Carolyn Returns to Howl to the Chief

Former Grooming Manager will be a partner in business newly renamed ‘Ms. Carolyn’s Grooming’

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Carolyn Rispus chats with Max, a Yorkie with sensitive skin whom she has been grooming for years. Photo: Elizabeth O'Gorek

Max is a Yorkshire terrier with extremely sensitive skin. “He’s allergic to everything, and he just has so many skin issues – it just goes on in perpetuity,” says his owner. “It’s so good to find somebody to groom him who really gets it, who understands that.”

Max hams it up for the camera as he is groomed by just that somebody. Carolyn Rispus, formally the Grooming Manager at Howl to the Chief (733 Eighth St. SE) is back as a partner at Howl to the Chief grooming, which re-opened as Ms. Carolyn’s Grooming on September 19th and will have its grand opening September 30th.

Carolyn says Kim Hawkins, owner of Howl to the Chief, called her “out of the blue” to offer her the opportunity earlier this year. “She’s one of the smartest women ever, business-wise,” Carolyn says of Hawkins, “and we agree on so many things. And I am so appreciative she offered.”

Hawkins said that she was excited to have Carolyn back as a groomer and as a co-owner.

“Small business, especially woman owned small business, is so important to the community,” she said, emphasizing Carolyn’s affection for the pets and relationships with their families. “She’s always been a favorite of our staff and customers. She’s the complete package – an outstanding groomer who also excels in customer service!”

“I couldn’t be more happy and excited about this new business venture,” Hawkins added.

Carolyn has been a groomer for well over ten years. She has had her own business in addition to working at Dolittle’s and Chateau Animaux before the latter became Howl to the Chief.

Last year, Carolyn pursued an opportunity that took her off the Hill. But she was followed by many of her canine charges, including Max. “We followed her everywhere, and we would continue to do so,” says Max’s owner. “She’s just great.”

Carolyn is elated to return to Eighth Street, and tears up a bit as she talks about it. She wants to thank the Hill residents for being so welcoming. “It touched my heart, the way they received me back here,” she says.

“I’m happy to be back at home, and I consider this home. I’m just excited. ”

Carolyn with Finnegan, the first dog she groomed at 733 Eighth Street SE and who has also followed her throughout her career. “He’s a very important client of mine,” she said. Photo: Elizabeth O’Gorek

Carolyn says most of her work is with dogs, although she does groom cats as well. Carolyn’s Grooming offers services including shampooing, haircuts, nail trimming, and facials. Max will have a blueberry facial, after Carolyn is finished cutting his hair.

Packages are available for pets with different skin issues, and a special one-hour de-matting package is available for pets with difficult hair. There will be additional specials offered after the grand opening. She says that the business will be adjusting business hours and pricing over the next month or so as well.

Carolyn encourages customers to call with suggestions of services that they might like to see offered. “If there’s anything they’ve always thought, ‘well it would be great if someone would offer that’, they should call us and leave a suggestion on the voicemail.”

She says that for now, she is the primary groomer. Carolyn said she will assess the need to hire another groomer after the first 30 days, although she wants to proceed cautiously. “You don’t want just anyone taking care of your dog, “she says. “People want to know that they’re going to get the same service no matter who is here.”

And Carolyn is very sensitive to the feelings of her charges. “The dogs have to relax,” she says, “just like people when they get their hair cut.”

Carolyn works on each puppy client surrounded by the others that are waiting for her or their families, talking to each one as she works, speaking softly and calling them terms of endearment. As she trims the nails of one new client, she reassures her with a soft tone that she is a good, brave girl.

She says pets are a lot like people with similar feelings and likes and dislikes. “They like what they like, and they don’t like what they don’t like,” she says. “They want to be where you are.”

Max hams it up for the camera, causing Carolyn to grin as she trims the fur on his rear legs.

Max’s owner, who has followed her throughout her career, agrees. “To have her back here, it’s just such a relief. It’s more than a relief.”

Carolyn is appreciative of that view, and hopes to live up to it. “I pray to continue to live up to the reputation I have, and to succeed more if possible,” she said.

Book your appointment now at Ms. Carolyn’s Grooming online, or give her a call at 202-544-8710.