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Johnson County mom's mobile grooming business booming long after the pandemic

Mobile groomer
Posted at 4:26 AM, Sep 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-08 15:14:35-04

WHITELAND, Ind. -- It's a mobile business concept in high demand.

Stephanie Fuller checks her calendar on her cell phone.

It's populated with colors, like red for Center Grove, green for Greenwood, and light blue is for Whiteland, which is where we caught up with her on one of her appointments.

"Georgie!," says Fuller and she walks up to a home with a barking dog inside. "How are you, Bubbas? Are you going to come see Aunt Stephie today?"

The small dog named George stands close to his mom, Theresa Bradley.

George at home
George is a little nervous about leaving his mom who adopted him a year ago.

"He is a rescue, so this is one of the reasons why Miss Theresa had reached out to me is he just doesn't do well in the stationary grooming," says Fuller. "It's all about bonding. It's all about the animal trusting you as a person."

Bradley says little George typically doesn't like when people come in his home. He is a nervous, but sweet boy, who is getting more and more comfortable each day with his new family.

"He likes to run. He gets the zoomies, he gets the zoomies, but ya he's a good dog," says Bradley. "He's come a long way since we got him. When we first got him, he was real shy, even around us."

Going to the groomer and being around other dogs was a challenge for George, which is why Bradley called on Fuller and her mobile dog grooming business Fuller Klipz Mobile Grooming.

"He's real skiddish and she takes her time," says Bradley. "It's the best option there ever was. I don't know why they didn't do it years ago."

Fuller gets down on the floor with George and talks to him in a silly voice and lets him smell her.

"There's a good transfer way, a safety, to take him away from mom to place him in my hands," says Fuller. She and Bradley stand up so she can take George into her arms. "So what I do is I have Theresa give me his back, and I take him like this."

George gets groomed
George's mom Theresa Bradley hands George over to Stephanie for his grooming appointment.

While George is in her arms, they put a slip lead around his neck for safety, and they head out to her grooming business on wheels.

The trailer sits right outside of George's home so he doesn't have to go far.

"Alright, are you ready handsome? Let's go," Fuller says to George as they make their way to the trailer. "Yes, that's a good boy."

Mobile unit
Stephanie's husband made her this mobile grooming trailer that travels to her clients.

She hooks his leash up to the dog wash inside the trailer and gets to work.

Fuller relies on her many years of experience in a vet's office setting to work with the animals.

"It all just depends on what you are dealing with at that time," says Fuller. "I handle medicated grooms, I handle grooms where they are getting ready to cross the rainbow bridge."

Stephanie Fuller
Stephanie Fuller created her mobile grooming business back in 2020.

She takes her time and takes breaks to console George when needed, as she trims his nails and washes his coat. George begins to relax and trust as his demeanor becomes more calm.

"You know you know whats going on, thank you," says Fuller to George. "He knows I'm not hurting him now that we got past that one paw."

Fuller got the call to help anxious animals during a time when the world was shut down and humans were anxious about where to go and what to do with their animals needing care.

George gets groomed
George is a little nervous at first, but he warms up to Stephanie.

"I'm a mom of four, so I was like, oh my gosh, what am I going to do with their education," Fuller says about the early days of the pandemic in March 2020. The vet's office where she worked was forced to close down with other businesses that Spring. "A lot of people started reaching out on social media, like, what are we gonna do?"

During 2020 and the Covid lockdowns, pets still needed grooming for the warmer months and many pet owners were stuck.

"So I started doing some house calls when we got the clearance through the state," says Fuller. "And I noticed this massive, massive need for mobile grooming."

Her husband created this mobile grooming trailer that it outfitted with everything she needs for her appointments.

Mobile groomer
Theresa's mobile unit is equip for all her needs on the job.

There are other mobile groomers around the state, but Fuller set her sights on her beloved community of Johnson County. It is where she will give any animal a chance, even those who have been turned away in the past.

George gets a bath
Stephanie stays busy grooming more than 16 hundred animals in her community each year.

"The demand is extremely high," says Fuller. "I am one of the groomers versus a lot of the other groomers that take on reactive, aggressive, medicated little puppies."

Fuller will do a full assessment of the animal at an initial appointment, and if for some reason she is unable to help in certain cases, she comes with resources to help the owners with training and support.

George gets groomed
Stephanie takes her time and says she likes to get her water to the perfect temperature for her pups.

For a typical mobile grooming schedule for a year, with appointments about 8 weeks apart, Fuller says you would need about 250 clients to stay busy.

But here in this community, she has to arrange her schedule and map out her routes so she can squeeze in as many animals in a day as she can.

"I have roughly 16-hundred dogs here in Johnson County that I groom," says Fuller as she puts on the final touches for George. A big red bow really suits his personality. "We like to make them look handsome,"

George gets a bow
George gets set to return home to his mom with a big, red bow.

Fuller takes a picture of George in a scene she creates inside the trailer. This week's theme is bubble bath. Fuller edits the photos on her phone at night and shares the final photos on her social media account, Fuller Klipz Mobile Grooming.

Photo finish
George poses for his photo finish before reuniting with his mom.

George makes his way back across the front yard to his home where his mom Theresa waits inside to see his new look. He rolls around on his favorite blanket and nuzzles up to his mom.

"I always feel good going home just because its another animal that we've been able to help that can't go into a stationary," says Fuller. "They are able to be groomed. They are able to be taken care of, from the medical standpoint as well."

If you want to contact Fuller Klipz Mobile Grooming for your furry friend, you can reach out to her on Facebook.