Temporary ‘tattoos’ offered by Durham dog groomer

Dec. 09, 2012 @ 02:55 PM

While other dogs looked on at the grooming salon Beth’s Barks N Bubbles, the 9-year-old white standard poodle Roxie stood on a table in the center of the room as a series of pink hearts were airbrushed onto her fur.
Beth Johnston, owner of the salon on Hope Valley Road, started offering dog temporary “tattoo” and coloring earlier this year in addition to her to her existing dog grooming services. She airbrushes non-toxic, temporary tattoo paint onto a dog’s fur for $10 to $25.
“Anything I can draw or make a stencil (of), I can put on a dog,” said Johnston, who said she’s involved with the National Association of Professional Creative Groomers, and with the National Dog Groomers Association of America.
Creative coloring allows her to access her creative side, Johnston said. While she said there are creative groomers who choose to use bleach and oxidizing dyes, she said she doesn’t believe in using those products on animals.
“If it’s not safe for me, it’s not safe (for dogs),” Johnston said.
Johnston said she attended a creative grooming seminar of the National Association of Professional Creative Groomers, where she said she learned about safe products to use for grooming as well as temporary tattooing.
She has done tattoos and coloring on her own dogs, and since she started offering the service at her own salon, she said she’s had a handful of dogs. But she said she hasn’t had as many clients opt for the service as she would like.
According to a statement from the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, emailed by Nicole Dao, a media liaison for the organization, PETA believes that dyeing an animal’s fur can cause the animal stress, and can lead to complications or allergic reactions.
“Our dogs and cats love us regardless of how we look,” the statement said. “Why not extend the same kindness to them?”
According to the National Association of Professional Creative Groomers website http://thenapcg.com/is-it-abuse/, the association does not condone the use of permanent color or bleach, which can contain chemicals that should not be used on animals. However, the post also said the organization works to educate groomers about brands and ingredients that are safe.
“We at the NAPCG believe that animals are not embarrassed by their appearance,” the website also said. “We do feel that a person treating a dog a certain way will evoke a response from the dog.”
As jazz music played in the background Thursday, Johnston applied a second coat of polish on Roxie’s toenails. She added an additional coat of pink color to the dog’s ears and tail, and airbrushed hearts onto her back right leg, and added one to her front right.
“The hardest part is to keep them still,” Johnston said.
After the service was done in a few minutes, Roxie was led off the table and into an open pen. The dog chose to sit inside the pen, howling occasionally. As their owners began arriving, the dogs barked in excitement.
When Chapel Hill resident Cydney Morel-Corton arrived, Roxie was put on a leash to be taken out to her owner. The dog jumped and wiggled.
Morel-Corton said she’s been taking Roxie to Johnston for grooming for about eight years. Johnston opened Beth’s Barks N Bubbles in Durham about two years ago, but worked at Beauty Meets the Beast in Carrboro for about 13 years prior to that.
“I thought it would be fun,” Morel-Corton said of the pink temporary tattoos. “She’s very girly-girl.”
Morel-Corton said Roxie has been a source of healing and comfort for herself, and for her children, through some of life’s challenges.
Morel-Corton is a breast cancer survivor, which is why she chose a pink temporary tattoo for Roxie. Morel-Corton said she was diagnosed in June of last year, and is now considered cancer-free.
“She supports breast cancer awareness, too,” Morel-Corton said of Roxie.
Morel-Corton said she’s taken on cancer awareness as a personal cause. She started a blog on the social networking website Facebook called Pink Cherokee Warrior Princess Stories, and she has participated in children’s bereavement camps.
“Roxie’s helped us through a lot of struggles,” she said.
Roxie also helped Morel-Corton and her two sons through the death of her husband, Kevin Morel, in 2005, she said. He died from lung cancer.
“She was a companion, you know how dogs are – always there, loving, happy, (she kept) a smile on (my) face,” she said.
Morel-Corton said they got Roxie as a puppy when Morel was still alive. To get her energy out, Morel-Corton said she would take Roxie for runs.
Eventually she became like her personal trainer. The dog would greet her at the door, “ready to go,” she said.
Now she said she runs multiple times per week. She said she also participates in races that raise money for cancer research and awareness. 
She is now remarried, and has five children with her husband, Chris Corton. They’re all Roxie lovers, she said.