Wagging tails, big grins and bouncing steps characterize the demeanor of dogs as they enter and exit K-9 Tub Time in Ringgold.
"Most of my clients say 'My dog can't wait to see you and does not want to leave you,'" said K-9 Tub Time owner Debbie Price. "I like it when their tails are wagging."
The revolving door shepherds dirty dogs in and the sparkling clean version of them out.
"I want to show animals being groomed can be a good experience," said Price, a 30-year veteran vet technician. "My goal is for pets to run to the door instead of away from the door."
She said she helps train puppies to get groomed by allowing them enough time to get comfortable first. Although most of her clients are dogs and it's rare for a business to groom cats, she welcomes that challenge as well, she said.
Each pet is prepped, bathed and blown dry, all by hand and all by Price's family members. Then, Price's nephew or the other groomer comes in for finishing touches. People can also come in and personally bathe their own pets using one of two commercial bathtubs in the store.
Price is looking for one more groomer "because I have to turn away people each day." Her clients drive their pets to K-9 Tub Time from faraway places like Atlanta, Knoxville and Cleveland, she said, although many also come from homes in Ringgold.
"It's extremely busy," said Price. "I'm booked a month in advance."
Being named as one of North Georgia's Best of the Best by Chattanooga Times Free Press readers both in 2011 and 2012 has helped K-9 become a household name, she said. Price said she aims to make winning Best of the Best an annual tradition. She proudly displays this year's award beside her desk.
Other items on display throughout the store include complementary pet products such as collars, leashes, toys, pet outfits, treats, pet life jackets, booster seats, pet carriers and flea control in single doses for shoppers on a budget. Price said the flea and tick problem in the Ringgold area is horrendous this year, partly due to last year's tornado.
"I save a lot of coated breeds by teaching people how to take care of their pet," she said. "I educate people about brushing, bathing, interaction with their pet and flea control.
"I love to help people, especially the elderly because they are on fixed incomes and some go without meals to feed their pets. If an elderly person needs their pet groomed, I can help them out."
Price is a member of the Catoosa Citizens for Animal Care, which raises funds to pay medical bills and buy food for pet owners in need so they can keep their pets. She said the group helped disperse 20 tons of pet supplies last year to tornado victims.