The rose bushes are in bloom at Hillside setting the scene for new beginnings and springtime doggie makeovers! This April we are thrilled to announce the most recent addition to the team at our Camp Verde location, experienced groomer-in-residence, Daniela MacRae. Join us in welcoming our talented new family member by bringing your pups in a meet-and-greet and bath’n’tidy!
Las Vegas native Daniela is best described as a passionate animal-lover with empathy for all furry beings. “I have always had a few pets of my own, but that never has seemed enough. I really found fulfillment in fostering animals in need for friends and family for as long as I have been on my own. Since then I have fostered and rehomed more dogs than I can count.” Daniela hasn’t always been able to part with her foster children and a few have stuck around to help with future siblings. “My Boston Terrier-Beagle mix, Monkey, really captured my heart and has become very spoiled. She thinks she is human and loves everyone. Monkey sadly went blind about 5 years ago, but she doesn’t let that slow her down. She is now 8 and is still a puppy at heart.”
In 2016 baby Rilynne was welcomed into the world and Daniela left PetSmart to begin her new journey into motherhood. When it was time to go back to work the thought of working for a large company didn’t quite hit the spot. “I was very fortunate that my boss was caring and loving towards all animals. She always put pet safety and health first and I learned so much from her. The company standards, however, were more restrictive in terms of the age of animals that we could groom and what tools we could and could not use. It narrowed down the scope of services that we could offer and I found myself wanting to do more for my clients.” When a position at the local Pooch Parlor opened up Daniela leaped at the chance to work for a smaller, more personable business. Over the next year, Daniela blossomed into the welcoming local dog and cat grooming culture while continuing her passion for fostering. She often helped to rehome dog clients at the salon.
In her first 3 years of dog grooming, Daniela has handled dogs of all breeds, ages, and temperaments. Looking back, she fondly remembers a few moments where she felt she made a meaningful difference. “One day, Winston, a standard poodle came into the salon after going without a groom for a over a year. It took about 45 minutes of careful dematting, but I was eventually able to get him to a 7 length when he got on the table. That sweet boy almost fell asleep in the tub and was so happy at the end that he pranced his way out, like a whole new dog!”
One of the most important lessons learned by Daniela is the power of soothing and gentle care during a dog's vulnerable moments. “Tessa was an older blind dog known to be very jumpy and prone to biting during her grooms. She came in one day and was also matted head-to-toe. I worked with her for a while, taking my time to be gentle and found that softly talking to her and loving her through the bath and dematting really eased her fear. She didn’t nip the entire appointment and reciprocated my love.”
I have always felt that dogs are more loving and honest than people. They have such a pure way of showing appreciation and love for what I do for them, more than any other being can! It is difficult to keep that love separate from my work-life.
In March of 2017, single motherhood turned Daniela’s focus back to family. She decided that it was time to move her daughter closer to her mother in Arizona, so made the transition to the Verde Valley in hopes of finding stability and to provide more for Rilynne and her pets. “I was really looking for a position with benefits. When I was fresh out of high school I worked for a while at a bank, so I used that experience to begin immediate work at Credit Union West in Camp Verde.”
It wasn’t long before she began to meet members of the Verde Valley pet community. She soon connected with a couple who, as it happened, had also begun their animal care journey by taking in dogs for friends and family. “I met Shawn who was a client of my bank. After many days of over-the-counter chit chat, I discovered that he and his wife, Jennifer, owned a canine resort and spa just down the road. After I mentioned our shared passion he gave me his card and told me to give him a call if I ever wanted to revisit grooming.” This offer proved to be very tempting for Daniela. The more thought she gave to Shawn’s offer the more she began to miss working with her four-legged clients. “I have always felt that dogs are more loving and honest than people. They have such a pure way of showing appreciation and love for what I do for them, more than any other being can! It is difficult to keep that love separate from my work-life.”
We are so excited to announce that this month, Daniella has accepted our offer to be Hillside’s full-time resident groomer at the Camp Verde resort location! She has already brought so much passion for animal care and hospitality to the styling room and has shown impressive skill with timid and uncertain pups of all breeds and ages. Interested in bringing your pooch in for a groom? Give the front office a call to make your appointment today! 928-567-6304
Kaila Haas - Passionate animal lover and fan of the Hillside Canine Resort & Spa family!