Bentley is a poodle–shih tzu mix with hair flowing down the floor. His distrust of strangers was so intense that he couldn't even go into a PetSmart without getting kicked out. The same story applied to Brodie, a rescued poodle, who snapped at every groomer he ever had. But because she was a certified trainer before becoming a groomer, Mandi Gorton could read their signals and knew when they just needed to chill out and when they needed to know they were safe. Now the two dogs are among the most well-behaved clients of The Green Paw Spa. As Gorton observes, dogs—like people—are just more agreeable when they know cookies and massages are coming.
When Gorton describes The Green Paw Spa as a "holistic pet salon," she means every word. Each appointment begins with Gorton bringing the furry client to a relaxed state. Then she starts pampering with organic, biodegradable shampoos and conditioners. Her own dog, a border collie mix named Wamba, has allergies so intense that just the air of a traditional grooming salon causes her to break out in hives. So to help keep her and all dogs healthy, Gorton bans harsh chemicals from the spa, right down to the furniture, which is made of recycled materials. In fact, the South Bark blueberry facial she uses is so pure that it's edible, which probably explains why most dogs don't mind having it worked into their snouts. Further eco-friendly touches include a bathing system that uses approximately 2 gallons of water to wash a dog, compared to the 10–15 gallons used by traditional baths, and a pet taxi that carpools companions back and forth from their homes to save owners gas and let dogs brag to their friends about having a chauffer.