Canine Clients Sniff Out Palace Pet Salon ‘Where a Cold Nose is Treated with a Warm Heart’

September 6, 2009
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In Michael's hands a dog can go from grumpy to comfy in seconds.

In Michael's hands a dog can go from grumpy to comfy in seconds.

With the heat notching up triple digits yet again, every smart dog in La Verne has been putting its paw down demanding a late-season summer hair cut from the Palace Pet Salon.

“It’s been crazy around here,” said Palace Pet Salon co-owner Michael Levy, speaking over the constant buzz of his electric dog clippers.

Helping Michael bathe, clip, groom, condition and care for the precious pooches that march through the door are his dad Mark and groomers Tabitha Soto, Erica Thompson and Shannon, the newest member of the staff.

A trip to the Palace is tantamount to a spa treatment for humans. Under the careful, compassionate handling of the Palace Pet Salon staff, every canine client is bathed, shampooed, conditioned and dried to fluffy contentment. Their nails are clipped, their ears cleaned, and teeth brushed. There’s no extra charge for the minty breath spray, either.

Haircuts are as individual as the owner and the breed of dog.

“You just don’t drop the dog off and say, ‘Make them look good,’” said Mark. “They’re going to look good regardless, as if they’re going to the prom. It’s just that not every owner wants the same thing. You can have five poodles walk in and walk out with five different haircuts.

Mark Levy offers a gentle touch with 'no tears' shampoo.

Mark Levy offers a gentle touch with 'no tears' shampoo.

“We do what the owner wants,” he added, “not what we think the dog should look like. We could have a poodle that the owner wants to look like a schnauzer, so we’ve done that. They might want a show cut or a Mohawk, we do those too.”

All dogs that enter the Palace know they’re no longer at home.

“The second they walk through the door, they’re in our house,” Michael said. “They know they can’t get away with certain things. At the same time, Michael adds he doesn’t ever get upset if a dog tries to bite him. Although rare, it can happen, especially if a dog may have had an unpleasant experience at another groomer’s.

“It’s rare that a dog will break the skin,” said Michael, who’s literally groomed thousands of dogs. “Because they can’t talk, they’re just trying to say, ‘I don’t like that.’ However much a dog acts up, we realize it’s not their fault.”

For haircuts, dogs are secured on a table with a grooming loop. Before any haircut starts, the groomer gets the dog to relax and settle in. “We want them to enjoy the experience and look forward to coming back again and again,” Michael said.

Now in its third year, Palace Pet Salon business continues to grow based on its reputation for cleanliness and the care of its clients — canine and human. “Cleanliness is the No. 1 thing we practice,” Mark emphasized. “We clean up, we vacuum up, we wipe down and sanitize all the time.”

Clients can also see and sense the extra care and love the staff provides their pets. Michael even knows pet CPR.

Tabitha Soto has been with Palace Pet Salon from the start, offering a gentle hand and loving heart to every canine client.

Tabitha Soto has been with Palace Pet Salon from the start, offering a gentle hand and loving heart to every canine client.

“Dogs are people, too,” said Michael, 29, who was just blessed with his first son, Liam. “They have heartbeats. We are very passionate about pampering our pooches.

“All the dogs, all these pets, are an extension of the human. The human/dog experience becomes one. We can tell the difference between the dog that’s been left in the backyard for a year and has been totally neglected and the most ferocious and most heinous-looking Rottweiler who turns out to be the most gentle, lovable animal in the world because its owner is the friendliest, happiest and most caring owner in the world.”

“There’s no such thing as a bad dog,” added Mark, sounding like Father Flanagan, the father of Boys’ Town.

Seeing so many dogs, the Levy family has the inside scoop on the kinds of dogs La Verne owners are partial to. “We see a lot of Poodles, Shiatsus, Maltese, Yorkies — all the pocket dogs,” Michael said.

Paris Hilton’s influence hasn’t quite won over every dog owner, however.

“She’s certainly had a big influence,” Mark admitted, but we also find a lot of Labradors and Golden Retrievers because La Verne is such a family-oriented town. They bring them in from little to big.”

The Levy family urges people to adopt rescue dogs, adding that the Palace Pet Salon will work with owners to get and keep their dogs looking their best and feeling their happiest and healthiest.

Serving that mission, Palace Pet Salon offers a variety of low-cost grooming extras such as flea baths and medicated coat treatments. Beginning on September 27, and then every fourth Sunday of the month thereafter, dogs can also come in for anesthesia-free teeth-cleaning that rivals human dental care, according to Mark.

Pet Palace Salon will also be celebrating the holidays in high style. On the first Sunday in November, dog owners can bring their pooches, dressed up with their best bow or bandana, for a holiday photo.

Perhaps, the best treat of all, all dog owners can receive $5 off any Palace Pet Salon service of $30 or more by just mentioning or printing out the Palace Pet Salon special coupon via the COUPON section of La Verne Online.

Palace Pet Salon is located in the CVS/Wells Fargo Center at 1485 Foothill Blvd. For more information or to set an appointment, call (909) 593-5714. Email:

Mark Levy's Pet Hall of Fame -- All satisfied Palace Pet Salon Clients

Mark Levy's Pet Hall of Fame -- All satisfied Palace Pet Salon Clients


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