New green groomer rolls in


Local marketing professional Greg Robeson has closed his longtime agency to follow two of his greatest passions: dogs and the environment.

Oct 1, Robeson launched Green Whiskers, an earth-friendly mobile pet salon featuring technology that uses up to 90% less water than traditional methods. He began planning the business last year after attempting to schedule mobile grooming for his family’s Golden Retriever, Sally.

After receiving a call-back from just one groomer — which was booked for months — Robeson researched and confirmed a need for more local mobile groomers. He also discovered a grooming system that injects cleaning solution directly onto the fur and skin and then suctions the moisture, using less than one gallon of water (traditional shampooing can use up to 10). Best of all, the technology feels like a massage.

Robeson is committed to a calm, pampering canine experience and outstanding results thanks to an award-winning show groomer. Also in the wings —grain-free vegan cookies that in tests are getting great reviews.

Following the launch of Green Whiskers, Robeson plans to add more mobile salons in the coming years. In support of this, he is hosting a unique GoFundMe campaign, seeking a total of $15,000 from 30 dog lovers who will receive a year’s worth of free grooming.

Learn more at

Keepin' it clean

We’re getting plenty of rain now, and most owners are now experiencing the woes of muddy/wet paw prints all over the house.  Here are some quick tips and training ideas to keep your pooches’ feet clean.

Get the right gear!

Set yourself up for success with wet weather accessories such as absorbent mats, dog booties, and rain coats. 

Absorbent Mats

These are great during the winter. Place one mat outside the door and one inside so your dog walks over both. The Dog Gone Smart Dirty Dog Doormat is a great addition inside, and I have taught my dogs how to spin in circles on the rug after they come in. Instructions below.


Yes, I said it: dog booties. Not only will they keep your dog’s feet warm, they can also help keep your house clean. Throw some on before you let your dog outside — muddy paw problem solved!

Rain Coats

Suit them up before sending them outside or going for walks. It keeps the body dry and minimizes wet dog smell and excess drying time.  


Keep a basket of towels near the door for easy access during winter. I prefer a small wash cloth or hand towel for drying paws because they fit easily into my hand.

Training Games

Now that you’ve set yourself up for success and have everything you need in place, make cleaning your dog’s feet part of your daily routine!

Spin the doggie

If you have a dog who loves to tug, keep a tug toy and an absorbent mat near the door. When your dog comes inside, play a good game of tug and spin them around on the rug a few times. It’s an easy way to clean their feet and they love it!

Teach your dog to spin

Keep a jar of treats by the door and whenever every time your dog comes inside, tuck a treat into your hand and lure him or her around in circles. Do one circle, then feed one treat. Repeat 2-3 more times with the treat still in your hand, then do 2-3 more without a treat in your hand, holding your hand in the same position both ways. When the dog completes the spin feed a treat. This will teach your dog to spin with just the hand signal. E-mail me for a video on teaching a spin with a lure at

Happy Feet

If you would rather teach your dog to enjoy having his or her feet cleaned with a towel, keep a jar of treats and a towel by the door. Every time your dog comes inside and comes to you on the mat, immediately feed one treat. Then wipe one paw and feed one treat. Repeat this with the remaining 3 paws, one swipe, one treat. Repeat this process every time your dog comes inside. Gradually you will begin to wipe two paws before giving a treat, then three, until eventually you can do all four for one treat at the end.  

If you have questions or need more tips, ideas, or videos on any of the exercises above, please e-mail and we will happily send you more information. Have a clean winter!

Jennifer Biglan, owner of Training Spot in Eugene, OR, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner in Eugene, OR. She knew she wanted to work with animals at a young age. After graduating from the U of O and volunteering at a dog shelter, she found her calling. Jennifer is well known through the community, and by many area veterinarians for her work in solving behavior problems, and she has extensive knowledge and background training dogs. Learn more about Training Spot at or e-mail

Is shaving (your pet) a good idea?

Shaving your pet (usually dogs but some shave or consider shaving cats) is a controversial subject among pet owners, groomers, and even veterinarians. Many breed-specific organizations and the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) recommend against shaving, the ASPCA for these reasons:

•   Your pet's coat is to its body what insulation is to your home, keeping   it warm in winter and cool in summer.

• An animal's coat protects against sunburn and skin cancer. Pets with thin, white or light-colored coats are especially vulnerable to sun damage.

• There are better practices than shaving, such as trimming and brushing, especially during warm weather.

To dig into the matter, visit, where you’ll find a full-length article on shaving, as well as pages of reader comments for and against.

Dr. Becker of also writes on the subject, including this outtake: 

Consider Your Dog's Personality When Deciding Whether to Shave

Groomers, animal welfare workers, veterinarians like me, and many pet guardians have seen two very different scenarios play out after a dog has been shaved. The first involves a dog who has been shaved for a good reason — for example, a raging skin infection — who reacts badly to having all her hair removed. Collies, in particular, often behave as though someone has stripped away their superpowers. They become depressed, upset, and even sad.

The flipside is a dog that enjoys having his coat removed. After being shaved, these dogs behave as though they've been set free from hair bondage! They act happier and friskier. As the groomer wields her razor, the dog comes alive, which is a really interesting phenomenon! However, it's important to note that these dogs aren't happy because they're cooler. They simply prefer short hair just as many humans do.

Becker also discusses how a dog’s lifestyle pertains to the question ‘to shave or not to shave.’  Learn more at

Getting a grip on grooming

Understanding a little about pet grooming and what a groomer can actually do (or not) can make a big difference in the experience — for pet parents, groomers, and even the furry ones.

Here we focus on pets with medium to long coats, and examine pet grooming as a formula.

Desired coat length

Some pets like to be brushed, some don’t.   If yours does not, a shorter cut is a good idea.  There are many cute short cuts that may work for your best friend.  

If you love the look of a long or fluffy coat, it’s important to keep your pet well groomed before the fur becomes matted.  When matting does happen, it usually requires cutting the fur very short.  And while your groomer loves sending pets home looking great, matting can make that impossible.  To avoid your friend’s coat reaching this point, start thinking groomer the minute you notice any matting.  At that point a groomer can likely work their magic with wonderful results.

TIP on matting

Mats are like cotton jeans — they shrink and tighten when washed.   It’s best to NOT bathe a pet with any matting until the tangles can be brushed out or a grooming session is possible.

Brushing — how often, how long

The more regularly and generously you brush, the better results your groomer can get and maintain. 

The average furry darlin’ needs a thorough brushing — meaning you can part the fur and see skin — about three times a week.  Of course those who indulge in rolling around in smells often need more frequent brushing.

Types of brushes

There are many types of brushes.  You need one that will get to the soft, fuzzy undercoat next to the skin, as that’s where most matting starts.  Pets with longer fur tend to get tangles in the longer, more permanent fur.  All dogs shed at least twice a year.  With most pets living in nice warm homes, they tend to shed more.


Not all shampoos work on all pets.  If you think your pet is matting faster or seems so dirty baths are needed more frequently, try either diluting your shampoo 50% with water or try a different shampoo.

When to groom

The average pet needs grooming about every six to eight weeks.  By then the fur is starting to grow thick around the eyes and under the tail, which are areas best left to a groomer.  As mentioned earlier, if you notice tangled spots, it’s time.

Groomers can help your pet experience grooming as a positive.  It’s challenging when pets repeatedly arrive in bad shape, as each session takes a fair amount of time, taxing a critter’s patience and making the experience more dreaded than enjoyed.

Nails matter

People are often surprised when they learn not every client comes for full grooming.  Some just need a nail trim, and yes:  it’s just as important as maintaining a healthy coat.  Many dogs need regular trims, as without them, nails grow long and curved, eventually creating discomfort and even pain. 

Some pets just need minor touch-ups, like trimming the fur under the eyes or tail.  Fur around the feet can need clipping too, to help with a pup’s traction on wood or tile flooring, and also reduce dirt tracked in from outside.

Groomers can and want to be a valuable member of the support team your family trusts.  Like the family doctor, the best groomers know (and love) their clients well, keep track of past and present care, and even keep an eye out for changes that might flag a concern.  The more pet parents understand grooming and what groomers are up against, the better they can facilitate the relationship and routines that provide the highest level of care and comfort for their pets.

Did you know?

Most groomers don’t take a pet from start to finish without giving the pet breaks.  This helps the pet stay relaxed, whether through a regular grooming, or a lengthier, more involved session.

Pets are creatures of habit, and most do better at the groomers if given a short walk before arriving.  Like with kids (and some grown-ups), a bit of activity and perhaps a last little emptying is a good thing.

Any pet going in for grooming should have current vaccinations.  An important fact to note:  most vaccinations become effective in protecting a pet three days AFTER they’re administered. 

Most veterinarians recommend puppies not go to a groomer or anyplace with groups of dogs until after their third set of vaccinations, at about three months of age.

Flea treatments administered on the neck should be applied either a week before or one to two days after a bath.

Janis Stange is owner/operator of Jackie’s Clip Joint in Portland and a longtime pet parent.







Here, Kitty Kitty

Have you ever given your cat a bath?

I have, many times.

And the cat in question was not my easygoing Tabby, Mack, or my “I’ll do anything because I am just so scared,” Clio. The cat who received so many baths was Snowball.  My fearless, outgoing, hate-everyone-but-you cat who passed many years ago.  Snowball would scare visitors with her “piss and vinegar” attitude, yowling if they got to close.  She was more talk than action — her vocalizations were more than enough to cause friends to give her a wide berth.

Animal Hospital driven by family and community


First in Cat Grooming and 2nd in both Veterinary Practice and Cat Medical prove Murrayhill Veterinary Hospital in Beaverton, OR is loved by the people! And the wins continued . . . three 5th place wins included Dr. Laird Goodman for Veterinarian, and the hospital for Cat Boarding and Dog Grooming. Murrayhill also made Top 10 for Cat Daycare.

Fostering the human/animal bond and emphasizing preventative care are hallmarks of Murrayhill. “We feel very honored and fortunate to be recognized, both the hospital and the people who work here,” says Goodman of the Top Dog Awards.

The doctor credits the many wins to the core values Murrayhill lives by. He says it’s all the little things adding up — compassion, enhancing the human/animal bond, client education, progressive medicine and diagnostics, proactive care, as well as what he calls his “Mayo clinic” of a team.

Goodman started practicing at North Portland Veterinary in the early ‘90s where he says he was mentored along with other notable local veterinarians. He and Murrayhill's other four doctors serve on numerous veterinary advisory boards and organizations such as the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, Oregon Humane Society and Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society).

A fun tidbit from Goodman’s earlier years — he was an on-staff veterinarian during the filming of Homeward Bound, a remake of the popular Disney classic. This meant consulting on and caring for the many animals on set — including “three Sassys (the cat), four Chances (the Bulldog), and five Shadows (the Golden Retriever),” he noted. How do multiple animals convincingly portray one character? Makeup!

Of Murrayhill’s Joni MacDonald, 1st place Cat Groomer, Laird he says he is amazed. At Murrayhill for nearly 20 years, rather than “groomer,” MacDonald refers to herself as a “pet hairstylist.”

Family- and community-driven, Murrayhill gives back by providing pro bono services to homeless pets, OHS foster animals, and time and financial support to the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon.

To learn more about this Top Dog, and its award-winning staff and services, at - Vonnie Harris

Portland’s First Dog Wash is Top Dog in 3 Categories

Two decades ago, washing a dog was either a back-breaking battle in the bathtub, or a wet and wild experience with the hose.  In other words, bathing your dog, especially the big, hairy ones, was messy business.

Then came self-service dog washes.  Michael Shapiro, owner of Beauty for the Beast Pet Launderette, came across such a then-new establishment while traveling and was delighted with the idea.  “At the time, I had a very furry Samoyed who needed a lot of bathing,” he recalls.