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Longboat Key Tuesday, Sep. 7, 2021 4 months ago

Dog groomer starts business in Longboat Key

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Miami transplant comes to Longboat with her business and her special dog, Miles.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

Longboat Key seemed like the perfect place for Fannie Bushin to start her pet grooming business.

Bushin, 31, started Fannie’s House Call Pet Grooming after moving in early July to Longboat Key from Miami. It also helps that Bushin’s family calls the island home.

“People care about their pets,” Bushin said. “It’s like their children, especially here. Their children are grown, and they treat it like an extension of their family.”

Bushin brought her 4-year-old oversized toy poodle named Miles with her to Longboat. Miles is Phantom-colored, which means his coat is largely one color, with shades of a secondary color, like a famous stage production by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

“Like ‘Phantom of the Opera’” Bushin said. “It’s actually a recessive gene, it’s very unique and I can’t get you one.”

Bushin is a graduate of the Merryfield School of Pet Grooming, which is a certified pet grooming school that offers 600-plus hours of hands-on training and pet handling education. While she is not a veterinarian, she has helped dogs and their owners when problems arise.

The Longboat Observer recently caught up with the dog groomer.

How did you get your start in Longboat Key after moving from Miami?

I went to the Fourth of July parade. I saw it in the paper. So I was like, ‘Wow there really are dogs here’ because I walk my dog every morning, but we only see like one or two walking on Gulf of Mexico (Drive), but there are dogs here, and there’s a need.

Did you grow up with dogs?

I’ve always had poodles. I love poodles. I think they’re as smart as people. Having a poodle is like…People say, ‘Oh you have a dog and then you have a poodle.’ They’re different.

On how her poodle Miles changed her life

In early July, Fannie Bushin and 4-year-old oversized toy poodle Miles moved to Longboat Key.

I used to be in corporate finance, and then when he was a puppy, I just knew that I didn’t feel right leaving him at home, and then I took him to a few groomers and they never got it right. So I said, ‘How could this be? I want to go back to school.’

(I) wasn’t so happy with my job. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur.

How does your service work?

Everything is all-inclusive. I don’t up-charge… because I feel like owners don’t always know what to ask for. It’s like there’s this mystery behind the grooming salon.

I do whatever I feel our dog needs and would benefit from, so I charge a little differently. I charge by the hour because some dogs maybe need to be handled differently.

How do you differentiate your services?

Most people want like a simple cute pet trim. Like they always want their dog to look cute, so I always focus on the face.

Like, maybe you’re walking your dog and looking at them from behind, but most people look right at the face, so always clearing out the eyes, and really finding that thing that makes the dog cute. I always try to bring out the expression of the dog.

What’s the best part of your job?

Building the relationship with the dog, and also like when you’re done with the dog, and you take them off their table, and they run to the owner and the owner is like, ‘Oh my God, it’s so cute.’

Like, that’s the best part because I know the dog feels better, but then…It’s like the dog gets more attention because they look and feel and smell good.

What’s the worst part of your job?

I always say this, (a) house call is the most convenient method for the owner, but the least convenient for the groomer.

So, it’s very physically hard work. I’m literally setting up a pop-up shop for grooming in your home. It’s a lot of bending over a bathtub, setting up the table (and) picking up the dog.

How does it make you feel to have a satisfied client?

It’s the best feeling in the world. I mean, it’s not just playing with puppies. It’s hard physical work, but like I cannot believe that this is my job, and I feel so blessed that I found my passion.

And, I also love to learn and there’s so much to learn in this industry.

 

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Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

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