tIf you have a dog, you’ve probably had him groomed at some point. (I’ve never had a fancy, grooming kind of dog, but even I have had mine professionally bathed. Pretty sure I took my dog after a skunk incident; I never went back to that particular grooming shop. But I digress.) Did you know that dog groomers in Oklahoma don’t have to be certified?

But Claremore is now home to a shop that is owned by a certified groomer, and her name is Mishelle Hancock. Mishelle is the owner of Tails-A-Wagn’ Professional Dog Grooming. If you’re thinking, “Oh, that’s the new shop over by Cappuccino Corner,” you’d be partially right. The location is new, but the business is definitely not.

Mishelle got her start in the grooming business several years ago. Her dad got a dog that needed grooming. Since Mishelle had pitched in and helped a friend with some grooming in the past, he asked her to take care of it. She figured since she would have to purchase all the necessary tools and equipment, she might as well offer to groom other dogs, too, and see what happened.

What happened is a thriving business that Mishelle ran out of her home in Rogers County for 14 years. She currently has approximately 1000 repeat referral clients. She has dogs that come to see her not only from Claremore, but Chelsea, Foyil, Inola, Pryor and even West Tulsa. She decided last year that to better serve her Claremore clients, she needed to be in Claremore. On December 1, 2013, the new 1100-square-feet location for Tails-A-Wagn’ opened at 900 E. Will Rogers.

Remember that certification I mentioned? In order to achieve that status, Mishelle completed 500 hours of training under licensed instructors. She successfully completed a written test, which focused heavily on the medical aspect of canines, and an oral exam, as well as practicals.

Mishelle is excited to be in her new location for many reasons. But she is especially pleased at the thought of being able to serve more clients, which in turn allows her to hire additional employees, which is great for Claremore. She currently has another groomer, Stephanie (who is also certified), and a bather, but will be looking to potentially hire two more groomers in the near future.

I had a pleasant visit with Mishelle. She is very down-to-earth and while it’s obvious she’s a dog-lover, she only has one bird dog at home. She keeps busy enough with other people’s dogs! When asked about her favorite part of her chosen profession, she said she enjoys playing with dogs all day, of course! She makes it a point to build relationships with her human clients, as she believes she can better serve the canine clients if she knows their humans. She loves meeting people, too, so this is another perk of her job.

Tails-A-Wagn’ is the only grooming shop in town to offer “free-range grooming,” in which the dogs get to run around freely in the shop, rather than being placed in cages. (If you prefer your dog to be separated, that’s an option, too; just ask.) It’s a perfect arrangement for playful pups who want to make some new friends.

Tails-A-Wagn’ is open Monday through Friday from 7a – 5:30p. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins may be available, depending on the day’s schedule. To schedule an appointment, call 918.341.1599. Prices range from $18 – $48. Follow Tails-A-Wagn’ on Facebook for more info!