When Rosemary Chubinski was young, she loved animals so much she wanted to become a veterinarian. But when she found out how long it would take to get a degree she decided that was not the path in life she wanted to take.
Then she saw an ad about learning to be a pet groomer and knew that was for her.
"I graduated from grooming school in 1969 in California," Chubinski said.
She'd been in the business for 10 years when she opened her shop, The Critter Clipper, in Payson -- 25 years ago. It was the first commercial pet grooming shop in the community, she said.
Her home was in a commercially zoned area, so she had her shop built on her property and has continued her business in the same location all these years -- 1017 Westerly Road.
With so many years in the business, she has a good handle on its ups and downs.
Her favorite dog to groom?
"Probably the poodle due to the challenges and the skills it requires," Chubinski said. "It shows off your ability as a groomer because there's lots of sculpting and scissor work."
In her early years as a groomer in California, Chubinski said she lived in North Hollywood and had the opportunity to work on the pets of a number of celebrities, such as those of Za Za Gabor, Rock Hudson and Eartha Kitt.
She works alone and can groom all breeds of dogs. Chubinski can still accept new clients, she said.
Her costs range from around $20 to give a small dog a bath to $125 for dogs between 150 and 175 pounds.
"Some take all day, some take 20 to 30 minutes," she said.
Chubinski has done clips for show dogs, but said usually people who show professionally have their own groomers."I can do custom clips and long scissor work," Chubinski said.
But her first concern is the safety and health of the dogs for which she cares.
"I will not brush out a matted dog and make it bleed," she said.
"Grooming is a real necessity of health for dogs."
"Once I had this poor dog that was so matted its skin tore when it moved and there were maggots in its wounds. It died before we could get it to the vet," she said.
That might be one of the worst situations she has come across, but she has also found tumors, fish hooks and collars imbedded in dogs' necks.
"I do doggy first aid and can advise my customers when they should see their vet. There have been several cases where a dog's life has been saved."
Chubinski's shop is open from 9 a.m. to whenever she is done, which is usually around 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
"For years, I was the only shop opened on Saturday," she said.
Name: Rosemary Chubinski
Occupation: Owner and operator of The Critter Clipper
Birthplace: Monrovia, Calif.
Family: Daughter and two grandchildren in Flagstaff
Personal motto: Live for today
Inspiration: My daughter inspires me to keep going.
Greatest feat: Losing 100 pounds.
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Singing with the Payson Choral Society since 1990 -- I'm a charter member.
Three words that describe me best are ... Independent, caring and funny.
I don't want to brag, but ... I'm the best groomer in town.
The person in history I'd most like to meet is: Andrea Bocelli
Luxury defined: Laying in a hammock between two palm trees on a white, sandy beach with buffed-up fan boys surrounding me.
Dream vacation spot: A tropical island.
Why Payson? Because it's rural and it's like the town I grew up in and a great place to raise my daughter.