Alena LaSoya always knew she wanted to work with dogs, but wasn’t sure which role.
She found an answer two years ago, shortly after moving to Odessa from Houston, when she decided to start her own mobile dog grooming business.
Since then, their business, called “Woofers Mobile Dog Grooming,” has grown as their customer list continues to grow.
“I was a dog trainer in 2014, but I wasn’t sure which area I wanted to be in,” said LaSoya. “I knew I wanted to have something to do with animals. So I started moving towards nursing. I worked in a salon and then found that I enjoy the individual lessons with the animals. It just makes it so much easier for them. It’s so much quieter for the animals and more peaceful. “
Not many people may know that there are mobile dog grooming companies, let alone in Odessa, but it’s a concept that LaSoya says is catching on.
Alena LaSoya will groom her pet Yorkshire Terrier Lilly in her mobile dog grooming cart in Sherwood Park on Friday, May 28, 2021. (Eli Hartman | Odessa American)
“There are so many people here and the idea of the cell phone is starting to take off and they are starting to like that idea,” said LaSoya. “My name is spreading like wildfire. I was approached. “
This also includes their customer list.
“It’s pretty neat,” said LaSoya. “Some of them didn’t know. I’m from Houston and it’s a big deal there. I didn’t know if there were mobile companies. I came here to work for someone but I found out that everyone has their own business and that is what I did. I started in a trailer and made my way to get this van. “
One of the great things about a mobile dog grooming company is that it allows them to take their business into people’s homes instead of having to bring their pets. This can make it calm and relaxing for dogs who don’t like a haircut.
Alena LaSoya poses for a picture with her dog Lilly in her mobile dog grooming cart in Sherwood Park on Friday, May 28, 2021. (Eli Hartman | Odessa American)
“Because the dogs are mobile, they know they are home,” said LaSoya. “You are much more relaxed. It’s a lot easier for both the parents and the dogs, especially if the dog is older or bigger, or the owner is old and doesn’t get around much. It only makes it more convenient for them. “
With the mobile business, she brings her van to the customer’s home, brings the dog, washes and dries it and takes care of the care directly before he brings it back immediately.
“It’s completely direct with the cell phone,” says LaSoya. “Typically, it can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half for a small breed dog. A lot of people are really surprised by this because they sometimes leave their dogs in the salon for four hours or even longer, and nobody likes that. “
LaSoya sticks to grooming only dogs, adding that cats are a little more difficult and require a different level of expertise.
“I tried to see if I wanted to make cats, but it was just hard because their skin is softer and a little more dangerous,” LaSoya said with a laugh. “Cats and other animals have different techniques, different blades. It’s just a completely different skill. For cats there is another training for this. “
As a dog person, LaSoya was always surrounded by dogs in his childhood.
“My grandparents had a poodle when I was growing up,” said LaSoya. “I’ve always been around animals. I had my first dog when I was 10 years old. I didn’t have pets for a long time after that, but when I moved out and got my own apartment I had a bunch and now I have four in total. ”
She currently has four dogs, including a Yorkshire terrier named Lilly, who is between 5 and 8 years old.
The Woofers Mobile Dog Grooming Van can be seen in Sherwood Park on Friday, May 28, 2021. (Eli Hartman | Odessa American)
In addition to her lab mix and a heeler mix, her 6 year old mastiff named Bruce can be seen on the Woofers logo on her van.
One of her favorite things to do when running her dog salon is hanging out with her four-legged friends.
“It’s really peaceful,” said LaSoya. “I get to know their idiosyncrasies. I think my favorite part is taking a dog that a lot of people couldn’t handle and figuring out what they don’t like about grooming and conveying to them that it’s okay. I’ve had a lot of dogs that scream or try to bite. They’d get upset, but I take just as much time to let them know it will be fine. I was with a lot of dogs. “
But there are also many challenges that come with it, including her shoulders wearing out.
“The longer I do this, the more it becomes a physical problem like my shoulders,” said LaSoya. “That’s probably the main thing. Other challenges are when I lose dogs; When they die, it’s difficult because I build relationships and it can be difficult to go separate ways. “
When managing her busy schedule, she needs to consider how long it takes to groom each dog and how long it takes to travel from one client home to another each day.
“I can normally only groom a maximum of five to six dogs,” said LaSoya. “That’s about five or six hours and there is still an hour or two of driving time.”
For this reason, and also because of the rising gasoline prices, she can only run her business in Odessa.
“I had to start staying here in Odessa instead of going to Midland,” said LaSoya. “I have a lot of people who have contacted me from Midland, but I can’t do it anymore.”
At the beginning of her business, she worked with a self-made trailer that her father had built.
She has been operating from her new van since January.
“I had an inverter installed in that van so I could turn on a generator or the inverter that was made up of many batteries,” said LaSoya. “Also, on this generator you have the exhaust, unlike my trailer (where) I had to open the back so that all the fumes could escape. It just makes everything so much easier and getting around. “
Your van contains all the accessories you need for your job.
“It’s a decent van,” said LaSoya. “You designed it so that I have two care tables. There are two blow dryers. I have a vacuum cleaner and a trash can. My tub fits pretty large dogs. I have fresh water. “
Shortly after the company started, COVID spread, forcing her to take a few weeks off.
It didn’t put their business aside for long, however.
“Like everyone else, I took two weeks off but I had to make payments so I went back to work and people want their dogs to be looked after,” LaSoya said.
While she got off to a slow start in 2019, LaSoya says the business soon picked up and has been going strong ever since.
“By the time I got to December, all the salons were pretty full and other people started taking their dogs to different places, and after that it caught fire,” said LaSoya.
To book an appointment with LaSoya, call 432-599-2177 or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/woofersmobiledoggrooming/.
Woofers Mobile Dog Grooming