HURON — With a life-long love of animals and after a more than two years of working, training and schooling, Karlee Richman has embarked on what she feels is her calling, so far, in life.
On Nov. 15, Richman opened “Karlee’s Paw Spa,” at 1340 Dakota Ave. North in Huron, specializing in grooming dogs - “and some cats,” she says - in a space adjacent to ABC Seamless. “It is so enjoyable to wake up every morning and really be excited about going to work in my own space!” she adds.
Most notable about space at Karlee’s is the unique ‘pet elevator’ that will safely and quickly transport her clients from the businesses first-floor entrance, to its second floor work area. Designed, constructed and installed by Moeding Custom Rails of Huron, the elevator features a kennel large enough to handle the largest doggie, on four rails, with an electric winch to move that kennel to the second floor. “It only takes about five seconds,” Karlee says. “It’s super fast.”
Moeding’s added two pieces of sheet metal to the project. Laser cut in each is a large dog’s smiling face, and her business name as well. It catches your eye immediately when you step inside the space.
Approximately two-and-a-half years ago, Richman was working in an office setting in Huron. “It just wasn’t my thing,” she says, “I really wasn’t happy there.” She has applied to work with a groomer in town - 4 Pawz - but hadn’t heard back.
“So my last day, I sent the owner a message. I said that I really wanted to work there and would do just about anything for a chance.”
She got a chance the following Monday.
For the next couple of years, she worked and learned at 4 Pawz. “The owner would groom part of an animal and I watched, then copied what she did,” Richman said. Over time, she began to entertain thoughts of having her own business. In May of this year, she took the plunge, renting space at 4 Pawz and began working with her own clients. She also began taking online classes in dog grooming. Then the chance came to have her own space and, with help from friends and relatives, the space became reality.
Karlee’s Paw Spa is open Monday through Friday, and Richman said that she can make almost any time work for her clients - and their owners. Call her at 354-0513 to schedule an appointment.
On the horizon is a plan to add pet boarding in an area next to the Spa. Richman offers pet sitting in people’s homes and also has doggie day care available.
Her dream is to return to school and become a veterinary tech. She said she looked at it before, but wasn’t sure she was cut out for seeing animals suffering and in pain. That changed when, on her way to Huron to compete in a 5K, she came upon a Chihuahua, in the middle of nowhere.
“The car in front of me swerved and I thought for a minute that it was road kill,” she recalls. “But when I got up there I saw it was a small dog and it was alive.” She continued driving, but her conscience told her to turn around and go back.
“I mean, there were no farms or anything around there,” she said. When she got back, she found the dog with evidence of perhaps being struck by a vehicle and with wounds from some sort of animal attack. The dog was also nearly frozen to death.
“I loaded it up and cranked up the heater,” she said. “I called 911 and said I had a dog that was injured and needed a vet.” When she got to Artesian, she was met by the local vet and they began working on the animal. “It took us about an hour and a half to get it warmed up enough for its temperature to register.
“The vet called me later and said that the owners responded to a posting of the dog’s picture online,” she said. “Dealing with the Chihuahua’s injuries let me know that I could handle it,” she added. “So, the vet tech thing is still on my wish list down the road.”
Until that wish becomes reality, however, Richman will continue to provide grooming services in her new space, complete with her one-of-a-kind pet elevator.