Red Barn Dog Grooming puts focus on comfort, individual attention

There's a Facebook meme that says behind every good woman is a substantial amount of coffee and a good dog. For Nicole Mackinder, there are a substantial number of good dogs and maybe a cup of coffee or two.
 
Last fall, Mackinder opened Red Barn Dog Grooming and began offering personal care services for dogs that focus on healthy coats and skin.
 
"I groom dogs of all sizes," says Mackinder. "From 3-pound Yorkies to 100-pound rottweilers. Every dog and every breed is different. I enjoy them all."
 
Mackinder learned her dog handling skills from six years of work managing a small animal veterinary clinic in Eaton Rapids. She also learned to clip and trim man's-best-friend through an apprenticeship at Classy Canine in East Lansing.
 
Red Barn offers grooming by appointment in a clean, friendly and renovated space in Mackinder's home. Originally, she had planned to convert one of the two barns that sit on her property on Tomlinson Road, but her husband convinced her the garage could be just as cozy and easier to equip with grooming equipment and amenities.
 
Over the summer, Mackinder worked with her husband to line the interior of the 300-square-foot garage with barn-red exterior siding. Next, they installed a custom grooming table, raised washtub, kennel and waiting areas, and a small foyer for meeting with pet owners and dogs.
 
"It's pretty homey in here," says Mackinder. "We'll probably be putting in some new windows and doors to add to the look."
 
Mackinder says her goal is to provide low-stress services that put health and wellness first. She says she never has more than one or two dogs at a time, and takes her time to get to know the needs and temperament of each animal. She uses all-natural grooming products that promote healthy skin, and focuses on trimming and brushing techniques that maximize the comfort of the dog while removing mats or other tangles.
 
"It's called humanity before vanity," says Mackinder. "It's a well-known saying in today's grooming industry, and it's my philosophy 100 percent."
 
After each appointment, and with the owner's permission, Mackinder posts a photo of each fido with their "new do" to Facebook.
 
"As a groomer, you become attached to dogs rather quickly," says Mackinder. "It's important to remember that the dog may not have had grooming in mind that day and would rather be snuggling on the couch."
 
Source: Nicole Mackinder, Owner, Red Barn Dog Grooming
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
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