Rim country pets and their owners have enjoyed 20 years of service from Furry Friends Kennels of Payson this month.
Owner Terry Murer started her grooming business in California, where she operated in La Jolla for four years, then moved to the Rim country. She first did grooming out of her home, beginning in 1978, then opened her shop on 810 S. McLane Road in 1984.
"I've been in the grooming business for 33 years," Murer said. "I'm originally from Ohio, which is where I learned to groom."
She said her favorite dog to groom is the poodle, "I learned on them. It's like artwork and the dogs are your canvas. They're movable artwork."
Murer does most of the grooming herself, with part-time assistance from Lisa Orozco.
Student Kourtney Johnson also helps with the grooming, doing the washing, drying and brushing. She is training to become a groomer.
Greeting clients at Furry Friends Kennels for the past two years has been Debi Shaffer, handling the visiting pets at the kennels are "Camp Counselors" Denise Couch and Susan Radimaker.
Murer said her kennel facilities can accommodate up to 10 cats, which she will also groom. She has 22 houses for dogs, all heated and cooled, accessing outdoor runs.
"We even have a woodstove (for the kennel area) in case the electricity goes off," Murer said.
A recent addition to her facility is a fenced play yard for the canine visitors. "Everyone gets to go out for an hour every day," she said.
Murer said she and her staff make a special effort to see that the pets they board enjoy themselves. Any time the kennel area is visited, all the dogs get a treat.
"We have a routine for them," she said. Some returning boarders have had such a good experience at Furry Friends Kennels they actually walk themselves back to the housing area.
"They all like it and that makes us feel good," Murer said. "It's a good place. All my people are wonderful."
She said they all treat the pets they groom and board as if they were their own.
"I love what I do," she said. "Every groomer should love what they do, because it's not a glamorous business."
Murer said she still looks forward to coming to work every day.
"I like seeing the dogs come in and visualizing how they will look when they're going out," she said.
Murer recommends people start having their puppies groomed as soon as they have had their last shots.
"The longer they wait, the harder it is," she said. "They (the pets) have to be groomed all their lives and I want it to be an enjoyable experience."
She said she will run the clippers to get puppies used to the sound, easing them into the grooming process.
Murer's methods have inspired customer loyalty over the years. Some of her clients are bringing their third dog to her.
"I certainly appreciate their confidence," she said, adding it is what has made it possible for her to stay in business for 20 years. Murer said that longevity is also what makes her shop different.
For more information, call (928) 474-4447. Furry Friends Kennels is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday.