SPAWS pet grooming salon cuts the ribbon

Teresa Santiago, center, owner of SPAWS Pet Grooming & Day Care was assisted by Ed Parler, Blythewood’s economic development consultant, during the shop’s grand opening on Saturday.

BLYTHEWOOD – Just in time for lake swims, muddy paws and summer romping, SPAWS Pet Grooming & Day Care has opened at 424 Main St. in Blythewood, in the former Groomadog location. New owner Teresa Santiago, a certified groomer, employs three other certified groomers, with appointments available Monday through Saturday. Spots are already filling up, with clients who are following her from previous grooming locations and 20 new client bookings from the salon’s grand opening celebra bration on June 23. Santiago said she’s thrilled to be starting a new grooming business in Blythewood, and said her highest priorities are making sure the dogs are safe, happy and receive expert grooming.

“In order to work here, you have to truly love dogs, and be compassionate. That’s my policy,” Santiago said. “We don’t have students, only certified groomers – myself, Emily Strange, Lyndsey Crouch and Casey Ororke. I feel that it’s important to do things like making sure your furbaby is with the same groomer every time. That helps to build a relationship – and since everybody cuts a little differently, you know it’s going to be the same haircut. And we always speak to the dogs by name, to help them feel comfortable, like ‘okay, she knows me.’”

Santiago is making a number of changes in the salon, including a gradual process of painting and fixing things up.

“We’ve taken down the window blinds so that visitors and clients can see into the grooming area,” Santiago said. “Now when you come in, you can walk by and see your furbaby being pampered and groomed. Everything is open, you can always just pop in.”

Santiago said she especially enjoys the morning drop-off time between seven and nine.

“That allows me to spend a little time with the dogs and meet the parents,” she said. “We can go over the haircut and really find out what they want. Then at pick-up time, I check each dog out with the parent, and make sure they’re satisfied and happy with the haircut. We take notes about the cut, and if they want something a little bit different, we write that down. I believe in really making it personal, and taking good care of their furbaby.”

She previously worked as a deli manager at Publix, and was with the company for 23 years and loved her job. But she said she wanted to do something different.

“I’ve always loved dogs, so I went to school and became a certified groomer. Then right out of school, I was fortunate to get a position at Groomingdales, a five-star grooming salon in Shandon. I wanted to eventually open my own business, and here I am in Blythewood.”

A viewing window allows visitors to observe the grooming room

Over 30 clients came with her.

The SPAWS grooming team works with a wide variety of breeds – including a 180-pound Alaskan Malemute – and Santiago said they really enjoy getting to know the dogs’ unique personalities.

“Sometimes dogs are nervous when they come in, so we make them feel comfortable while they’re getting their new haircut. I love seeing how happy the dogs are after getting a haircut. They get so frisky!” Santiago said.

In addition to grooming, SPAWS also offers a doggie day care service.

“We have a big room with a couch for them to jump up on, and they can play or just hang out with us. It gets them out of the house, and we love having them around. We’re also planning to install a doggie door, so they can go outside to play, or if it’s hot outside they can stay cool in the playroom.”

To find out more or to book an appointment, call SPAWS at 803-786-2009 or visit their website at spawspetgrooming.com.

About 50 people/pets attended the grand opening, which featured Smooth Move smoothies and MAFIA Pet Rescue