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Gentleness and kindness

Echo groomer joins the staff at the Animal Health Center in Marshall

September 7, 2010
By Karin Elton

MARSHALL - The name says it all - Gentle Hands Pet Grooming By Krista. It tells what she does and how she does it.

Pet groomer Krista Davis works out of the Animal Health Center in Marshall offering grooming services along with another groomer, Tamie Martin of Happy Tails Pet Grooming.

"They needed another groomer," Davis said of AHC. "They were busy."

Article Photos

Photo by Karin Elton
Krista Davis trimmed a shih tzu recently as part of her pet grooming service at Animal Health Center in Marshall.

Davis works two or three days a week, grooming dogs and cats. She said grooming isn't just for aesthetic reasons, but good physical and mental health for the animal as well.

"Sometimes I will shave an animal down so he doesn't get allergies, I trim toenails so they don't hit the ground before the paw does which causes arthritis," she said. "The ears get dirty and they get infections."

Usually after grooming, a dog will come in "mopey and leave feeling refreshed," she said.

She does it all with kindness.

"They respond better to positive interaction," she said. "A dog is more fun if it's been treated well. It will sulk if it's been beaten."

When Davis, who lives in Echo, isn't grooming pets and working at a grocery store in Redwood Falls, she is a Redwood County 4-H leader. She teaches 4-H'ers dog obedience skills.

"They have to be in charge of their dog," she said.

That means feeding and walking it too.

"They bond with their dog when they take care of it," Davis said.

Davis has her students offer treats to their dogs when they have performed a task well and also offer praise to the dog.

"Dogs are more likely to work with someone who is friendly and kind," she said.

Davis tells the 4-H'ers to use a "fun, happy voice" with the dog. Sometimes the 4-H'ers have to use their "big boy" or "big girl" voice in situations such as when two dogs are about to fight, she said.

Above all, owners should "never hit or kick an animal or use abusive language," she said.

Davis trimmed a shih tzu recently as part of her pet grooming service at Animal Health Center in Marshall. Davis said she enjoys her work with the 4-H'ers best when they have been struggling with teaching the dog and then suddenly they've got it. There is a satisfaction for the child that "they did it, they're the ones, not their parents" who taught their pets skills, she said.

In addition to learning to train their dogs, the 4-H'ers must learn about what breed the dog is, what the dog was originally bred for, what internal and external parasites are common to the dog, the history of the American Kennel Club and the genetics of their dogs.

She said by learning the origins and makeup of their dogs, the children are more appreciative of their pet.



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