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

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

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