Pet owners seek grooming for rats
(10/21/05 - LA VERNE, CA) -- Karri Garrison is getting rid of that cliche about dirty rats one rodent at a time. Grooming isn't just for dogs anymore, and many pet owners are bringing in their rats to groomers like Garrison, who uses waterless shampoo to make their coats shine and smell sweet.
Customers at Katie's Pet Depot in La Verne, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, began requesting rat grooming soon after the store opened nearly two years ago. Employees began researching rats and even adopted some.
"We need to be there for all our clients," Garrison said. "I think we might be the only place around that grooms rats."
One of the clients was named Jewel, a half-pound, white-and-yellow hooded rat owned by a local high school student. The $10 treatment included clipping her claws, spraying her with the waterless shampoo, and using a product that kills fleas and mites.
Garrison and two other employees, Laurie Torres and Gloria Ferguson, also groom guinea pigs, mice, and rabbits.
They said small pets can bring big challenges.
"The most difficult part of grooming rats is trimming their nails," Garrison said. "They have very small feet."
Ferguson recommends pet owners get their animals groomed at least once a month to protect them from parasites.
"I love rats," she said. "It's an obsession to me. Sometimes when they get nervous they (urinate) but they don't usually bite. We know how to handle them because that's what we do."
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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