Dina Basil, Amy Butler and Cathy DiPasquale stand in the front desk area of Paws Pet Grooming on Route 33 in Hamilton. (Photo by Lisa Zola-DeLibero.)

By Lisa Zola-DeLibero

They get their hair shampooed, cut and styled. They get their nails done. They even get blueberry facials.

Yes, dogs and cats, like their owners, can look and smell great. And that’s just what Amy Butler tries to achieve at her business, Paws Pet Grooming.

When Butler took over the business 11 years ago that her mother Elaine Mattera started in 1980, she wanted the place to have a family friendly, comfortable environment for pets. A lover of animals herself—she owns three dogs, a cat, two ferrets and a horse—Butler feels that animals, especially dogs and cats, need to be clean and fresh.

“I love what I do,” said Butler, a mother of three. “I have been a pet groomer for 19 years, and everyday, I love coming to work to take care of the cats and dogs that come here for grooming, which is good for their hygiene and overall health. We want everyone to know that we work on dogs and cats of all sizes, small and large.”

The shop, located at 1905 Route 33 in the Concord Square strip mall (near the Hamilton Square Wawa), has just been newly renovated. Butler learned a lot about running a business and its upkeep by working with her dad at a young age at his place, Al’s Service Center in Lawrence.

“We have just repainted and redone the entire place,” Butler said. “We have handmade cushions for the pets to lie on while waiting to be picked up after being groomed. Our grooming tables go to the floor so that large dogs are safer when jumping up to the table or down from one. We also have a ramp to the tubs for all of our dogs’ and cats’ safety.”

Butler’s staff, whom she feels are like family, consists of two highly trained dog groomers. Cathy DiPasquale, a Hamilton resident, has been working at Paws for nine years. She also helps to manage the business, and feels that working with animals is wonderful.

“All of us here get along very well,” DiPasquale said. “The atmosphere is fun, loving, and calm. Working with the animals is rewarding, especially the older cats and dogs, who need extra patience and care.”

Dina Basil, also a Hamilton resident, has been grooming dogs and cats at Paws for the past six years.

“We treat the dogs and cats here like they are our own,” Basil said. “I sing to them, kiss them and love them. They are better than people.”

Customers said Paws has a dedicated, skilled and detailed-oriented staff, and are very happy with the way their pets look when they pick them up at the shop.

“I have been bringing my four cats—Willow, Harry, Snickers and Kit-Kat—for the past two years,” customer Laurie Triefeldt said. “The girls always do a great job with my pets.”

To keep up on the latest and newest trends in the grooming business, Butler and her staff attend regular seminars in Secaucus, Hershey and Atlantic City, always coming back with something new for their furry clients. Paws offers hot oil treatments, and for animals with skin problems, medicated baths. Paws also has blueberry facials, which are made of blueberry and avocado and is rich in vitamins A, D, and E.

“The aromatherapy in the blueberry facial actually calms the animals, and it removes tearstains around the eyes,” Butler said.

Before customers take their pets home, the staff at Paws gives the pet owners a mini lesson on grooming upkeep.

Butler’s shop also provides organic flea and tick shampoos and dips, and Butler said her shop is one of the only local places that will treat pets with fleas. Pet owners may purchase combs, brushes, collars and leashes. Paws even sells dog harnesses, clothing and jackets, which have been custom made by Marcia J. Designs.

Butler said Paws tries to reward its loyal customer base.

“We are always giving our regular customers complimentary services as our way of showing that we are thankful to them for recommending us, and for being loyal,” she said. “Around the holidays, they are always giving us gifts and sweet treats, and we want to say thank you so much to everyone.”

Open Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Paws accepts appointments for grooming and other services a week in advance. Pets may also walk in for a quick service that can be done while their owner waits.

“We give every dog and cat a chance, even the tough to groom ones,” Butler said. “At Paws we say, you’ve tried all the rest, now try the best.”

Paws Pet Grooming is located at 1905 Route 33 in Hamilton Square. Phone: (609) 586-9860. Web: pawspetgroomingandsupplies.com