May 23 — “Is it a goat?”
“Is anyone walking a dragon?”
…and other similar questions can often be heard at events around Hunt County when the colorful, costumed canine representatives of Quinlan-based pet grooming service Dawg Gone Dirty make an appearance.
“It’s something we started doing when we started using dyes made by OPAWZ, which are vegetable-based and safe to use,” said Tricia Ricketts, owner of Dawg Gone Dirty. “We started out simple with things like dying one of our clients’ dogs (a poodle named Prince) to look like he was wearing a Santa costume for a Christmas party.
“While we don’t do this too often for our customers, it’s fun to play dress up and the dogs love the extra attention they get,” Ricketts added.
At events over the past few years, such as Bras for the Cause and Hunt County Comic Expo, one of Ricketts’ associates, Beth Thomison, has served as something of an ambassador for the grooming service and has often been seen walking around one of his dogs. , elaborately costumed as fantastical creatures.
For Halloween in 2019, she trimmed and dyed the fur of her greyhound mix, Jack, and adorned him with horns as Kirin, who she described as a “unicorn in Japanese mythology.” The design, which she based on a Japanese beer mascot, was developed over two years.
“It’s a good feeling when you’ve been planning something for so long and it’s going the way you want it to, and when you show it to people, pretty much all you hear is ‘wow,'” Thomison said. .
Another of Thomison’s creations that turned a lot of heads at public events was his Halloween 2021 project, when his Russian Greyhound, Melody, was made to look like the Pokemon, Houndoom. To complete the effect, Thomison dressed up as the main Pokémon protagonist, Ash Ketchum.
While Thomison’s elaborate designs have garnered their fair share of attention, she also started off relatively simple when she started working at Dawg Gone Dirty after retiring from the US Air Force. It was then that she became interested in entering dog grooming contests, and she dyed a Celtic knot pattern into her dog’s fur, Jargon’s, and ended up coming second in a contest. international.
When Thomison decided to try her hand at grooming competitive dogs, she also encouraged her boss, Ricketts, to get involved. At that same international competition, Ricketts received an honorable mention for designing a flaming phoenix on his dog’s back.
This year, Thomison’s kirin design and Ricketts’ phoenix design are featured in OPAWZ’s annual publication, titled iFashion.pet
Although the grooming service is proud of the recognition it has received for the “extreme” grooming of dogs, it is humble and values the relationships it has developed in its regular daily work with people and their dogs.
“We have a lot of repeat customers,” Ricketts said. “We opened our doors in 2007, and we’ve taken care of some dogs for their entire lives, from when they were puppies until they passed away, and now we’re taking care of their owners’ new dogs.”
The laid back, family atmosphere of their business is one of the things that helps create that bond between the staff at Dawg Gone Dirty and their customers.
“When people come here, they can see all these dogs from different homes getting along and playing, and a lot of them can’t believe it,” Ricketts said. “The thing is, here the dogs get a little break from guarding their homes and families and they can just relax, have fun and ‘be dogs’.”