By Neil Lucas | Photos by Melissa Lawson/ Bizzzey Bee Photography
Some of you may have driven by the Woodland Shops on 116th Street near Rangeline for years and saw a sign for the Animal Arts Academy and wondered what they do there and why it’s called an “Animal Arts Academy.” Can I drop off my dog or cat there for an acting or contemporary art class? Not surprisingly, the answer to this question is no. The Animal Arts Academy is a premier full-service pet grooming salon that also provides instruction to those seeking to become professional pet groomers.
Current Animal Arts Academy owner Kristie Humphrey-Stewart is a testament to the rewards of hard work and the success students who complete the Animal Academy grooming course can enjoy. In 1988, Kristie enrolled as a student groomer at the Animal Arts Academy fresh out of high school. Now with over 25 years of grooming experience, Kristie has mastered the grooming standards of many different breeds and has won several national awards in the competition grooming ring. However, the culmination of her hard work occurred when she purchased the Animal Arts Academy nearly 2 1/2 years ago — coming full circle from pet grooming student to grooming instructor and the owner of the salon where she actually began as a student.
If you have a love of animals, like Kristie, and are looking to turn that passion into a profession or have a child looking for a good paying profession without going to college, give Kristie a call. Today there is a tremendous need for well-trained professional pet groomers throughout the world as the pet grooming industry continues to grow. As Kristie’s success shows, pet grooming can be a profitable and rewarding career for patient, artistic and compassionate animal lovers.
The Animal Arts Academy is one of the few grooming schools accredited by the state and, in fact, was the very first to be accredited. The grooming course is about 12 weeks long and includes, naturally, instruction in grooming but also animal behavior, care of equipment and the business aspects of the grooming industry. Before you receive your diploma, you have to pass a practical test of grooming two dogs, to the instructor’s satisfaction, and also a written test. Normally the academy offers the grooming course beginning in May, August and January.
In addition to providing grooming instruction, the academy is also a premier full-service pet grooming salon with a staff of well-trained professionals, many of whom started as students at the Animal Arts Academy. Kristie’s vision has always been to have a first-class pet grooming salon staffed with wonderful, compassionate groomers who offer competent individual service to each and every pet and client at a reasonable price. For well-socialized pets, they offer a cage-free environment while also providing special care for difficult-to-handle or elderly pets. Beyond developing a terrific staff, Kristie has also made significant improvements to the interior surroundings and in updating equipment.
Kristie warns that keeping pets in a longer coat during these cold winter months does not necessarily keep them warmer. The fact is that it’s the undercoat that keeps pets warm, not the length of the coat. With light grooming regularly — bathing and brushing — you can reduce matting in order to improve the quality of the undercoat and help to protect your pet from the cold. During the month of February, the Animal Arts Academy is offering just what your pet’s undercoat needs: a special on a bath and brushing treatment at 50 percent off.