The Pet Mahal – the end of my exhausting and depressing search for the pawfect pet salon and spa!


Last week I whined and shared my anguish over the perils of finding the right groomer for the Boys here in Charleston SC. #thanksforlistening

It was so disheartening to learn that All Dog Groomers Can’t Groom.

Outside of Lowe’s one afternoon I had a lengthy discussion with a Labradoodle owner about groomers. She explained to me that many people in this area (herself included) choose to “shave” their doodles because of the warm temperatures, the water, and the low maintenance factor. #notourstyle

Whether or not this is true, I crossed my fingers and prayed daily for a place similar to what we had in Virginia.

The Boys were starting to take on this “Little Orphan Doodle ” look so locating a groomer was becoming a major necessity. We were running out of time…

445Through the help of the NDGAA (National Dog Groomers Association of America) I was able to locate and tour The Pet Mahal.

Curious about the name, I had to ask. The owner said she was inspired by the story behind The Taj Mahal: After the death of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s third wife, he wanted to construct a magnificent specimen of Mughal architecture. A monument symbolizing the eternal love towards his wife Mumtaz.

And for the first time in weeks, I felt that love and was comfortable about scheduling the Boys for a bath.

Their groomer Christine – understood my neurotic behavior, embraced my barrage of questions, and treated me like I was a normal pet parent. #lovethisgirl

She never batted an eye when I handed her the phone…


…to talk to this guy – #mymainman Fernando Lobo from Virginia…


They chatted at great length and I listened intently. #earhustling

I left with very little worry in my spirit. #okaytherewasalittle


When Theresa (owner) brought them out, I fought back tears. They looked so fresh and so CLEAN!


They were smiling and seemed happy. I was anxious for a full report –

  • Harley the model client, did everything that was asked of him.
  • Jaxson they said was fidgety and uncooperative.

The news about my baby boy Jax saddened me, because he was used to the bath routine with Fernando in VA. Yet just two unpleasant visits to the wrong groomer seems to have erased it all. #insertbadwordshere

As I suspected, there is a great deal of uneven-ness  in their coats from where the other groomer did some slicing and dicing during their baths.

However, the hair will grow back and I believe all memories will fade over time as well.


I’ve got a plan –

  • I’ve purchased a used grooming table complete with two adjustable arms. I’m thinking I can incorporate its use into my daily morning brush routine. It will be great for my lower back #gettingolder and hopefully I can help Jax re-establish a positive relationship with the table and the tools. #onecanonlytry
  • We will continue to get baths from The Pet Mahal every two weeks, and eventually work up to a full groom. I like their facility, their friendliness, their experienced groomer AND the fact that they are members of the NDGAA. #huge
  • And since the Boys are squeaky clean and my laundry’s done, there’s nothing left to do this weekend but hit the streets and have some fun…


Be kind to someone and as always, thank you so very much for sharing me with all your friends!


  • Two French Bulldogs
    November 13, 2015

    You are like Hollywood stars!
    Lily & Edward

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 13, 2015

      Awwhhh, thanks so much Lily & Edward. What a super sweet thing to say. 🙂

  • Dashlilly
    November 13, 2015

    They look TERRIFIC! Hooray. And you have great follow up plans! Hip hip hooray! Happy weekend.

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 13, 2015

      Deirdre – I’m still doing the “Happy Doodle Strut” #sohappy That is a huge load off my mind. Have a great weekend yourself my friend!

  • Emma
    November 13, 2015

    Bailie is wash and wear, so easy! She only needs basics, but my furs are a bit different and I need hand stripping. When Mom searched for my groomer, we knew we were on the right track when she (also happens to own the salon) would not commit to grooming me until she researched my breed and talked to someone who had groomed a GBGV. She didn’t want me to come out looking wrong. We love her, and she does a great job. A good groomer is almost as important as a good vet!

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 13, 2015

      Emma, hand stripping is as scary as cutting when it comes to finding a groomer. It’s nothing to take for granted that’s for sure. Have a great weekend!

  • Kari
    November 13, 2015

    They look lovely! I had to laugh at the Little Orphan Doodle comment.

    And forgive me, but what is the point of having a doodle if you’re going to shave them?? Anyway… glad you found the Mahal!

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 13, 2015

      Kari, they were a nasty, hot mess! Some people just don’t want to deal with the grooming aspect I imagine. I personally love the feel of their coat, and I don’t mind the bonding time we spend in the mornings. But I guess it’s a preference. Take care and have a great weekend.

  • Theresa Dowdy
    November 13, 2015

    Cathy – we are so pleased that you had a positive experience with us! That is, after all, our main objective following the happiness and safety of your babies. You are a pleasure to talk to and we understand your anxiety about finding people to take good care of them. We welcome you home to Charleston and we are glad you found us at The Pet Mahal – “the only other place like home” for Harley and Jaxson! Until next time…keep feeling the love!

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 13, 2015

      Hey Theresa, so happy to have met you, Christine, and the whole staff. And I do “feel the love” so we will be back 🙂 Take care…

  • Agata
    November 13, 2015

    Wow, what a wonderful treat!
    I bet our Bunk would love a nice “spa” day out.

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 14, 2015

      Spa days are good – even for me. I get a nice couple of hours to myself #realreasontheygo

  • Denise Gruzensky
    November 13, 2015

    So glad you’ve found a good groomer! We are learning through you!

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 14, 2015

      Thank you so much Denise – your comment made my day! I often hope that what I share – mistakes and all – help others! Have a great weekend!

  • Lauren Miller (ZoePhee)
    November 13, 2015

    They look so good!

    I was just wondering if there is a reason why you’re leaving the hair between Jax’s eyes long?

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 14, 2015

      Thanks Lauren. Jax (like Leo) has what’s call a “V Pattern” that a runs down between the eyes to the nose. I’ve never cut it simply because I think it looks adorable. Because of the two mixed breeds some will have the V while others (like Mr. Harley) do not. Perhaps this might be a great blog post for me to write about because people are always so fascinated about their looks. I’ll have to do some more research 🙂 Thanks for asking. Have a great weekend!

  • Pedro and Alessandra
    November 13, 2015

    They look beautiful! As always… even with the “orphan doodles” looks 🙂
    I remember what a big struggle I had searching for the perfect groomer. We found one that was good as a groomer but lousy as a dog person and even worse, the worst “pet-parent-person” ever. She had zero customer service skills and thought that grooming Pedro was so much work and not worth her time, even though she overcharged me… It got so bad that we got into a yelling match and I posted (and joined) bad online reviews about her “business”…
    However we then found “Dog Gone Beautiful” and it’s been bliss ever since. The owner, Lynn is wonderful as a groomer, as a dog and a pet-parent person. Plus she loves Pedro dearly. He is the king of his grooming salon when he goes there.
    Thank you for your blog post, you reminded me that Pedro is due for a “bath and tidy” at Dog Gone… time to call Lynn!
    Have a great weekend Cathy and Boys!

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 14, 2015

      I am amazed at how difficult it was to find the right grooming salon in a place that is so ultra dog friendly. You would think they (the salons) would be tripping over themselves to out do the other for additional business. It’s just the opposite. I pray my experience was isolated and there are many more wonderful groomers around town that I just didn’t find. For us, I think we shall stay with The Pet Mahal – they seem to be a good match for The Boys. Hugs to Pedro!

  • Tenacious Little Terrier
    November 13, 2015

    It’s great you found a good groomer you can trust! Mr. N’s last groom was atrocious. He also had jagged hair, they didn’t do his nails or his eye hair and he had razor burn by his groin! We don’t go there anymore.

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 14, 2015

      Isn’t that just the worse Mr. N.? I cannot understand how places like that stay in business. Glad you found another groomer somewhere else too!

  • Pamela
    November 13, 2015

    What a great idea to get a grooming table and work with Jax at home. Hopefully you’ll build in all kinds of wonderful experiences for him that will help him with future grooming.

    Although I think he looked perfectly handsome before visiting Pet Mahal too. 🙂

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 14, 2015

      The table came from an old pet care director at the pet resort in VA. She offered it to me at a price I couldn’t refuse and since the kids are coming down here for the holidays they can transport it for me. #perfect I hope with me working with him on the table we can get back to where we once were. You’re too kind calling Jax handsome, trust me, he was one hot mess and stinky too I might add.

  • Jan K
    November 15, 2015

    The boys look great! I’m glad you’ve found a place and it sounds like you have a good plan. I only have Sheba groomed every few months, and do it myself in between. She is SO fidgety even at 11 years old…I think she does better at the groomer.
    I just trimmed her nails/paws and brushed her a bit yesterday and I can barely walk today (exaggerating…a little)! A grooming table is definitely a necessity. I actually have one but she won’t get on it. I wish I had started with that when she was younger, but I was new to Goldens then and didn’t know it would be needed. 🙁

    • Cathy Bennett
      November 16, 2015

      I have yet to gather the nerve to trim nails. I have nightmares of cutting off an entire toe LOL But I enjoy brushing them, helps me look for lumps, bumps and stuff like that also. I’m excited about the table, can’t wait to get it down here. Jax on the other hand, I am sure won’t be as thrilled. Harley finds it relaxing, but then Harley loves to be “touched” #spoileddoodle 🙂