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. When Alan retired in 2022, we relaunched Classy Canines in the Historic Triangle, where happy dogs and happier pet owners now enjoy my special personal one-on-one approach to pet grooming. For close to two decades, 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.