In-car wash

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When Tazzie the mini schnauzer got a liberal spritzing of White Diamonds for puppies, you fully expected her to do a full-body shake and prance proudly forward.

But the five-year-old salt-and-pepper pooch had built up a lot of energy during her massaging bath, blow-dry, nail trim and fur snip.

So she jumped down from the oversized Mercedes-Benz van, scrambled across the sidewalk and strained at the leash to see Mom, who couldn't have been more thrilled to see her after an overdue grooming.

And that van, a complete mobile grooming shop, fired up its diesel engine and took off for another cleaning across town.

Things have already been busy for Aussie Pet Mobile, Columbus' only spa-quality, mobile grooming business, said owner Marni Yerak, who launched the service in June.

Between its convenience and spa-quality services, "There is definitely a demand out there," Yerak said.

"Out there" being "everywhere." Aussie's name comes from the owner, who is Australian, and the company now operates in nine countries. Yerak took a moment to tell Alive more about her franchise.

Can you tell me how things have been going since you started in early June?

Things have been going very, very good. We have just ordered our second van ... so it will be on the road in October. We ultimately will have six of these vans on the road in the Columbus area to be able to service the whole market.

Our major customers are those who have two professionals working in the house, with multiple children, multiple activities, lots of homework, and they don't necessarily have the extra time on their hands. So we can come right to the house, and ... it's a lot less stressful for the pets because they still stay in their own environment, they're not in a cage all day and they're not around other pets that they may not like.

Is there anything Aussie offers that a typical groomer might not?

Yeah, we have a 15-step spa treatment that we offer - that's our basic service. Every pet gets a fresh-water, warm-water bath with a little bit of massage therapy. We hand blow-dry all of our pets; we brush them out; we clean their eyes, their ears; clip their nails; and then do any of the required groom work.

We bathe the pets with a special shampoo that helps to open up the hair follicles ... once we blow them dry, then we have a special hand tool that's called a Furminator, and it's designed to rake through their coat and pull a lot of that undercoat out. It helps to decrease the shedding.

We're very spa-centric, so we offer all of our pets spa treatments similar to what, as a person, you would get when you go to a day spa.

And people are into treating their pets like people these days, so ...

Yes, all of our pets are spoiled, and they're part of the family. They're not even pets anymore - they're children.

Top dog tips

Midge Distelzweig, who brings 14 years of experience grooming pets to her work with Aussie Pet Mobile, offered these tips after getting Tazzie snazzy:

* "It's important when you're blow-drying and brushing and bathing that you have your hands all over them. Because you get to know these pets and you get to know where there's ... lumps or bumps or funkies ... and you inform owners."

* "For any breed, they just need to be brushed, whether they're short-haired to long-haired. That's the first thing you can instruct people."

* "The younger you can have them groomed, the better. Even if it's nothing more than a bathing, a blow-drying, a toenail clip - it gets them into the process of other people doing things to them."

* "Have some dogs groomed more often. Some people only do it twice a year; their pets really need to be groomed more than that. It depends on the breed."