Hi, I’m Michele Peterson, Owner/Founder of Classy Canines — serving friends and neighbors since 2004, helping them keep their dogs happy, healthy and good looking.
Pet grooming is actually my third career and the one I personally find the most satisfying. Looking back: my first stop after high school was Johnson and Wales Culinary School in Rhode Island, where I quickly found out cooking in a restaurant setting was not for me. Next stop was Framingham State University (B.A., English) and a publishing career in Newton, Mass. Then it was off to the Philippines to teach ESL for a few years, and back to the states for an editorial position in suburban Washington DC, where I met my future husband, Alan. We married in 2001.
One day, after 17 years in publishing, I burned out. I realized that office life was no longer the life for me, especially on nice sunny days. Serendipitously, along came Career Number 3 – pet grooming!
I came across an ad for a company in Indiana that manufactured mobile pet grooming vans and was intrigued. I loved dogs my whole life, but the only grooming experience I had up until then was a notoriously bad haircut I once gave Jake – my Goldie/Gordie mix. But I was hooked.
I enthusiastically began researching mobile grooming: schools, vans, techniques, tools … you name it. Working up a business plan, I told husband Alan I wanted to quit my publishing career, go to grooming school, buy a $70,000 grooming van and open my own business. We would be a one-paycheck household for a few months and would probably live on boxed mac-n-cheese until things took off … but it would all be worth it. After the initial shock, he said, “Okay, you’ve sold me. Do it!”
So I gave notice at my publishing company, went to grooming school, and ordered a custom-built grooming van with ALL the goodies from the company running that life-changing ad. Sink or Swim, baby!
In 2004 I launched Classy Canines Mobile Grooming in Northern Virginia and I found I had a real knack for both grooming and running a one-woman business. I even “appointed” husband Alan to be my mechanic, electrician and plumber for everything inside the Classy Canines van.
Now nearly 18 years later, I have spent every day with many sweet dogs, learned all about my clients’ lives and interests, and enjoyed being the “Go To” person for everyone’s pets’ needs. I found the best vets in my territory, what tools are best suited for maintaining a pet’s coat between grooms, and learned how to spot issues of health concerns; small lumps that could bring about early cancer detection, ear infections caught early enough for proper treatment … Grooming is not just an aesthetic concern, it keeps your dog healthy.
Now, it’s time for the Second Phase of the Classy Canines tale: husband Alan is retiring, and that means we are bringing our success story to the Historic Triangle.