Local residents may have noticed a new van driving around the Peninsula, with big orange paw prints marching across the white paint. The van belongs to Peninsula Paw Spaw, a new service to local residents and their pampered pets. Peninsula Paw Spaw is mobile pet grooming, bringing full service pet care to a person’s driveway.

Danielle Young grooms “Skipper” a poodle/terrier mix in her custom-made van parked outside a customer’s home. Photo by Mindi LaRose

Paw Spaw owner Danielle Young, a Pierce County native, is a former Key Pen resident who returned to the area recently. Young had moved to Wauna with her mother in time to attend Key Peninsula Middle School. Even though the family moved around the Pacific Northwest a bit over the years, they always returned to vacation in this area.

Young learned to groom pets when she was 12 years old as a part of her 4-H experience. As an adult she has more than 10 years of experience in professional pet care, having worked at both Petco and Petsmart. She is certified with the International Society of Canine Cosmetology and is a member of the National Dog Groomers Association of America, Inc.

Peninsula Paw Spaw is not her first business. Several years ago she traveled with her family to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to establish and operate a pet grooming service at a family member’s kennel business.

A year ago, with the pet grooming service fully established and others trained to operate that portion of the business, Young and her family eagerly returned to the Key Peninsula and made their home in Lake Holiday. Her 7-year-old son attends Vaughn Elementary School. Young says they returned to the Key Peninsula “because it’s beautiful, full of memories, the people are nicer and we enjoy the calmer pace of living out here.”

When first returning to the Peninsula, Young considered how to best serve the area in the pet service business. She knew she wanted to have a grooming shop, but considered several issues with regard to pets and the local demographics. Her first consideration was to have a cageless shop.

“It provides a calmer atmosphere for the pets where they are not sitting in a scary kennel cage listening to other nervous and frightened pets barking and crying,” she said.

Young noted that because of the rural setting of this Peninsula and the neighboring Kitsap County, mobile service makes more sense and allows her to serve more people and their pets. “Also, the Peninsula has a large population of elderly pet owners and it is difficult for many of them to load their pets in the car, drive somewhere to drop them off and then have to drive back to retrieve their pets,” she said. “Many who cannot do that either have to rely on someone else to do it for them, or deny their pets specialized care.”

Young has plans to expand her business to include specialty pet products, which she will also deliver to her customers in addition to her mobile grooming services.

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