meet&greet The Dog Professionals
Owner of Topeka Area Grooming Shuttle
Barkground: Jennifer Walker, owner of Topeka Area Grooming Shuttle (TAGS), has been in the pet industry since 1997, starting out as a dog trainer and becoming a groomer. A mobile groomer, to be exact. In July 2011 she opened an onsite mobile grooming service, taking her salon to the homes of her clients—and their dogs. The Approach: “I think pets know when they are clean and looking good. It affects their behavior in a positive way,” says Walker, who adds that getting a dog to beautiful can often be a hard job. Dogs, says Walker, can quickly be overwhelmed by bright lights, noise, people and other animals. That’s why she feels her method of coming to the dogs’ homes for onsite grooming allows her clients to be more comfortable. Walker believes that regular grooming, whether it is done by professionals or by family members, can improve a dog’s disposition. She says that regularly groomed dogs look at the procedure as part of their routine life, like being fed at a particular time each morning, for example. Dog Wisdom: “Dogs are into everything, and then they crawl into bed with us, they lick our faces—and we only let them get a shower every four to six weeks?” says Walker, making the case for regular grooming. In Walker’s world, pampering is for pooches. She and her team provide two different types of facials for dogs, a service Walker says is “extra important because many times dogs get food and debris matted in their facial fur.” TAGS’s grooming products are pH-balanced with all-natural lines available for pets with sensitive skin. But grooming shouldn’t be done just for the sake of grooming, says Walker. “There is such a thing as bathing a dog too frequently, especially if you are using the wrong products. It’s really important that you research any product you might use and talk it over with your vet before using it.”
Story by Melinda Briscoe Photography by Jason Dailey
Winter ’ 12
above Jennifer Walker holds two of her grooming clients, from left, Max and Kiyu.
Self-described as a “mom, writer, thinker and occasional bum,” Melinda Briscoe is a freelancer who also works a 9-5 for the government.