scooter’s Pals and fosters medically indigent dogs. “She’s taken so many who are tragic victims of neglect or abuse. She never turns one away. She’s very gracious, a real blessing to the rescue community.”
Victory said that her 17-year-old long-haired Dachshund, “Little Boy,” is the one who “really runs the place.”
“He’s very mellow, but he’s learned some bad dog tricks by watching some of the dogs who don’t like being bathed,” said Victory with a laugh.
Customers can also bathe their own dogs in a raised tub at Paw Spa. For $15, the pet salon provides shampoo, aprons, towels, a brush and a blow dryer. The cost is $8 for each additional dog.
But most customers, who tend to bring their pets in every four to six weeks, prefer the care and expertise that Victory and her crew offers.
“My doggies are always so happy and pretty after their Paw Spa appointment,” said Bobbie Miller, who owns two Yorkie Shih Tzu mixes. “We’ve been going regularly for the past three years.”
“Pets like regular grooming appointments,” said Victory, with a smile. “Not only will people pet them more afterward, their owners might just let them back on their beds.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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