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Boulder City Nuggets: Passionate about pets

A passion for pets and their well-being is what keeps the staff at Professional Pet Room &Groom in Boulder City motivated each day.

They take caring for their four-legged friends and making sure they look beautiful seriously. And with decades of experience in their lifetimes, they know exactly how much of a challenge that can be as well as how rewarding it can be.

For Mary Willert, 63, learning to become a pet groomer was an opportunity to pursue her love of animals when she couldn’t find a job in her first profession and was looking for a way to reinvent herself.

She said she chose to work with Pearl Johnstone at Professional Pet Room &Groom because she was the “most professional and kind” groomer she met when trying to select a place for her externship while earning her certified master groomer certificate from the Animal Behavior College.

“I came to work for the best. She is compassionate about animals and the animal always comes first. That’s why I came here,” Willert said.

An added bonus for Willert, whose background is in education and training, including years in the beauty industry, is the professional environment Johnstone created.

Irene Lilly, 67, who has been working for Johnstone for three and a half years, has been around animals most of her life. She got her first horse when she was 12 and began training other riders a year later.

“A lot of young adults would ask for help,” she said of her transition from rider to trainer.

After serving in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, Lilly went to a veterinary technical college in Denver. A casual conversation with her longtime friend Johnstone about looking for a part-time job resulted in her joining the team at Professional Pet Room &Groom.

“She says see me Monday and I started Tuesday,” Lilly said of the speed in which she was hired.

Lilly said this is the “best job I ever had.” She said the clients are nice and the animals she works with are great.

The team also includes Anita Santangelo, 70.

Johnstone, who has always had help to assist with bathing and caring for the animals in her charge, said this is the “funnest crew I’ve ever worked with.”

Aside from enjoying spending time together in the shop, she said the three older women who work for her share the same values. Johnstone said she tried hiring younger people but they had a different work ethic.

Johnstone said they groom an average of eight to 10 dogs a day.

“There’s lots of hands-on training,” she said.

Professional Pet Room &Groom is at 707 Canyon Road, No. 105A. For more information, call 702-294-3111.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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