Caring for Furry, Four-Legged Clients

Jo Mills coifs canines at her grooming studio in Wells

Jo Mills opened The Grooming Studio in Wells this summer. She says clients tell her how convenient it is to have a grooming facility nearby.
Photos by Sarah Spratling

By Dianna Troyer

Whether wiggly or well behaved, Jo Mills’ canine clients look well coifed in about an hour.

“People have told me they like the convenience of having their dogs groomed here in town,” says Jo, who recently opened The Grooming Studio in Wells at 451 Sixth Street, Suite 2. The facility is between the smoke shop and ice cream shop at the Indian Colony.

Before Jo opened her grooming studio, pet owners had to drive to Elko or Twin Falls to have their dogs groomed.

“Some dogs just don’t travel well and get nervous or nauseous in a vehicle,” Jo says. “Having them groomed close to home is a lot less stressful for them and their owners. It will also allow them to be groomed more often in order to keep a healthy skin and coat.”

Jo, the proud owner of two Chihuahuas and a basset hound, studied at the JKL Training Academy. Lucky gets the royal grooming treatment from Jo.

Jo washes and blowdries every dog by hand and refuses to use cage dryers.

“I’ve always had safety concerns with placing pets in an enclosed, heated space,” she says. “Blowdrying eliminates that concern and the dogs always have a much smoother, finished look. That makes the grooming process a lot shorter for the pet. I want the dogs to enjoy being here.”

Jo’s lifelong love of animals led to her career as a groomer with a long waiting list of loyal clients in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she lived for 12 years. In May, she moved back to Wells with her husband, two Chihuahua mixes and basset hound to be closer to family.

“We were living in Tennessee to be near my husband’s son,” Jo says. “With him graduating from high school and living on his own, it was time to come back home.”

Home is a ranch north of Wells that Jo’s family bought after selling their Idaho ranch when she was a senior in high school.

Born in Hailey, Idaho, Jo worked on the family ranch south of nearby Bellevue, where she realized she would have a career with animals.

“Being with animals always made my days better,” Jo says. “I knew I could never give that up.”

After working at a veterinary clinic for about 18 months, Jo decided she still wanted a career working with animals, “but in an environment that was more peaceful, and one in which I didn’t have to see deathly ill animals every day,” she says. “That was mentally taking a toll on me.”

She explored other careers and decided grooming was the perfect fit.

An experienced groomer in nearby Ketchum hired her and taught her basic techniques before attending professional pet grooming school.

“Then I studied at JKL Training Academy and earned my certification in 2003,” Jo says. “I still attend grooming shows and classes every year to stay up to date with the industry.”

When Jo lived in Tennessee, her grooming studio schedule was booked weeks and often months in advance. “Most of my clients would make recurring appointments for the year so they would always have their spot saved,” she says. “It was not uncommon for clients to have a six to eight week wait for an opening if they had not pre-booked. I had a bather there helping me, and we could typically groom around 15 dogs a day and still couldn’t keep up with the demand.”

With Wells being a small town, “I don’t anticipate that to ever be an issue here,” Jo says.

For more information, call (775) 340-8663 or email