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Muddy Paws offers free groom for teachers’ pets

posted April 24th, 2018 by
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For the month of May, Muddy Paws is offering teachers one free dog grooming.

“We know that the Tulsa metro community has helped us so much. And the Tulsa school teachers walk out had such an impact on all of us that we felt like we wanted to give back to the community,” said Debbie Davis, director of operations and outreach.

“We may not as an organization understand everything that was involved with the teacher walkout, however we want to give that same unconditional acceptance of the teachers, we want to honor them, just like these little doggies honor us,” Davis said.

Teachers must call to set up an appointment and dogs must be current on their vaccinations. Grooms typically range $20 to $65 depending on the size and type of dog. The free groom is good for one dog, no matter the size, and will include bath, nails, ear cleaning, anal expression and full haircut.

Muddy Paws is staffed by Pets helping People, a training program for incarcerated women. During the month of March, the group groomed 1,000 dogs, the most groomed during a single month since the program started in 2010.

As of the end of 2017, the group’s recidivism rate was down to 1%, the state rate for females for the same time period is 14.4%.

To make an appointment at Muddy Paws, call 918-749-5255 or visit for more information.

— Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Grooming program in need of students

posted January 10th, 2018 by
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Pets Helping People, which operates Muddy Paws, is seeking more women to participate in its free training program.

The nonprofit is committed to reducing the number of incarcerated women in Oklahoma by providing training and employment assistance in the dog grooming industry for women with a criminal history.

Women in the program train in one of three areas related to dog grooming: bathers/brusher, kennel technicians or groomers. The program requires 40 hours a week for four months and upon completion, graduates are provided with about $1000 worth of grooming tools and assistance finding employment. The total package of both training and equipment is valued at $7,800.

However, recent changes to sentence lengths has created a shortage of women able to participate in the training program.

“Because the prisons are so full, what they have been doing is reevaluating the amount of days remaining on a person’s sentence for them to actually be considered work release or go out into the public and find a job,” said Debbie Davis, director of operations and outreach for Pets Helping People.

The program has gone from having as many as 25 students to just having 6 currently enrolled, said Davis.

Davis is now trying to spread the word that any woman with a criminal past is eligible to participate. For example, women who have had DUIs, have been to drug court or been on probation, even if the record is in another state, can apply for the program.

“If they are having a hard time getting a job because they have a record and if they can devote four months of time to our training program, then we can get them trained and they can find a job,” Davis said.

Wages in the grooming industry range from $9 to $25 an hour with some graduates making as much as $33 an hour, Davis said.

Applicants must read at a sixth grade level and must not have charges related to animal cruelty. To learn more about the program, visit or call 918-749-5255 to set up an interview.

“There is a lot of potential and people in Tulsa love their pets,” Davis added. “It’s a very good industry to get into.”

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

The Paw Spa offers unique service for wire haired breeds

posted July 20th, 2016 by
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For most dogs, grooming means a good bath and a few snips of the scissors. But for terriers and other wire coated breeds, hand stripping is a necessary technique for maintaining a healthy coat.

Crystal Bowen, owner of The Paw Spa, has been hand stripping dogs since the 1990’s. She used to hand strip and show her Jack Russell terriers and wire haired dachshunds.

“Hand stripping is a technique that plucks the dead hair directly from the hair follicle. The canine hair follicle is complex, meaning it has many hairs coming out of one follicle,” Bowen explained. “They are at all different stages of life. To maintain a healthy coat, the dead hairs must be removed. Due to the thickness of the terriers’ coats, they cannot come out just by brushing; they get stuck in the hair follicle and must be plucked manually.”

“When the dead hairs are stripped out, new hair is stimulated to grow and a coarser, brighter hair is produced,” Bowen said. “The color of the coat becomes more vibrant.”

On the other hand, clipper cutting a terrier’s coat can cause the dead hair to become jammed in the follicle causing irritation, swelling, bumps, sores and sometimes pustules, Bowen said. It can also change the appearance and feel of the coat making it dull and soft.handstripping

Because the technique can take years to perfect, not many groomers are skilled in the art of hand stripping. Additionally, too much stripping in one area can cause bald patches or sores; you have to know exactly which hairs to pluck, Bowen said.

And though the process sounds painful, most dogs enjoy the process, Bowen said.

“Most of my terriers enjoy the process so much they lay down on the table ready for the stripping,” she said. “I think it feels good for them to finally have that hair removed.”

Bowen learned to groom during her time as a veterinarian technician.

“I loved grooming, the dogs were always happy to see me and I loved making them look beautiful,” Bowen recalled. “Grooming made me happy, it made me feel like an artist. And I loved pampering the pets, rubbing them in the bath, petting them, brushing them and giving them the best haircuts. I feel like I’m helping them to look and feel their best.”

Because of the extra time and skill involved, the cost of hand stripping is significantly higher than a normal breed clipper cut. Bowen charges a basic bath price for the breed and $1.00 / minute for the hand stripping.

The Paw Spa also offers full service grooming and baths for dogs as well as cats. Spa packages, mud baths, warm oil treatments, shed reducing treatments, tooth brushing and breath control are also offered as well as creative grooming, pet safe nail polish, jewels and feather extensions and pet safe hair color — for that pup that wants a pop of color! All products at The Paw Spa are safe and all natural.

Learn more at

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Moore groomer wins Creative Groomer of the Year

posted September 25th, 2015 by
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Lori Craig of Moore was recently named Barkleigh Honors Creative Groomer of the Year, a national title voted on by her dog grooming peers as part of Groom Expo in Hershey, Pa.

I have been nominated the last four years for it, but I won it this year, so it was really pretty amazing,” Craig said.

So what is creative grooming exactly?

As Craig explains, there is breed profile grooming, where you take a dog and you cut it to it’s breed profile. This is probably what most people know as dog grooming.

“And then there is creative grooming where you transfer the dog’s coat and fur into something completely different,” Craig said. “As a dog groomer, we get really bored. We do the same haircut day in and day out on every dog. With creative grooming, you add color, you add some hairspray and you start sculpting the hair.”

10639590_10152495270454473_413792196524344893_nA quick Google image search on my part brought up dogs with hair of every color, mohawks and fantastical shapes sculpted in to the fur of mostly standard poodles, some other dog breeds and even a few cats!

Craig’s winning designs this year were her Phantom of the Opera creation and Monarch butterflies.

“It’s amazing what you can do with fur,” Craig said.

For anyone concerned about the welfare of the animals involved, there is no need. The products and dyes used in the process are labeled for pets. Not to mention, the dogs love being transformed, says Craig.

“The dogs love the color and love the attention,” Craig said. “Dogs thrive on positive reinforcement and when people see a colored-up dog, they run and flock to them. [The dogs] absolutely love it!”

1017412_10201113386868871_72297664_nCraig says she has been doing creative grooming for about 12 years. She has been featured on TLC’s ‘Extreme Poodles’ and has traveled the world including Singapore, Scotland, Ireland and London teaching others how to turn their dogs into living artwork. She also takes her dogs on the road with her to compete across the nation.

Craig’s grooming salon Doggie Styles is located at 1261 S Eastern Ave., Moore, and she says creative grooming is gaining popularity.

“I probably do three to five creative things a day,” Craig said. “I do mohawks with color, stick on earrings, It’s just a way to make somebody’s dog stick out from the others.”

To make an appointment for your dog, call 405-790-0926 or visit to view more of her incredible creations.

– Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Tango Gets A Haircut

posted May 15th, 2011 by
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By Rusty Lang

Tango ‘s mom doesn’t feel like dancing.
Her eyes are itchy and watery, and her throat is scratchy. Tango’s dander is to blame. Lucky for them, Crystal Bowen, owner of the Paw Spa, stands ready to rescue.

Tango is one long-haired, orangeand white, laid-back feline who arrives at the Paw Spa ready for his “lion cut.” Crystal, despite her fiery red hair, meets the challenge with an equally calm attitude, armed with toe-nail clippers and a buzz shaver. In the pet grooming business since 1994 and before that a veterinary technician, Crystal knows all about those human allergy symptoms.

“Dandruff is big flakes,” she explains, as she gently slides her shaver through Tango’s 1 1/2-inch fur. “Dander is microscopic particles made up of dead skin and saliva. Cats are constantly licking themselves.” About 25 percent of humans are allergic to cats, and that is why bathing is important. Since the protein in dander is hormone-related, nonneutered males produce the most dander. Crystal recommends bathing and grooming cats about once every four to six weeks. The haircuts help with shedding problems, that also may set off allergies.
Crystal buzzes up Tango’s back to the nape of his neck where she will leave a ruff resembling a lion’s mane. His long tail will also be left fluffy. As Tango’s mom rubs his ear, he stretches out on the grooming deck and is so relaxed, he’s purring.

“Well, it’s not like catnip,” smiles Crystal, “but we try to make it so it’s not horrible.” The interior of the Paw Spa adds to the peaceful atmosphere. It’s not the barking mayhem one encounters in most large gatherings of pets. Tango is the only cat here this day, among a Yorkie, three Shih Tzus, and a cocker Spaniel who have already been groomed.

The cocker chases a ball in the fenced-in play “park,” while two of the Shih Tzus chill out in a spacious holding pen. On the walls are a color
ful animal mural, portraits of pets and stuffed toys. Crystal’s training certificates are well-displayed.

As mounds of orange and white fluff pile on the floor and grooming pad, Crystal nods toward Tango. “He’s awesome. But when we have to flip him over is when it gets hard.” Not to worry. Assistant Gina Scarborough steps in and helps gently roll Tango over on his back. Tango merely blinks. Garfield himself couldn’t be more unflappable.
Crystal recently honed her skills at a continuing education seminar in Dallas, where she also learned about nontoxic decorative coloring for pets’ coats. She is eager to try that out on her Standard Poodle at home. She also lives with four Jack Russell terriers, two Chihuahuas and a Dogue de Bordeaux.

Back to the belly, Crystal carefully bares another strip of skin. She knows one slip of the razor and Tango’s thin skin could be nipped, possibly resulting in a bad grooming experience.
“Not all (cats) are as relaxed as he is. But the less handling, the better; if you are calm, then they are calm.” Tango’s mom knows that she and her handsome cat friend will both feel better after the 30 minute grooming at the Paw Spa (add another 30 minutes for a bath and blow-dry). The haircut also helps reduce the fly-away shedding of fine hairs that float in the air. “He loves his lion haircuts,” Mom says.
“You should see how he prances and shows off.” Good enough for a little cat-dancing around the house?