Bethel’s only dog groomer is overwhelmed with four-legged clients

Bethel dog groomer Raeann Grantham holds KoKo before giving her a quick trim. (Photo by Greg Kim/KYUK)

For the first time in a long time, Bethel has a dog groomer.

Raeann Grantham started seeing her first four-legged clients a few weeks ago, and she said that business is booming.

KoKo is getting her nails trimmed during a house call by a professional groomer. It’s been a while since these paws have felt that kind of touch.

“Being that there wasn’t a groomer here for so long, I’m having trouble getting the pets used to the clippers and the blow dryer,” Grantham said. “I had one defeat me. She does not like her toenails cut at all.”

Grantham is teaching dogs that have never been groomed before how to be comfortable with her. She’s learning how to work in her clients’ homes instead of at her own shop, and she’s not used to running out of water in between deliveries.

“Please make sure you have enough water, because I do take your water to bathe your pet,” Grantham said.

One problem she has not had is finding clients.

After posting an ad on the Bethel Bargains Facebook group a few weeks ago, she’s already groomed more than 20 dogs.

“The word spreads fast around here. I’m booked two to three weeks in advance right now,” Grantham said. “This is definitely going to turn into a full-time gig.”

But Grantham plans to keep her other job managing the Bethel Winter House. She’s used to working 80 hours a week and only sleeping a few hours every night, but she said that as long as she gets to work with dogs, she’s happy.

“I wouldn’t change it for nothing. It’s my passion. This is what I do,” Grantham said.

Her passion for dog grooming began 17 years ago with a pair of kitchen scissors. Her first test subject was her mom’s poodle.

“I made my mom very mad,” Grantham said.

Her mom decided that if she was going to cut her dog’s hair, she’d better do it right. So Grantham went to school, specializing in creative dog grooming.

“Which is coloring their hair and turning poodles into zebras,” Grantham explained.

But when she got out of school, she realized that there weren’t as many poodle owners wanting zebras as she had thought.

“So I went back to school and learned regular, just everyday house dog haircuts,” Grantham laughed.

Bethel pet owners seem to appreciate what Grantham’s learned. That includes KoKo’s owner, Cynthia “Rosey” Coffey.

“Yay! Cause my dog smells nice to lay with me, and just all the way around a more pleasant animal,” Coffey said. “She’s more self-assured when she looks good. Aren’t we all?”

Earlier this year, Grantham was helping dogs build their self-esteem at her own grooming shop in Louisiana. But suddenly, she felt an itch to go home.

“I’m actually from Bethel. I was born here. My father lives here, and it was one of the things that my dad wanted me to come home, so here I am,” Grantham said.

Grantham moved back to Bethel a few weeks ago, for the first time since she was 3 years old. She said that she loves being in Bethel so far. She’s met a lot of very nice dogs — and nice people, too.

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