THE ZEN STORY
I love dogs
It all started 15 years ago when I adopted my first rescue dog, Meeka (I'm hugging her in the pic). Soon after, I became heavily involved in the world of dog rescue. My husband and I fostered over 45 dogs since. And yes, we became parents to a few, thirteen to be precise (all rescues, mostly seniors). I even started a group called CARe – Canine Adoption + Rescue Education to raise awareness, of adoption versus buying because so many have their lives cut short.
I was looking for a new career, one that had more meaning, hopefully more fulfillment. A canine stylist seemed like the perfect shift.
You learn a lot when you become a guardian or foster parent of so many dogs, of different breeds, diverse backgrounds, personalities, and behaviours. Then again, I always loved learning, and loved dogs even more.
I read a lot of books, watched tons of instructional videos to boost my knowledge on how dogs learn, what motivates them, what makes them tick. Finally, I needed an hands-on approach so I enrolled in a true professional dog trainer program at one of Ottawa’s most respected training schools; Best Friends Dog Training (I highly recommend Kim and her team).
This hard earned know-how is priceless in my day-to-day interactions in Zen. The "positive reinforcement" technique goes a long way for both me, and my Guests.
THE ZEN WAY
My philosophy is simple: create a Zen experience.
Let's be honest, grooming may not be your Dog's idea of a great time. In fact, for many, it can be a dreadful, unpleasant experience.
And I get that.
After years of being a foster Mom for rescues dogs, I developed an extra sensitivity on how the environment can influence a dog's behaviour. This is the reason why I made a strategic business decision right from the start.
Zen would be an "one-on-one" grooming studio.
It is a different way to groom. A better way to groom. Unlike a typical grooming outfit, or big box stores, my goal is to always have one Guest at a time in my space. A better experience is good, for everyone.
Quiet environment, entirely relaxed atmosphere
(no crowded spaces with flurries of dogs barking, running around)
Guests are more focus, calm
(they are less fidgety and follow my cues much better)
One-on-one grooming, with no other dogs in the salon
The risk of injuries from other dogs is practically eliminated
THE ZEN SPACE
Zen: a state of calm attentiveness in which one's actions are guided
by intuition rather than by conscious effort.
The Zen salon was designed with this single vision from the ground up. It is a minimalist environment with natural colours, clean lines and soothing atmosphere.
Every decision we made, every single detail incorporated in the studio's concept was paramount so the experience would be calm and peaceful.
Airy, large open spaces, plenty of natural daylight all around
Few distractions, no views of busy streets or sidewalks
A fully enclosed, separate bath area reducing anxiety and disassociate bathing from grooming
The bath area has a dedicated air system filtering floating hair and dander
Warm, cozy individual suites with soft matching beds and pillows for pure comfort
TIPS & HINTS
Regular grooming plays a key role in your pet’s overall health and comfort, not to mention looking wonderful. Having your loved one visit a groomer routinely (every 4 - 6 weeks) is an excellent way to maintain top hygiene.
At Zen Grooming, we believe your dog's beauty is skin deep. A good groom begins with great coat. And great coat starts with healthy skin. You achieve this with the finest, natural shampoos and conditioners appropriate for your dog's skin and coat type.
Mats - the silent pain
Waiting too long between sessions increases the chances of mats. These can often form in place you can't even see (leg pits, under ears, chin and neck) and over time, pull on their skin.
The nagging pain is is like a Band-Aid constantly pulling on the hair of your arm, say.
The six benefits to regular grooming:
Helps maintain healthy skin and coat
Prevents painful matting
Regular nail trims not only help keep the nails short but helps reinforce healthy foot structure and posture, it also reduces the risk of infection
Regular visits may result in early detection of issues with ears, skin, teeth and more
Well maintained coats typically shed less
Your pet looks and smells great!
***All services only available by appointment only - no walk-ins
Our Zippy Zen groom is simple and quick. Ideal to keep your dog fresh, tidy and stylish:
a light trim around the eyes, feet, paw-pads and sanitary area
The Rejuvee package is ideal to rejuvenate your dog’s coat between hair reductions.
Your dog will enjoy a gentle bath
Blow dry followed by a brushing to remove any tangles and help prevent matting
Includes nail trim and ear cleaning
Our ZEN groom package is the regular treatment:
It begins with a gentle body shampoo, ear cleaning and facial scrub with tearless shampoo
Then followed by fluff drying and a thorough brushing.
Next, a customized hair reduction that will best suit your dog's lifestyle and personality.
Finally, a nail trim for the health and comfort of your pet
The package of all packages.
Oh La La is sure to please any dogs:
begins with a fabulous, handmade, vegan and organic shampoo and conditioner specifically suited to your dog's hair & skin type (both shampoo and conditioner are gently massaged down to the skin, where they remain on your dog for 10 minutes for maximum benefit to their skin and coat).
Your dog will enjoy a gentle facial scrub with our natural, tearless shampoo followed by hands-on fluff drying
Next, a nail trim for the health and comfort of your pet
Lastly, a customized hair reduction that will best suit your dog's lifestyle and personality
Not available for humans
À LA CARTE
Nail Trim $12
Nails are trimmed to keep your pet’s paws healthy.
Nail Grinding $18
Nails are trimmed using a tool that leaves the nails shorter, smoother and rounded. Easier on your floors and furniture.
Tootsie Tidy $15
Trim around the foot and foot pads.
Foot Care $20
Includes nail cutting, foot and pad trimming.
Brush Out $15/15min.
* Available in 15-minute increments.
(may include a dematting fee)
A thorough brushing will keep your pet healthy and comfortable between regular Zen sessions.
Matt Removal $20/20min.
* Available in 20-minute increments
Custom Shampoo $10
At any time, upgrade to our handmade, vegan and organic shampoo or conditioner.
Hand Stripping $30/30min.
For Terrier breeds.
Q & A
Q. Why don't you have prices for your packages?
There is no standard price just like there is no standard dog.
I have no set fee and work by the hour. With so many factors, there cannot be standard prices. Factors like size, type of coat (e.g., short v. long hair), breed, age, type of cut, temperament, general condition, last groom all directly impact the time and cost.
Q. Do you accept walk-ins, even for a nail trim?
Zen is an atypical grooming studio. I made a commitment to groom on a "one-on-one" basis. Only a single Guest is groomed at a time for a calmer environment. Our attention is all one Guests, and leaves little room for interruptions.
Q. Do you do complete "shave downs" - even for the summer?
As a general rule, no, I don't.
I appreciate as the Guardian, you may want a certain cut, including shaving the coat. There are two reasons why I don't follow this practice:
1. Shave downs are terrible for certain breeds -
My priority is always the Guest, without exception. Certain breeds like those with double coats such Pomeranians, Huskies, Rough Collies, etc. must never be shaved. Ever. The finer down-like hair serves as insulation for winter and more importantly summer. Just like house insulation helps in winter and summers, the insulating factor keeps these breeds cool in the summer as well. [Fun Fact! Have you ever wondered why desert dwellers are covered from head-to-toe in thick layers of fabric in the blazing sun? Simple, the body's temperature is 37 degrees. This is a lot cooler than the outside temperature that can reach 50+ degrees].
2. Pride in giving each Guest their own style
Zen Grooming is not a production grooming outfit where dogs are just another number. I operate the same way I like to be treated for my own hair treatment: a cut made just for me. I love being with dogs, I enjoy grooming them and my goal is to make that show through each and everyone of my sessions.
The only exception to this rule is if the Guest has too many mats or are too large. Mats can be painful and harbour bad bacteria and can cause skin issues. So to offer immediate relief, shaving them is the most efficient way possible.
Q. Can I stay while you groom?
With rare exceptions, no.
Guardians are a huge distractions. Dogs would rather be with you. Being seen makes grooming practically impossible. It is quite common for a Guest's behaviour to be different with the Parent around, even protective, endangering my work. Finally, with no distractions, they tend to concentrate on my cues making the whole experience smoother and faster.
Unless there is a safety concern about your Dog, it is always better, for everyone, that you not be in the studio,
Q. Do I really need to fill out and approve the Registration and Consent form?
To be part of the Zen community, you must fill it out completely, read attentively its content, and approve it. The form serves several purposes.
First, to identify you and your pet and all important contact details. This is critical so I can make sure we are an ideal fit for each other and my unique environment. Not everyone may understand or even wish to accept the my grooming methods. The questions in the form help start that conversation.
Anytime one works with animals, there are risks. Yes, of course it's rare, but I make an effort to outline these simply and carefully on my form
Lastly, it is a question of safety for me, my own Dogs, and my other Guests. I need proof of vaccinations to be sure everyone is protected.