The Groomer // The Salon // Check-in // The Bath // The Grooming // Check-out
Shopping // Veterinary Concerns // Service & Price List

Groomer Bio

photo courtesy of Dale Churchill

  Vania Velotta began her career as a pet professional in 1994, working at a boarding kennel, where she learned to tune out the cacaphony of dozens of barking dogs (one of the most important skills a pet professional can develop!). Vania has a long history of volunteering with animal rescue groups and rehabilitating "behaviorally challenged" dogs and cats. A Biology major in college, with minors in Chemistry and English, she spent time as a veterinary assistant in a busy practice, where she developed her pet health and wellness observational skills. Vania took her first professional grooming job in 1998, where she apprenticed under three very talented groomers.

After graduation, Vania spent a few years working as a web and graphic designer. Then she went back to grooming, full-time. She developed speed and accuracy and learned about breed profiles and balance in a high-volume, high-pressure environment, consistently stepping up to take on the challenges of working with special needs pets in particular -- including neglected, fearful, aggressive, and senior pets -- and developing positive relationships with both pets and clients. From the time she was a small child, Vania has always had a great love for all animals and a fearless need to get right up close to them. Over the years, the intuitive skills she developed as a natural animal whisperer and as an artist have been supplemented and expanded by intensive study, quite a bit of trial and error, and an unyielding drive to understand and constantly refine and improve that understanding.

She has been called "Dr. Doolittle" and "The Cat Whisperer." Her success in handling comes from experience not only in addressing health and behavioral issues but in recognizing warning signs as well and dealing with them before they develop into real problems. Vania believes in improving the human-animal bond through sharing experience and information with other pet owners, evaluating and treating pets and their people as individuals with individual needs, and ... what was the last one?

Oh yeah, great-looking haircuts!

With a keen aesthetic eye, a steady hand, and a unique affinity with animals, she will take great care of you and your 'kids!' Email Vania at

The salon

  Vania Velotta opened K9 Design in September 2006 with the goal of creating a salon environment where pets and their people can feel comfortable and cared for. Our emphasis is on health, happiness, and beauty -- in that order. We also strive to maintain a low-stress atmosphere for our staff, to develop positive long-term relationships with our clients, and to provide education to create and maintain great relationships between pets and their people! We specialize in working with nervous and aggressive animals and turning a history of bad grooming experiences into a future of happy ones. We take pride in our expertise and are committed to life-long learning and teaching.

We work with all breeds, all coat types. We especially enjoy working with less common breeds and profiles. We are a maintenance grooming facility. Excessive dematting is not part of our regular service plan. We are happy to "rescue" a matted animal with a short shave down but we greatly prefer to do the haircut before mats begin to develop! We ask our clients to commit to a grooming schedule and an at-home maintenance schedule that prevents excessive tangling. We are happy to work with you to determine how best to achieve your aesthetic goals for your pets within the confines of any special health or comfort issues, budget, lifestyle considerations, and your ability to commit to ongoing care. We offer free handouts and in-person advice on at-home maintenance and training issues for any client who needs it!

Checking in   Drop-off times are available through the morning and afternoon up until 2:00pm. All animals must be kept on a leash or in a carrier - if you need to borrow one, leave your pet in the car and borrow one from us. This is for everyone's safety! Please remember to potty your dog before you walk in the door. There is a designated area across the parking lot with pick-up bags and a trash receptacle.

If it's your first visit, we'll collect some information about you, your pet, and your grooming needs. Please let us know if your pet has any special medical or dietary issues when you drop him off.
The first step in a happy grooming experience is your arrival. Be calm and confident when you walk in the door. Great trainers will tell you, "Tension travels down the leash." Even if your animal is nervous, if he sees and senses that you are not, he'll start to feel much more comfortable about the whole process.
Feel free to browse our grooming portfolio for ideas or let us suggest a style for you. If you've been here before, this is your opportunity to let us know if you'd like something done differently. Our goal is for every groom to be perfect - for your pet's health, for your lifestyle, and of course, the look! - but it doesn't happen every time. Every owner and every pet is different, so the key is communication.

If you need a specific pick-up time, please let us know. We prefer to call you when your pet is finished. This allows us flexibility in managing our day and giving each pet the proper amount of time. If we give you a time estimate, please remember that it's an estimate. You are welcome to call us at any time to check up on your pet. The average length of stay is about 4 - 5 hours, but this can vary greatly.

The bath & blow-dry   Your pet's "day at the spa" usually starts with a bath. We have a variety of shampoos, conditioners, and grooming sprays at our disposal and a great deal of expertise in selecting the right products for your pet.

Next is the drying process. This can take from 15 minutes to several hours depending on your pet's coat. Most pets will spend at least some time in a drying cage with a warm dryer (and most find this quite relaxing). Many pets are hand-dried (or "fluff dried") on the grooming table as well. Rarely a pet may go home slightly damp -- if time is short or your pet is very stressed -- and we'll let you know if this is the case. Most long-haired cats go home less than dry because of their knack for curling up and preserving wet spots! Once home, relaxed and spread out, your pet will dry very quickly.

The Grooming   The grooming process involves all of the brushing, clipping, and scissoring that your pet needs.
The best way to prevent matting in any pet is to comb them regularly with a metal 'greyhound' style comb. Brushes are great for fluffing and terrific for teasing out tangles, but they will skate right over a mat. You won't even know it's there! Also, water can easily turn a tangle into an unbrushable mat. If you're bathing your pet at home, be sure to condition well and thoroughly comb them either before or after the bath.
Also included with the grooming is nail trimming, ear cleaning, and a sanitary area clean-up. Ear plucking and anal glad expression are performed as needed. Additional services such as nail filing, nail polish, and teeth brushing are free, but you must request them. We like to finish our dog grooms with a fragrance spray and bandanna or bows. Let us know if you'd prefer we skipped that step.

While we do really want our clients to be thrilled with their grooming, our priority is your pet's health and comfort. We reserve the right to shave mats as needed! If your pet is too tangled to brush out within a reasonable amount of time and without an unreasonable amount of stress for your pet, we have a responsiblity to take off as much length as we need to in order to achieve zero tangle. If that's the case, we'll try to contact you first to let you know. Also, aggressive or otherwise high-stress pets may receive a less than perfect groom. We take our responsibility to the health and well-being of your pet very seriously. Please trust our judgement! Most pets learn to accept grooming calmly; sometimes it takes time to achieve this and we'll let you know what you can do at home to help the process along.

Checking out   When you come to pick up your pet, we'll charge you out (we accept major methods of payment including Visa and Mastercard). If there are any health or other issues we noticed, we'll talk to you about it at this time. Also, if you'd like to preschedule your next appointment(s) you can do so at that time. Not sure when you'll need to come back? We can recommend a good time schedule for maintenance. Then we'll bring out your baby. It's a chaotic reunion, but if you notice something you want shortened (beard, tail, etc), let us know. We can usually trim it up on the spot. If you notice something when you get home, call us within 2 days to schedule a quick trim (at no charge, of course).

We try very hard to finish on time and we appreciate it if you also try very hard to pick up before closing time. If there is an emergency and you know you're going to be late, please do us the courtesy of calling us.

Retail   We strive to offer fun and unique products for dogs and cats as well as essential tools for at-home grooming. In addition to collars and leashes, we offer pet couture, beds, training videos, toys, treats, and more. You and your pets are welcome to browse at any time during open hours. If there's something we don't have, please let us know and we can usually order it for you!

Veterinary concerns   A very common question asked of groomers is, "Do you sedate?" The short answer is absolutely not! Groomers are not legally allowed to sedate. If an animal requires sedation, it must be done by a licensed veterinarian. If your veterinarian has prescribed sedatives for your pet, you must be the one to administer them. We very, very rarely recommend sedation. We greatly prefer to find a way to groom even the most difficult animals without it and are usually very successful -- even with animals who have been turned away by other groomers. We use a variety of restraining techniques and positive training to accomplish this. The key to working with most animals is to work with them, not to fight with them, and to make the experience as calming as possible. If you feel that your animal may need sedation, please allow us to attempt to work our magic first! If we are unable to groom them the first time, we'll talk to you about what steps to take next.

In case of an emergency, please make sure that we have a contact number where you or someone you trust can be reached. Our first responsibilty is to the health of your animal and if they appear to be in distress, we will contact you immediately.
We highly recommend Advantage as a safe and effective flea treatment and preventative. You can only get authentic Advantage from a licensed veterinarian. Visit for more information about Advantage. We do not recommend flea dips, sprays, and bombs -- these products are much less effective and often contain toxic ingredients. For your pet's safety, we urge you to consult your veterinarian for the best products to treat fleas and other parasites and never use 'over the counter' remedies!
If we notice a less urgent issue (ie. parasites, abnormal urine, unhealthy weight, strong odors or discharge, etc) we will let you know when you pick up your pet. We strongly encourage you to have any problems checked out by your veterinarian as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that we are not licensed to diagnose disease or suggest treatment! We can only offer our observations and opinions based on experience.

Your animals are required by law to be vaccinated against rabies. We strongly recommend that you follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding other vaccinations and preventative treatments for the protection of your pet. However, we do not require proof of vaccination. Please let us know if your pet is not completely vaccinated. We strive to maintain veterinary levels of cleanliness and sterility at all times, but we take additional levels of precaution for animals at higher risk. If your pet is not completely vaccinated or if you know your animal has a communicable disease (including fleas!) let us know at the time you make your appointment and also when you drop off and pick up. We will schedule you to come in at a less busy time. We also recommend that you carry those animals into the shop if possible and do not put them down on the floor or counters (including young puppies and kittens who have not received their full series of shots).

Price list  
The following conditions may limit your grooming options:

1. If your pet is physically uncomfortable because of age, injury, or any other reason.
2. If your pet's coat is tangled or matted.
3. If your pet is aggressive.

We reserve the right to stop grooming at any point in the process if we feel it is too risky or uncomfortable for pets or staff to continue. We reserve the right to adjust haircut lengths to prevent future mats and we reserve the right to remove mats humanely, which usually means shaving. We appreciate your cooperation in developing a grooming program that makes your pet's well-being the top priority.

Full grooming includes bath, nails, ears, brush out, haircut, cologne, and bows or bandanna. We always check anal glands on small dogs unless otherwise instructed. Anal gland expression is available for medium and large dogs by request. Please consult your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns about your pet's anal glands. We also pluck the hair from the ear canal as needed. We have an excellent line of products for bathing, conditioning, and finishing your pet. Let us know any special coat or skin issues your pet has and we will select the most appropriate products for best results. We encourage you to bring your own veterinarian-recommended shampoos for pets with special health issues. We do not charge extra for using any of our specialty products or services because we want every pet to get the most appropriate treatment available so they can look and feel their best. This is also the reason we do not offer "bath only" service (although an easier grooming will be priced lower than an extensive one).

BreedStylePrice range
CatBath and brush out....$40 - $50
Lion clip....$50 - $60
Chihuaha, Beagle, Pug, Basset HoundBath and brush out....$38 - $40
Yorkie, Shih tzu, MalteseShave....$38 - $42
Puppy or Pattern....$38 - $42
Drop coat....$40 - $50
Toy and Miniature PoodleShave....$38 - $42
Puppy or Pattern clip....$38 - $45
Designer clips....$40 - $60
Bichon FriseShave....$38 - $45
Puppy cut....$40 - $50
Bichon clip....$50 - $60
Cocker, Miniature and Standard SchnauzerShave....$38 - $45
Puppy cut....$38 - $50
Breed clip....$38 - $50
Labrador RetrieverBath and brush....$45 - $55
Shave....$55 - $65
Golden Retriever, German ShepherdBath and neaten....$48 - $65
Shave....$55 - $70
Puppy cut....$50 - $70
Standard Poodle, LabradoodleShave....$50 - $60+
Puppy cut....$60 - $80
Designer clip....$780 - $100+
Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, SamoyedBath and neaten....$70 - $100+
Shave....$70 - $100+
Puppy cut....$70 - $100+

Drop-in services available include nail trims, ear cleaning, sanitary clips, and comb-outs for small pets. You do not need an appointment, but do call ahead to make sure we are available. These services are performed while you wait and are intended for in-between grooming maintenance for reasonably well-kept, cooperative pets.

Nail trimTrimming of all nails for your dog or cat.$7.00
Anal gland expressionAvailable to dogs only. We can peform external anal gland expression while you wait. May not be possible for large, overweight, uncooperative, or dogs with gland health concerns. Please consult your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns about your pet's anal glands!$7.00
Ear cleaningWe can flush and clean your dog or cat's ears to remove debris and help prevent infection. Ear plucking is included with this service for pets who need it. We do not guarantee a 100% clean ear, especially for pets with existing infections, sensitivity, or lack of cooperation!$7.00
Sanitary trimWe offer a sanitary trim for small dogs and cats that includes trimming the following areas as needed: the "potty areas," eyes, and pads of feet. There may be an additional charge for pets with excessive gunk around these areas or who are not cooperative. Please note that shaving without bathing carries more risk of causing itching or irritation for your pet.$7.00
Golden feetTrimming the hair in the pads and between the toes for a neat, shapely foot. Not just for Goldens!$10.00
Comb-outMaintenance combing for small dogs (15 lb max) and cats to prevent matting. If your pet is already matted, you will need to schedule a full grooming. Your pet may not be eligible for this service if they are overly aggressive or otherwise difficult to handle.$20.00

Prices are subject to change without notice. Due to the difficulty in predicting exactly how difficult it will be to groom an animal, especially on their first visit, we do not guarantee that price you are quoted (in the phone or in person) will be the actual price charged. Prices may vary for individual pets from one groom to the next due to changes in coat length, condition, and behavior.
©2006-2014 K9 Design Dog and Cat Grooming, LLC