A business dedicated to cleaning and improving the appearance of dogs has said the ‘creative’ side of her grooming parlour is booming.
Miryam Bodimeade of Classy Canines in Chingford’s The Village Arcade has been a trained dog groomer for 30 years and based in Station Road for 16 years.
The 49-year-old has admitted there is only so such she will agree to when it comes to the extremes of dog styling, and has turned down work in the past.
"I've had clients ask me to stencill a Japanese geisha girl on a dog’s leg, and shave a Pekingese coat but leave a green-coloured Mohican from its head to its tail, both I refused," said Ms Bodimeade.
Mr Bodimeade, a qualified veterinary nurse and champion of animal welfare decided to open her own bustling grooming business after watching with difficulty the handling of pets in parlours growing up.
She said: "A lot of people shouldn’t be doing this line of work. Their handling of animals is wrong and I saw a bit of cruelty going on, which is traumatising for the dogs as grooming is not a natural experience.
"This inspired me to open my own place, treat dogs kindly, and run things properly not like a conveyor belt system."
Having realised there was a craze crossing the Atlantic from America, Ms Bodimeade became qualified in ‘creative grooming’, a side of her business which has financially blossomed over the past five years.
"Creative grooming is very American. All it takes is for a celebrity in the US to be pictured with a poodle coloured pink for it to catch on.
"Over the past five years, this side of my business has grown tremendously and I suspect it will continue on this path," added Ms Bodimeade.
Classy Canines offers colouring, stencil designs, and personalised accessories such as feathers, diamante studs and nail painting, all of which Ms Bodimeade is acceptable and attractive in moderation.
She said: "I have been asked to transform a dog into Kermit the frog before and straight away I said no. But adding a little colour is harmless and the dogs get a lot of attention in the street which is positive for them and they enjoy it.
"I don’t consider changing or enhancing the appearance of a dog as unfair or cruel if it’s done in moderation and not taken to the extreme which is the case for many groomers across the pond."
Ms Bodimeade is currently campaigning to raise awareness for a disease called Syringomyelia, a genetic disorder found in 70 per cent of cavalier King Charles spaniels and spreading to other breeds including her three year-old Chihuahua, Mia.