Although the shop may be small, the love for animals that bursts from the walls of All Fur Paws is larger than life. Rhiana Gallagher moved to Fargo with her husband this fall and opened up her shop in October at 12 Broadway N., offering quality grooming services to dogs, cats and more. But it’s about a lot more than just giving the pooches of Fargo a good scrub.
“I want to support people taking good care of their pets. Their health is so important and grooming is part of that. You have to cater to people to help them. I just want to help people and their animals,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher grew up in rural Minnesota and always had an innate love for animals. When her family moved to Fosston, Minn., when she was 16 years old, Gallagher got a job as an assistant at the small-town vet shop that she never thought would lead to a full-time grooming career.
“I was very fortunate to kind of fall into this. After a few years they called me up one day and said their groomer quit and they wanted me to step in, I was around 18 or 19. The technician, who I loved, taught me what I know and we went from there,” said Gallagher. “I got to learn in a really safe environment. They sent me to some seminars. After 6 years of working for them I decided to start my own thing out of my home.”
Gallagher then started her grooming business out of a room in her trailer house in her early 20s, and when she got married and started to service more animals, her shop had to be moved to the garage. Gallagher and her husband, who works in construction, had talked about ultimately making a move somewhere else and eventually the pieces came together for that somewhere else to be Fargo.
“I had such a supportive client base and it was really heartbreaking to leave them, so I was initially going to schedule a couple of days to drive to Fosston and work really hard for two or three days and stay at my parents, then come home. It was okay, but I didn’t want to do it in the winter. I only did it for two months,” she said.
On a whim, Gallagher decided to look into spaces and I found her current spot, which is owned by the same couple who owns the space that The Red Silo occupies, and everything fell into place wonderfully. Despite the giant tub and shower system that had to be installed, Gallagher said everything came together rather smoothly.
“I connected with the owners–they worked with me on price and let me do what I wanted. They were so easy to work with. It used to be the Madd Hatter hair salon, which was also a one-woman-show kind of thing too, like me, and she was pretty successful. I was given some confidence because of that,” Gallagher said.
All Fur Paws offers full-service pet grooming, and not just for dogs. Although most of clientele is of the canine variety, Gallagher occasionally services cats and has experience with other smaller animals from her prior veterinary work. Grooming services are full-range and includes anything from your standard coat wash and nail trims to ear and gland cleaning.
“I do get a few cats here and there. I do them to an extent. It’s always one of those things that just depends on your cat’s temperament. They’re a lot less tolerant when it comes to grooming than dogs. I always tell people that there’s a chance I can’t complete it if they’re not having it. I don’t want to make them uncomfortable,” said Gallagher. “Back at the vet clinic I used to get birds and guinea pigs and things like that, but they usually require two sets of hands. I’m definitely open to catering to those needs, I just don’t get a lot of requests for it. With certain things like that I can definitely offer it if it’s necessary.”
All Fur Paws operates on a by-appointment-only basis. The best way to book your pet an appointment for their next grooming day is to send a message to Gallagher via the All Fur Paws Facebook page, but she says that she also takes appointments through texts and calls. She’ll always get back to you no matter which way you get a hold of her.
“I kind of like to give everybody a chance and provide a low-stress environment. That way too, I like by-appointment because it works better that way for more nervous dogs and they don’t have to be around other dogs who are waiting. People can drop dogs off and I try to be very flexible with my schedule to make sure everybody is comfortable with the arrangement,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher was born for a career path in helping animals, and it definitely shines through with her downtown business. And it’s not just because your pet will leave smelling fantastic for weeks, but because of the love that naturally goes into each service.