Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Archive for November, 2007

Men and Dogs

Friday, November 16th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

I would estimate that 60% of our customers are women and they are comfortable with what they want.  They can discuss bows, cologne, conditioner, and spa treatments quite freely and with enthusiasm.  The men that come in are usually more of a challenge.  They often don’t know much more than the dog’s name.  The conversation goes like this:  “What kind of haircut do you want?” — “I don’t know, it’s my wife’s dog.”  Oh boy, here we go.  He stands there in his jeans, baseball cap, unshaven and with a chew in his cheek.  As far as he is concerned, you could shave the dog bald–it means more to his wife than he does anyway!

I know that when I was younger, my dogs had to reflect my machismo.  I had a German Shepherd, Irish Setter, and Collie–see a pattern?  When we owned our Scottie Margaret, I found her to be too small to romp around the way I like:  “Want to jump in the car and go to Lowes?”  Probably not.  She became more my wife’s dog.  After a lot of complaining, I got my first of three Great Danes.  Now I could grunt, spit, and be thoroughly disgusting with my bad-ass dog.

Reminds me of the time I was admiring my granddaughter when she was born.  We were having a family dinner and I held her in my arms and said, “She is just precious!”  My son Michael looked at me in disbelief:  “…Precious?”  He said, “Dad, what is that, your feminine side?” 

You have to understand that having been raised as an Army brat and then putting in 5 years myself, my personality reflects an atmosphere of male dominance and discipline.  Real men don’t say “precious,” and I think working in a female dominated industry for 32 years was having its effect on me!  The first three years of business I operated only a boarding kennel, and that certainly was manly enough.  But then I needed to expand my ability to make money so I added grooming.  It took me a long time to adjust to putting bows on poodles and spraying them with perfume.

One of my favorite customers is a guy who weighs about 300 lbs., shaves his head and has tattooed arms the size of my waist.  Occupation?  Tow truck driver.  Pet?  Toy Poodle named Midnight.  His hands are the size of a baseball mitt — much larger than his poodle.  I couldn’t help but ask him what he was doing with such a little dog.  He just smiled and grunted that it was his wife’s dog.  “Got a problem with that?”  I took another look at his arms and said, “Nope, how do you want him cut?”  His answer?  You got it.  “Shave him down all over and no foo-foo stuff.”


Larry Sipe and his poodle, Midnight

Larry Sipe and his poodle, Midnight

Reputable Breeders

Friday, November 16th, 2007 by Jenna

A reputable breeder is focused on doing their best by their breed in every way. Your relationship with them does not end when you buy the puppy. They will maintain contact with you and offer you any information and assistance that you may want from diet questions to training. They will give you a written guarantee of your puppy’s genetic health and temperament. They will take back the dog at any point in its life for any reason. They will specialize in one or two breeds and be thoroughly knowledgeable about the history and medical conditions of each.

They will not sell their dogs to pet shops but rather will keep them as house pets. In fact, the Code of Ethics of AKC affiliated breed clubs specifies that members should not sell to pet shops. These breeders will not sell their puppies before 8 weeks of age and they may even insist on visiting your home–they will certainly interview you. They will deny owners that they believe do not suit their puppies.

Because they keep their puppies in their home, the puppies are well socialized and are not exposed to poor health conditions. Reputable breeders may charge a lot of money–Susan Giles’ pet quality lhasa apsos may be $1000-1500. However, these breeders may actually be losing money on their breeding because of the cost of properly evaluating the health of their puppies. Typical tests include the OFA (hip x-ray certification), CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation), Penn-Hipp (hip joint laxity), and SAS (subaortic stenosis check). Research the common defects in your preferred breed and ask your breeder what he is doing to prevent and detect those issues.

Reputable breeders will have at least the dame on site for you to see and interact with. They will have a limited number of litters per year. They rarely need to advertise and usually have buyers lined up before a litter is born. They will be experienced and confident in their reputation as a reputable breeder and will be happy to offer you references.

I spoke with a breeder named Susan Giles because one of our customers is a very stand-out lhasa apso named Oliver. Due to backyard breeding and the breed’s natural inclinations, lhasas can come with a myriad of issues. They are typically supposed to be “chary of strangers” but poorly bred lhasas can be kennel shy, unpredictable, and aggressive toward strangers. They are susceptible to physical defects such as cherry eye, renal failure, and hip dysplasia. Oliver is a very healthy boy who is cautious toward strangers but friendly once he gets to know you–exactly what the breed standard calls for. Susan is a show breeder so the puppies she raises come with a thick, luxurious coat as well. She is very aware of the problem of backyard breeders and because of this she insists on a spay/neuter contract when she sells her puppies.

The most important thing to remember when looking to buy a puppy is Do Your Research. Know what health exams your breeder should be doing, what temperament problems you should watch out for, and find a breeder you trust who is first and foremost concerned with what is best for their dogs.