Growing up on a farm, Michelle Brown dreamed of a job where she could bring her pets to work.

Growing up on a farm, Michelle Brown dreamed of a job where she could bring her pets to work. In 2000, it became a reality when she opened the dog-grooming parlor and pet shop Bow Wow Petique. 

Brown and parlor co-owner Tom Heiges style an average of 15 dogs a day. The business, on 2039 S. Dupont Highway in Dover, is open Tuesday through Friday.

Q Why did you decide to open up a business in Kent County?

A I lost my job due to a buyout and got a four-month severance package. I didn't want to commute to Wilmington anymore so I said, “What am I going to do with my life now?” I got tired of working hard for everybody else and wanted to work for myself. At the time there were only two groomers. So I took my severance package and went to dog-grooming school; and here I am.

Q What makes your business unique?

A I think it's the cage-free option we offer. When the dogs come in they don't have to get put in a kennel; they get to run around. We also have a fenced-in yard that I know no one else [in the area] has. We try to provide a home-away-from-home experience, because we do have beds in here for each of the dogs.

Q What's one of your greatest challenges as a business owner?

A Grooming a dog with matted fur. You want to make sure the dog comes out looking nice without shaving him down too much.

Q How do you try to overcome that?

A It takes a long time, but I've got a de-tangler and will put conditioner on the dog and let it sit. But it's tedious work and that's a challenge for me.

Q What's the best business advice you've received?

A A long time ago I talked to a groomer. She told me not to worry about what other groomers or anybody else is doing in the area; worry about yourself. Always focus on your own clients and just go from there. That was probably the best advice I've ever gotten.