Truckee girl gets new ‘leash’ on life after opening boutique pet salon
Special to the Sun
Who: Sandra Gamet
What: Fancy Fur Pet Salon
Address: 11401 Donner Pass Road
TRUCKEE, Calif. — When a man’s best friend is looking rough around the edges, there’s a pet salon in Truckee that will help bring those furry family members back to looking their canine best.
Nestled between Zano’s Family Italian and Pizzeria and the Pet Station on Donner Pass Road, Fancy Fur Pet Salon offers a full-range of professional, high-quality grooming services.
The include a rinse-and-repeat bath using all-natural shampoo and conditioning products, a blow dry, nail trim, ear cleaning, and eye wash, plus hair-styling services from the basic trim to the complete canine couture makeover.
“Every dog has its own personality, or dogality as I like to call it, and I’m able to really communicate with the animal on a level that brings out the best in them,” said salon owner Sandra Gamet.
CAREER IN PET STYLING TAKES SHAPE
A rare breed of pure North Lake Tahoe local, Gamet was drawn to the trade at an early age having grown up in an exceptionally dog-friendly community.
It wasn’t until after graduating from Truckee High School that Gamet experienced her first pangs of puppy love.
While working at the former Gateway Pets supply store in Truckee, the owner had asked Gamet to bathe two dogs in preparation for finding them a new home.
For Gamet and her now-11-year-old miniature dachshund, Oscar, it was love at first bath.
“I thought he was the cutest, tiniest thing I’d ever seen and I adopted him right away,” Gamet said, cradling Oscar and his younger, adopted sibling — a Toy Parti Poodle named Parker — in both arms.
SNIFFING OUT A STYLE
After a few years working in pet supply retail, Gamet decided to put her paws to the test as a kennel technician, where she took her first bite out of grooming and pet styling under the supervision and training of a local, top-notch groomer.
“That experience was amazing because it taught me almost everything I know about grooming,” said the 29-year-old entrepreneur.
When it came time to sniff out a new job, Gamet entered the dog-eat-dog world of corporate pet grooming and retail sales at PetSmart in Reno.
“I was the youngest groomer working there at the time, and I was able to pick up on a lot of the tricks-of-the-trade,” Gamet said. “But it never really felt like home to me and I would always come back to Truckee on the weekends, which felt like a vacation, but made me miss home that much more.”
Having left an impressionable mark on her hometown territory, Gamet got wind of a full-time groomer position at Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge, and took to the job like a dog to a bone.
“I became their number one groomer, and that was when I really developed my style and brand for grooming,” Gamet said.
NEW LEASH ON LIFE
With over a decade of experience under her collar, Gamet felt the time had come take her passion for pooches to the next level by launching her own business as a professional groomer and pet stylist.
“I always wanted to own my own business, and with the help of my parents and my significant other, who pretty much built this entire space, the stars aligned for me to finally make that happen,” Gamet said of her custom-built Fancy Fur Pet Salon, which opened in February 2014. “I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family or the support from the Truckee community, and I’m beyond grateful.”
Utilizing her broad spectrum of experience, Gamet designed her salon around the safety of the animal, as well as the needs of the customer by incorporating recycled, non-slip flooring, state-of-the-art grooming stations, and a completely visible work space.
“In every groom shop I’ve worked in, there’s always been a back area that the customer can’t see, so when I designed my salon, I wanted to make sure everything was visible to the customer so they could watch the entire process from the lobby,” Gamet said.
As the only groomer at Fancy Fur Pet Salon, Gamet prides her business on quality over quantity, with appointment-only services that last anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on the breed.
When it comes to trimming and taming her four-legged client’s tousled tresses, the expert groomer understands the vast array of breeds and their particular body structures, and clips accordingly to give them their best-in-show look.
“I’ve always been into drawing and painting, and with trimming, I get to be artistic in a sense in the way I detail each animal in order to bring out the best in that breed,” Gamet said.
Jenny Goldsmith is a North Tahoe-based freelance writer and a former reporter for the Sierra Sun newspaper. Have an idea for a merchant to feature? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.