Park Ridge groomer-on-the-go makes dogs dapper, felines fabulous
Tracy Kay, of Park Ridge, puts a pink ribbon on her red Border Collie, Ruby, inside her mobile grooming van. Kay is the owner of Bark 'N' Purrr-fect Mobile Grooming in Park Ridge. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Bark ‘N’ Purrr-fect Mobile Grooming
SPECIALTY: Mobile pet grooming
CONTACT: (847) 471-2721
Updated: October 14, 2012 12:12PM
PARK RIDGE — Tracy Kay doesn’t give the usual facial, pedicures and haircuts.
For one thing, her clients never engage in the usual beauty-salon gossip and banter.
They also happen to have four legs.
Kay, of Park Ridge, is a pet groomer who in addition to offering the standard grooming procedures animal owners are most familiar, provides beauty treatments like haircuts and styling, nail painting, feather extensions on fur, paw treatments for dry pads, facials and even fur coloring.
“It can go pretty extensive,” Kay said of her services. “You can do pretty much to a dog what you can do to a human. It’s a pure luxury item.”
Kay recently went mobile with her treatments, purchasing a van she describes as “a state-of-the-art salon on wheels,” and establishing Bark ’N’ Purrr-fect Mobile Grooming. Her grooming van is equipped with amenities like a shampooing system and high-powered dryers for fluffy coats in addition to top-line shampoos, from hypoallergenic to medicated.
At the time of this story Kay was planning to find a new place to park her van when not in use, as such vehicles are prohibited on Park Ridge streets and driveways.
Having a mobile grooming business allows Kay to make house calls so dog owners can avoid a visit to a pet salon. Procedures are by-appointment-only and most take about an hour depending on the size of the animal. The average grooming cost for a small dog is $65.
Kay acknowledges that her prices are a little higher than a brick-and-mortar groomer might charge, but she notes that the service is convenient for pet owners who may have difficulty taking their dogs out or are too busy. But some of the “luxury” treatments, like the pedicures and pad treatments, are provided free of charge.
Another treatment that has been especially sought-after this summer is a “skunk bath.” With skunks out and about in abundance, many dogs have been on the receiving end of some unwelcome spraying and that requires an emergency trip to the groomer to prevent the oil from seeping into the dog’s skin, Kay said.
“I’ve taken three skunk calls a week, which is a lot compared to previous summers,” she said.
Kay uses a home remedy of peroxide and baking soda mixed with Dawn detergent, as well commercial-grade products.
Kay previously worked at two Park Ridge grooming establishments: Magic Scissors Dog Grooming and Precious Paws. This summer she decided to start Bark ’N’ Purrr-fect Mobile Grooming based on the fact that such a service has not been based out of Park Ridge for many years.
As the name suggests, Bark ’N’ Purrr-fect doesn’t discriminate against cats and the same services offered to man’s best friend are available to his feline counterpart. Kay has even been known to give a cat a mohawk.
“I’m pretty creative at heart,” she said. “I’m really artistic; I like crafting and drawing, and haircuts kind of come along with that.”