~ The Dog Whisperer ~

valerie_3There is such a panoply of amenities in Lake Oswego that Dianne and I have been talking about incorporating profiles of local favorites from time to time. I thought I’d begin with a very special person who I would be lost without… my local “dog-whisperer”, Valerie Pulley.

Ever notice that periodically certain topics tend to pop up any time you turn on the television or are in conversations with different groups of people? Lately itnyree1 seems it has been the subject of pets, and dogs in particular. We all know what a Portuguese Water Dog is now, thanks to “Beau” at the White House. I know our own friend & blogging cohort, Ron Ares, wrote a post most recently about his own dog, Nyree (left), adopted by the Ares family to save her from becoming a casualty of foreclosure. I’ve seen pieces on local and national news about the amazing number of dogs that have been abandoned or taken to shelters as fallout from the current economy, and it is heartbreaking to consider.

Recently, a friend of mine who has been experiencing the stress of the economy herself, told me a story that made me race out the door, camera and notepad in hand. My friend’s dog was badly in need of grooming, being a breed that really needs some professional upkeep. It had been awhile, and though she felt horrible about it, she just didn’t have the funds to spare. We both frequent the same wonderful dog groomer, Valerie Pulley, and she told me that Valerie was so concerned about her pooch that she called & asked my friend to please just come in and consider it her gift. Valerie knew the dog needed her attention, and decided that this was the most important thing. Well… word about special people like Valerie spreads quickly in a community like Lake Oswego, and while I don’t want to encourage others to solicit favors : ) I DO want folks to know about her, and others like her, and so a few words about this exceptional person:

Valerie has been a professional dog groomer since 1994 when she completed her schooling in Phoenix. Her mother was a dog breeder, and Valerie’s plan in the beginning was simply to assist her mother. It didn’t take her long to realize that she had a special talent, and wanted to make this her career. Valerie just loves dogs, and they tend to sense it. Her ownkato1 Staffordshire Terrier, Fedore, is her pride & joy, I’ve been taking my crazy black Standard Schnauzer, Kato (right) , to Valerie for years, and she is the only one who can calm him down enough to let his toenails be clipped. Turns out others have noticed this talent as well, and dog owners from far and wide bring their “hard to handle” pets to Valerie for tender loving care. Valerie mentions that “Some dogs have been kicked out of every grooming salon in Portland for biting, scratching, and generally squirming and freaking out. They bring them to me because I am the only one they’ve found to be able to handle them.” I valerie_4ask her why she thinks this is, and she says “I’m just not afraid of them, and I care about them.” She has been working in the Lake Oswego area for around 12 years now, spending some of her career at the Lake Oswego Dog Shoppe, and now is working for Groomingdales in Tualatin on Nyberg Rd., just about five minutes from my house & a toe over the Lake Oswego borderline. A customer notices that I am interviewing Valerie and volunteers “I come here all the way from Sherwood. They’re so nice & so good I wouldn’t go anywhere else.” For my part, I’ll go anywhere Valerie is… and Kato is very grateful.

You can reach Valerie at: 503 692 WOOF (9663).

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