It’s hard to miss Paw Prints Salon. The pet grooming salon’s dark green and burgundy exterior sticks out like a sore thumb on Horner Street. And then there’s the barking.
On a regular day, you’re likely to find about eight dogs running around playfully inside. While there are kennels at the shop, owner Lesley Curry prefers her furry clients to socialize when they can.
“It’s more calm for the dogs. They’re not feeding off the stress of other dogs,” said Curry, a pet groomer and animal expert for more than 15 years. “People always say ‘Fluffy doesn’t like other dogs,’ but Fully will have a great time here.”
While Paw Prints is tucked away off the main strips in Old Alvarado, there’s no shortage of clients for Curry and her small team.
The local business has been one of Union City’s best-kept secrets for two and a half years, and for good reason — Curry takes care of each customer’s pet as if it were her own.
“These are people’s babies,” she said.
According to Curry, Paw Prints sees up to 150 clients a week with customers coming from throughout the Bay Area and as far as Manteca.
The business has received four-and-a-half stars and rave reviews on Yelp. One customer wrote that when he asks his dog if he wants to go for a bath, the dog jumps right in the car. “It’s like a visit to the dog park for him,” the Yelp user said.
Paw Prints offers complete salon service. Groomers cut their hair, bathe them with hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner, and clip their nails and more.
Prices range from $60 to $100 for most lap dogs and more for larger dogs.
Paw Prints also acts as a rescue shelter. Curry will keep one rescue dog at a time at the salon, take care of it, and try to find a home for it.
She recently rescued Cora, a white Chihuahua who she found near the salon without any tags. Cora wasn’t spayed and was covered with fleas, Curry said. She cleaned her up and took her to get shots. She was still available for adoption in mid-December.
Curry chalks up Paw Prints’ success to her and her groomers’ experience.
A lifelong pet lover, the 34-year-old started working for various groomers when she was 19 and worked five years in a veterinary hospital before opening her first shop in 2010 on Union City Boulevard. She moved to her current space on Horner Street in 2011.
“It’s hard to find a good dog groomer,” Curry said. “There’s no regulation. Anyone can open up a shop out of their garage and you’ll have no idea how they were trained.”
What’s more, Curry understands animal behavior, and isn’t afraid to work with the “aggressive” dogs that others won’t.
“You’ve got to know dog behavior. You’ve got to know why a dog is doing what he’s doing,” said Curry, who currently owns a Doberman and a Boston terrier and had two pit bulls in the past.
“If we can groom the dog, we’ll do it. We don’t discriminate,” Curry said.
Paw Prints Salon is located at 3986 Horner St. in the Old Alvarado district of Union City. For more information, visit www.pawprintssalon.net.