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By:  Jan Morgan-Swegle

When you have a pet, you know that very quickly, they become part of your family — and often, they become your “children.”  Some people talk to their pets, sleep with them, take pictures of them, and spoil them. But, like your children, you also have to take care of them. That means taking them to the vet regularly and ensuring that they are well groomed.

If you are new to the Leland area or a new pet owner, Kelsi Kruse, owner of Purrfect Paws Pet Spa, and her grooming team want you to know that they are here to help you. Purrfect Paws, which opened on Oct. 30, is located at 59 Waterford Business Center Way (behind the Logan building on U.S. 17)

While this is Kelsi’s first time owning a spa, she has been around dogs all of her life and she spent several years as a groomer at another spa. “Owning my own spa has always been a dream of mine,” she said.”Growing up, my mom was an AKC registered Pekingese breeder, so I spent many years going along to dog shows and learning about different breeds of dogs as well as being a junior handler in the ring a time or two, so I have always had a love for animals.”   

Purrfect Paws is a spacious and open environment. It’s bright, yet there is a calm atmosphere when you enter.  Kelsi said, “A spa is somewhere that should be relaxing. We strive to keep our focus on the pet’s well-being and provide an environment where all pets feel safe and pampered while in our care.”    

She continued, “At Purrfect Paws, we aim for a positive experience for everyone involved, especially the pets. We look forward to building a relationship, not just with the pet, but with the client as well. We are focused on making sure the pet has an enjoyable visit with us.”   

Judging from the size of dogs that Kelsi and her assistant, Loe, were working with, dog grooming looks like it can be very physically demanding. Kelsi was working with Emma, a 75-pound Golden Doodle. She said it could take up to two and a half hours to groom her.  That includes bathing, shampooing, drying, brushing, trimming, teeth cleaning and nail cutting. 

Loe was working with Willie, a Bichon/Poodle mix and had Cara, a 60-pound “Carolina Dog” (American Dingo), was waiting for her turn.  Loe indicated that a dog the size of Willie would take about an hour and a half to complete, primarily because he had shorter hair. 

Kelsi started out as a tech at Pet Smart and went through the Pet Smart training course. She was certified in 2015. “As an apprentice, you start by working on their nails and trimming between the pads of their feet’” she explained. “Then you learn how to do sanitary cuts.”  Kelsi and Loe both said that the last step in the learning process is understanding how certain breeds of dogs have specific haircuts — using a Shih Tzu as an example, Kelsi said, “You have to be careful and ensure when you cut around the face and ears, that you are maintaining the look of the breed.”

Kelsi and her team see all kinds of dog breeds but said that the most unusual dog that they have had in for grooming was a Pomeranian, Pit Bull, Poodle mix.   Loe added, “I had an English Springer Spaniel and Chow mix recently. It was a really good-looking dog.” 

While originally from Boonton Township, New Jersey, Kelsi moved to North Carolina in 2008 to attend UNCG. She moved to Brunswick County in 2011 and currently lives in Southport. She has been grooming in the Waterford area of Leland since 2019 and likes the growth she sees in the Leland area. “Leland is growing, as well as the surrounding areas, and I know there will be a high demand for pet groomers,” she said. “Both of my team members, Julie, who is a grooming apprentice, loves working with animals, and Loe, who has been with me forever, are wonderful to work with. I wouldn’t be able to do what we do here if it wasn’t for the strong team that I have.  Next year, I hope to bring on more techs, but sometimes it’s hard to find good help with a strong work ethic in this field, and that’s the type of people I want in my spa.” 

Kelsi talked about the dog grooming mobile vans that can come to your house and groom your dog. Kelsi said, “Grooming vans are extremely beneficial for pets who do not do well in a large, open environment or do better with one-on-one situations.  Yes, grooming vans may be more costly, but we often refer clients to mobile groomers if their pet get stressed in a brick and mortar environment. “ 

Kelsi also plans to expand her product line to include a de-tangler package, a de-shedding package and a lavender essential oils package. Grooming charges are going to vary depending on the size of the animal, the services you request and the condition of the animal’s coat. Services start at $60. 

Let’s face it, we all love a good spa day, and our pets get stressed too, so call Kelsi at 910-399-4624, and set up an appointment for your furry child — that lavender package sounds great!



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