When Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered non-essential businesses to shut down earlier this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, pet groomer Debra Izzo applied for a permit through the New York State Department of Health to reopen her shop, The Dirty Dawg, in Bellmore, to continue serving the community’s furry friends.
“I was one of the very few grooming shops on Long Island that was issued a permit to operate,” Izzo, of Islip, said, “so to help other people that were not my regular customers during that time, I offered a $20 special.”
The deal allowed longtime clients as well as newcomers to bring their pets to Izzo’s shop for a coat and nail trimming and a sanitary shave, which was particularly helpful for the more matted animals who visited her grooming table, she said. “If the dog was in extreme need, where there was a medical need, we were allowed to groom it.”
Izzo opened The Dirty Dawg on Newbridge Road in October 2006; at that time, only she and her daughter, Debi, manned the shop. “When she first opened, I didn't even groom dogs,” Debi said. “My grooming experience [came] from working with her closely.”
Izzo is past president of the Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores and currently serves as the Street Festival Coordinator. She is also a member of the local Lions and Kiwanis organizations. Before opening The Dirty Dawg, Izzo worked at Dog Grooming by Rachel in Wantagh for more than a decade, which enabled her to get acquainted with the local clientele.
“Some have asked why I would open my grooming shop in Nassau County when I live in Suffolk County,” her website reads. “For me the answer is simple: After working in Nassau for 11 years why would I open anywhere else? I have developed great friendships with the residents of Nassau County, and their pets.”
The small shop offers a variety of grooming services for all dog and cat breeds, as well as other animals like guinea pigs and lizards. “We offer a customer referral program, saving opportunities, and we also have gift certificates available,” Izzo said.
A pur-fect place for pets
The most important aspect at The Dirty Dawg, however, is that clients get a personal and friendly experience every time. This is exemplified by return customers who brought their pets back to Izzo’s business after years long excursions in places like Florida and Greece, she said.
“It’s good to know that they’re that happy with my work that they will go out of their way on their vacation to make sure they bring their dog here,” Izzo added. “We do our best to please all of our customers, and when they’re not happy, we try and find a solution to make them happy.”
The Dirty Dawg is at 1867 Newbridge Road in Bellmore. The shop is open Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For business inquires, call (516) 785-2442.