Tails of the City dog salon in Vacaville expands

Originally Published in The Vacaville Reporter on November 2, 2016 By Kimberly K. Fu

Kimberly K. Fu — The Reporter Tinamarie Destefans, owner of Tails of the City dog salon in Vacaville, gives Romeo the cocker spaniel a bath during a routine grooming session.

Bathed, blow-dried and primped to perfection, a gaggle of doggies howled happily Wednesday during salon appointments at Tails of the City dog salon in Vacaville.
Many of them repeat clients, the adorable, freshly groomed canines were likely voicing their approval of the salon’s roomier digs.
As well as the business being named “Best Pet Groomer 2016” by way of the The Reporter’s annual “The Best Of“ contest.
In July, the 10-year-old operation at 807 Davis St. moved a few suites down into the space formerly occupied by Mid-Valley Veterinary Hospital, now known as PAWSH and located downtown.
It’s been great, officials said, for the doggies as well as the staff who pamper them.
“You can turn around (here),” said Meg Currier, a pet bather training to be a groomer. “Before, you would turn and bump into the next groomer. And, this is much fancier.”
As she rinsed Harley the German Shepherd of soap, she couldn’t help but gush about the roomier space.
“It’s so nice and calm in here,” she added, just as the pup decided to dry herself by shaking, and shaking, and shaking some more.
“Stubborn girl,” Currier cooed as she cuddled the grinning pooch and turned the waterworks on again.
Kimberly K. Fu — The Reporter Romeo the cocker spaniel mugs for the camera during his grooming session at Tails of the City dog salon on Davis Street in Vacaville.

Owner Tinamarie Destefans talked of the trials and tribulations of making the business successful. She had begun in the early 2000s with a salon in Napa and later opened another branch in Rio Vista. She had mobile units, too, and ultimately opened the Vacaville branch, which is now the only branch of the salon.
She learned lots along the way, business-wise, pet-wise, and more.
“People think it’s easy. It’s not,” she said.
There’s so much that goes into grooming, she said. You have to do it right or the dog — or you — can get hurt.
Success is finding a balance between being a sort of pet behaviorist/psychologist/knowing pet aesthetics so you know how to best groom each breed. And you also need excellent people skills to ensure pet parents are comfortable leaving their furry children in groomers’ hands.
She learned her trade in four months by watching and emulating another groomer. When she opened her salon, she played second fiddle for months to ensure she was up to speed with her skills.
As Destefans calmed and nurtured a gorgeous cocker spaniel named Romeo, she talked about finding the best staff, all independent contractors. Her goal is to have 10 independent pet groomers in the next few years, forming a community of groomers who love and care about what they do and who can support each other in a pinch.
Grooming, she said, has a lot to do with love, and treating each pet like they’re your own.
“I grew up around dogs and I love dogs. Never had a bad experience with them,” she shared.
Her secret to handling the pups? Being a dog whisperer, of sorts.
“I can look in their eyes and see what they’re thinking, what they’re going to do next,” she said.
Back in her old salon, space was limited, she remembered. They did what they could, but tiny was, well, tiny.
“We had a refrigerator and microwave in the front,” she recalled. “There was nowhere to sit.”
So when the Mid-Valley space opened up, she jumped at it.
There’s lots of sinks and tubs in the bathing bay, and tables of all sizes in the blow-dry area.
Each groomer’s room is spacious and gaily decorated, with comfy cages for canine clients to rest in while waiting their turn at beauty treatments.
Romeo finished his session with a nail filing, shearing and scissor-clipping. He was stylish and ready for action, no rest in a cage needed.
Harley was similarly primped, and still grinning following her primping.
Destefans said she’s always looking for good people with a great work ethic, love of animals, talent, excellent people skills and a desire for owning their own business.
She also had a message for the community.
“We love what we do and we want everyone in Vacaville to come here,” she said.
For more information, visit http://tailsofthecitydogsalon.com/.
The business is also on Facebook.
Kimberly Fu
Veteran newshound with @vacareporter, traded crime & adrenaline for the municipalities of Vacaville & Dixon. Kept the black coffee and occasional cigar.