Carrie’s Critters Strives To Serve The Pets Of Yelm

By Brandon Hansen / For the Nisqually Valley News
Posted 3/1/22

There is no average day for a dog groomer, but the clients are great.

For Carrie Loffelmacher, her dog grooming business has proven to be a labor of love for the pet owners around Yelm. …

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Carrie’s Critters Strives To Serve The Pets Of Yelm


There is no average day for a dog groomer, but the clients are great.

For Carrie Loffelmacher, her dog grooming business has proven to be a labor of love for the pet owners around Yelm.

Loffelmacher decided in 2009 to give up her government job to open Carrie’s Critters and the rest has been a swirl of fur, happy dogs and wagging tails.

“I decided I loved animals way more than people and wanted to wash dogs for a living,” Loffelmacher said with a laugh.

Carrie’s Critters is located at 806 Yelm Ave. and has three dog groomers: Loffelmacher, Shannon Carnes and Helen Fox.

“They both have over 15 years of experience,” Loffelmacher said of her fellow dog groomers. “We’re fun. We can’t take our jobs too seriously so we need to have a good time.”

Days fly by, and the work environment can be loud since dogs are known to bark sometimes. Depending on the type of dog and the volume of work, the groomers can see a handful or 20 dogs in an eight-hour workday.

“We go from a chihuahua up to a great Pyrenees,” Loffelmacher said in terms of size. “Some days you walk away going, wow what just happened? It can be a crazy environment but groomers have to be extremely patient. Every single dog is different in each situation and I always tell our groomers ‘just pretend this is your dog and you’ve dropped them off.’”

Carrie’s Critters tries to give cookies to dogs at their visit and it has apparently become a popular offering.

“We’ve had several just come back to visit and get a cookie and then it’s easier for them to get through the grooming routine,” Loffelmacher said.

Along with being a grooming studio, Carrie’s Critters also sells harnesses, leashes, dog toys, food and grooming equipment. The business can also provide training on how to properly groom a dog between visits.

“It’s extremely important to have your dog’s haircut and nails done,” Loffelmacher said.

Groomers can be the first line of early detection, Loffelmacher said, as they can notice different lumps and growths on dogs. Owners, who would have otherwise not noticed them under the coat of fur, can learn about medical issues that need to be addressed. When things are caught early, owners can take their pets to a veterinarian for care before things become serious.

“We’ve caught lumps before and told people and I’m just really proud I can be part of a dog’s health,” Loffelmacher said.

Long toenails can be bad for dogs as well. Loffelmacher describes it as wearing high heel shoes all the time. Because of this, every Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m., Carrie’s Critters offers a drive-thru nail clipping clinic for $5.

“We get quite the line up,” Loffelmacher said. “It’s like McDonalds out here.”

When pets come in with matted hair and seem miserable, Carrie’s Critters works hard to groom the pets back into feeling good.

“That’s the hard part when you see a dog that is not in good shape. We make the dog feel better physically and then we try to educate the owner on the proper way to keep them groomed and feeling good,” Loffelmacher said. “We don’t like to shame. We try to educate them and get them on a six or eight week schedule for grooming appointments. I think people don’t realize just how painful it is to live in a matted state.”

There is also equipment customers can purchase that allow them to brush their dog more effectively.

Loffelmacher also has a dog rescue called Gurrs and Purrs, where she helps shelter dogs find foster homes and then permanent homes. The grooming business treats pets and their owners with equal respect.

“We are very concerned for the dogs when they come through the door,” Loffelmacher said. “We are taking a family member from their family, which is trusting us for their care. If it means we have to get down on the floor to baby talk with them, we do that. It’s important.”

Loffelmacher said sometimes the owners have more anxiety than the dogs. Due to the very social nature of the business, Loffelmacher said she works to create relationships with her customers.

“I’ve been here a long time and it’s funny I’ve been here so long now. I’m getting kids of customers bringing their dogs down or a new generation of pets after their original pets have passed away, which is sad and interesting at the same time,” Loffelmacher said.

Loffelmacher herself has dogs, goats, horses and parrots.

Carrie’s Critters is closed on Sundays, but is open six days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. People can walk in and schedule a same week appointment if they’d like. They’ve made some business practice changes because of COVID-19, but they are ready and accepting new customers.

To contact Carrie’s Critters, call 360-400-0903 or email them at Their Facebook can be found online at


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