Groovy Spots For Grooming Fido On the Road

Favorite places and tips from ‘Queer Eye’s’ culture expert, Jai Rodriguez

By Sandy Robins

updated 10:22 a.m. PT, Wed., April 2, 2008



Whether you take your pets along on business trips or vacations, the name and telephone number of a good pet spa should rank high among other important travel documents.

Jai Rodriguez, one of the stars of the Emmy-winning TV show, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” is a regular bi-coastal traveler — together with his Yorkies Nemo and Dori. Now, after helping men to groom themselves, he’s hosting a new doggie reality show called “Groomer Has It.”

Together, Rodriguez and Nemo will introduce pet lovers to some of the country’s top groomers as they compete for the crown of Groomer of the Year.

“It’s a great sign when you take your dog to the groomer and they are pulling on the leash to get into the building. … A good groomer is someone who has a great affinity with animals and forms an instant bond during the grooming process,” says Rodriguez.

When in New York, Rodriguez takes his dogs to Jorge at the New York Dog Spa and Hotel for an oatmeal bath and massage treatment.

“I was thrilled when I learned that he was chosen to be one of the contestants on the show,” Rodriguez said.

“Nemo once had really dry, sensitive skin and these oatmeal baths really helped improve the condition. I love a puppy cut on Yorkies and they always come back looking like cute little bears. There’s an art to a good puppy cut.”

Now based in Los Angeles, Rodriguez takes his dogs to different places including, Chateau Marmutt and LA Dogworks — both popular hangouts for celebrity pups.

Chateau Marmutt specializes in aromatherapy grooming. While there, your dog is likely to rub noses with some very famous celebrity pooches as Britney Spears, Christine Aguilera, Charlize Theron and Beyoncé are among the A-list clients. Walk-ins are welcome for baths, “pawdicures” range between $10 -$20, and haircuts are by appointment only.


The Zen Den at LA Dogworks is a simple eastern retreat for your dog to relax and indulge. Owner Andrew Rosenthal has combined natural elements like slate and bamboo with special pet pheromone diffusers as the setting for the perfect pet massage retreat. The facility also offers hydrotherapy (underwater treadmills) designed for rehabilitation after surgery and weight-maintenance — especially for older dogs.

Rodriguez says he also likes venues that offer a shuttle service and doggie day care, which gives him peace of mind knowing they are in a safe place, socializing and having fun.

Also on his travel list is The Dogbar in Miami Beach, offering both dogs and cats a complete wellness beauty experience, using some of the finest products on the market, including a good selection of products for at-home use.

“I never travel without pet wipes,” says Rodriguez. “There’s a different between those made specifically for pets and general wipes, which often have alcohol and dry out pet skin and fur. And I never leave home without the Sparkle and Shine Shimmering Mist from Happytails Canine Spa line. The product has a hint of glitter and moisturizes fur with silk proteins that also help to repel dirt and prevent doggie odors. I use it to brush out their coats several times a week. I do love a fragrance — I love them to look like dogs but smell like people.”

If you’re traveling with Fido, take time out for some pampering at one of the competitors featured in, “Groomer Has It”, premiering April 12 at 9.00 p.m. (ET/PT), on Animal Planet.

Tails above the Rest in Manchester, N.H.; (603) 644-1279

NY Canine, New York, N.Y.; 917-533-6743

Amber’s Mobile Pet Salons; 951-536-0985 for locations serviced nationwide

Dapper Dawg Grooming Salon, Stoneham, Mass.;  (781) 438-2900

Rancho Solana Pet Spa, Solana Beach, Calif.; (858) 755-918

New York Dog Spa & Hotel, New York, N.Y.; (212) 243-1199

Sandy Robins is an award-winning pet lifestyle writer. She is the recent recipient of the Humane Society of the United States’ Pets for Life Award. Her work appears in many national and international publications.


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