Off to Work ... with Dorothy Dover and her dandy dogs
by Bill Edwards
Star Staff Writer
Jan 17, 2011 | 3060 views |  1 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shop owner Dorothy Dover trims "Lucky" at Lylia’s Poodle Boutique in Anniston. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
Shop owner Dorothy Dover trims "Lucky" at Lylia’s Poodle Boutique in Anniston. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
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If winter slush has made a matted mess of your little darling’s hair, at least one businesswoman will be happy to make everything clean and pretty again.

That is, if your little darling is a dog.

That’s because when Dorothy Dover goes off to work as the owner of Lylia’s Poodle Boutique, she wants to return your pet to you so clean you can put him or her between your sheets.

“We Make Them Sweet Enough To Sleep With” is the motto of the business that’s been situated on Greenbrier Road, just up the hill from Quintard, for some 30 years.

It was begun by Dover’s mother, Lylia Ann Lane Riley, who was “very passionate about dogs,” the daughter recalled.

When Riley died at age 65 in 2003, local animal lovers mourned, but Dover, 47, has lovingly carried on her mother’s work through the business she had founded.

“The majority of my customers are people who care about their animals more than they do themselves,” Dover explained. “They’re more picky about their animals than their own children.”

She’s prepared to accommodate that sentiment.

“I’ve got toothpaste that tastes like beef and chicken,” she said, adding that persistently dirty teeth pose a health threat to dogs.

Ribbons, bows, scarves, toenail coloring and even coat coloring are available to accent the appearance of a freshly scrubbed and clipped pooch. Anti-flea shampoos and ear cleanings can also be part of the process.

Dover and her three employees see an average of 25-30 dogs a day. A couple of times a year things are less busy, such as when school starts back up, but peaks make up for it — on Dec. 23, Dover said, they moved a record 73 dogs through the shop as their owners wanted clean pets for their Christmas gatherings.

Several file drawers hold index cards bearing data on the boutique’s canine clientele and their owners, who come not just from the immediate area but from far out of town — generally on account of having lived here previously and appreciative of the old-fashioned service Dover and her staff give.

Nothing’s stored on computer files, she said.

They open the shop at 6:30, “so people can drop ’em off on the way to work,” Dover said.

Making an appointment is best because drop-ins aren’t accepted after 10:30 a.m. Once a certain number of dogs are in the pipeline, so to speak, it takes a fixed amount of time to do the prescribed work on each one and have them all out the door by closing time.

No one stays overnight except a handful of rescue animals on their way to permanent homes.

The breeds cleaned up by Dover and her staff range in size from Yorkshire terriers to St. Bernards. A 175-lb. Great Dane is brought in once a month for a bath.

Muzzles can be used if a new client seems a little snappy, but Dover doesn’t tranquilize anyone.

Speaking of tranquilizers, barking is not the problem one might think it would be.

“You get used to it,” Dover said, noting that yummy treats help. “Basically, you tune it out.”

Moreover, she explained, as long as strange people don’t come in the shop, the animals stay reasonably calm. That’s why watching one’s pup get clean is gently discouraged — because having “mom” (or “dad”) in the room actually tends to agitate the animal, or make it more fidgety.

“With just us, it’s quiet and the dogs let you do what you want to,” Dover said, referring to herself and her staff. “They know when you have a caring heart and a passion for dogs.”

If you know of anyone who'll talk about what he or she does for a living, or you are such a person yourself, drop a line to bedwards@annistonstar.com for a possible write-up in "Off to Work."
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Off to Work ... with Dorothy Dover and her dandy dogs by Bill Edwards
Star Staff Writer

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