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Groomer Spotlight: Valerie Dela Pena and Valz Pawfect Kutz

Groomers around the world inspire us. Their passion for pets and business consistently set the bar for the industry, which is why we'll be featuring stories from groomers like you in our monthly Barkmails. This month, we caught up with groomer Valerie Dela Pena of Valz Pawfect Kutz in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Valerie Dela Pena

GC: Tell us your grooming story.

VDP: I’ve been grooming family members’, friends’ and my own pets since I was about 16 years old. I never really thought of it as a career until about four years ago. I finally realized other types of jobs just weren’t for me and my passion, which is animals. I put myself in school to become a vet tech and came to the conclusion that the medical side wasn’t for me either. I’m a hands-on, face-rubbing, hugging, playing type of person with clients’ pets, not the reaper of bad news and just standing in the background.

I wanted to gain more knowledge and understanding on the grooming side of things and started taking grooming courses instead. I received my grooming certificate within the standard time and was self-taught. I opened up my home, became an in-home groomer and three years later, have a great, loyal handful of pawfriends and parents.

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GC: What interested you in becoming a groomer?

VDP: I’ve always been a crazy animal lover. I’ve had pets from lizards to rats to turtles to dogs. You name it, I’ve had it. I like to tell my clients that it wasn’t really me saving the pets, it’s your pets saving me every day with their warmth, energy and joy. They bring happiness to my heart and a smile to my face, and that I wouldn’t change for anything.


GC: On average, how many dogs/pets do you bathe and/or groom in a day?

VDP: On average, I bathe/groom anywhere from six to eight, including cats, in a day.


GC: How does grooming cats differ from grooming dogs?

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VDP: Grooming cats differs from dogs all the way around. Cats are not like dogs – they don't obey commands. They have their own reserved personalities. If they don't like something, they let you know right there and then, unlike dogs – who will give you at least a heads up or a warning.


GC: What are your go-to grooming products?

VDP: My go-to products are of course Groomer’s Choice brands – Bark2Basics Blueberry Shampoo, D-Mat Conditioner, Facial Scrub and the Salon Scents spray. My clients love it so much I even built a spa package around it, calling it ‘Everything Blueberry.’

GC: What is your favorite part about your job?

VDP: My favorite part about my job is getting to meet new pawfriends and their parents, learning their personalities and giving their parents a whole new look on their fur baby when it's time to pick them up. Especially the ones that I get told weren't ever allowed to get groomed because they are too aggressive.

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