Vanessa Tyrellkenyon

Luxury Goods: Pet parlours

Groom for improvement

We didn’t have ‘pets’ when I was little. We had dogs — gundogs. Working dogs that lived in outdoor kennels and ate great slabs of rotting meat straight from the butcher. Occasionally we dunked them in a tub full of eye-watering flea-killer. I do remember them being brushed, but roughly and only to dislodge stubborn thistles.

Now that I have my own dog — a Parson Jack Russell called Cato — I am somewhere in between the dog and pet worlds. She lives inside (mainly on the furniture). When she lets me, I brush her. I clip her toenails and wash her if she’s rolled in something foul. I can’t clean her teeth any more because she tears toothbrushes apart. Perhaps I just don’t see the point in getting someone to groom her when I can do it myself. Except, of course, in the interests of research. Which is how I find myself on the way to visit one of Britain’s most prestigious pet-groomers, Peter Young, of Peter’s Posh Pets in West Kensington, London.

It is pouring with rain. Cato is muddy and stinks. I am covered in dog hair. I’m sure we won’t be posh enough for Peter’s Posh Pets. Peter, however, greets us warmly. He is wearing a pinkish-red top like the ones they wear in Star Trek. I am ushered into a narrow reception area. Pictures of dogs and cats cover the walls. There is a signed photo of Michael Ball, grinning as he cuddles his dog.

I follow Peter through a knee-high white picket gate into the back, where the grooming is done. The most well-turned-out toy poodle I have ever seen struts towards me. The pompom on the end of its tail flutters elegantly.

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