Posted 2 months ago ago
Martina AKA The Italian Dog Groomer with Shih-poo Monty, a doggie client (Image: Martina Troili)
Ever felt rushed, ignored or even anxious while at the hairdresser? Awkward small talk aside, many of us often don’t enjoy all the noise or having a stranger touch us - and your dog probably doesn’t either.
Luckily, The Italian Dog Groomer offers a more intimate and relaxing alternative for dogs based in West London.
Rome-born Martina Troili’s slower-paced appointments and one-to-one grooms are a far cry from the stressful experience pups sometimes have in traditional shops.
As a rule each four-legged ‘client’ will only ever be seen alongside another dog if they live together or know each other well.
Martina said: “In most of the shops, they're surrounded by lots of noises, people they don't know, other dogs they may be a little bit wary about - and in some, they put them in cages to wait their turn. Old dogs or puppies can be quite frightened.
“It’s pretty standard, but it's something that I didn't really like, and that's why I decided to do it differently.”
Post-groom smiles from happy ‘client’ Killy, a Cockapoo, and Martina (Image: Martina Troili)
Instead, Martina, who has been based in the UK for more than 15 years, used her experience working for luxury corporations to launch a bespoke service that can be tailored to each pooch.
Her model allows more time to give dogs extra attention, with sessions lasting longer to incorporate treats, bonding and 15 minutes of playtime beforehand.
She said: “Spending that extra time at the beginning of the session before putting them on the table, it's very useful. With me they always have this little time to acclimatise. It’s not a rush appointment, it’s not something mechanical.
“For most dog owners, dogs are like children, and like literally with children, when you need to choose a nursery or a doctor, you really would like someone that pays attention to your child 100 per cent unconditionally for that space of time. I set up my business in this way because I think it’s a nice touch dogs deserve, and dog owners deserve too.”
The Italian Dog Groomer’s services even include a ‘Puppy Intro’ package, designed to get new pets acquainted with washes and haircuts. This involves lots of cuddles, plus an introduction to the tools of the trade.
A mid-groom shot featuring adorable pooch Monty (Image: Martina Troili)
Martina explained: “I really take my time and show them all the tools to get them used to the noises. The clippers, the scissors, the sounds of the drier. I believe that it's very important to spend more time and more energy introducing them to everything – then when they come for the full groom, they will recognise everything already.”
Raised in a village near Rome, Martina instils her business with an Italian sense of community.
She said: “The relationship that I have with my clients and their dogs, it's very simple and very honest. In general, it's quite friendly – my clients are my friends.
“It's something that resembles how things can be done in Italy.”
Most clients visit her from Chiswick, Shepherds Bush and Acton, though a few travel further afield from Richmond, Swiss Cottage and Regent’s Park. Some have even become friends with each other.
Martina with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Henry, another client (Image: Martina Troili)
Her Instagram account, @theitaliandoggroomer, was created in late 2020 to further establish this West London community. Filled with adorable doggie doodles hand-drawn by Martina, it’s also an outlet for her creativity.
She explained: “Besides my studies and my previous career path, I always had two passions – and one was drawing and one was dogs. I really wanted to find a way to combine my passions. Truly, what I like doing the most is grooming dogs and drawing."