CITY OF OCONOMOWOC - When she began grooming dogs more than 30 years ago, Lisa's Grooming Salon owner Lisa Oestreich said dogs, for the most part, were treated a lot different than they are today.

"The products are getting better that we use, and the way that people value their pets has changed over the years. They're more like a family member,” Oestreich said. “Dogs sleep in bed with us versus tied up on a chain outside, so that's changed.”

Oestreich said 30 years is a long time in this business. Most groomers don't make it past the seven-year mark because ailments such as knee problems and carpal tunnel syndrome set on quickly. She made sure never to push herself; she wanted to stress quality work over quantity, she said.

And that worked out for her home life as well.

"I was able to raise two kids and attend all their sports around the clients' needs,” Oestreich said. “My favorite thing is the flexibility."

Mud baths

As grooming techniques have changed (dogs now get blueberry facials and mud baths), the customers don't change so much. They just get older, Oestreich said.

“I'm seeing a lot of customers' second or third dogs,” she said “As my children grow up, so do my clients. Now I'm seeing little babies who are now driving, having families of their own, things like that. So that's kind of cool.”

Her career began in high school when Oestreich visited her guidance counselor to try to figure out what she should do after graduation. She told the counselor that she wanted to do something with animals. The counselor recommended dog grooming school, so that's what she did.

“And I loved grooming dogs from then on,” she said. “This town has been great. The clients are wonderful, and the dogs are great.”

No bites

Somehow, Oestreich has made it this long without getting bitten by a dog and without any horror stories about poorly behaved dogs.

"I've been grazed but never needed any kind of surgery or stitches, which I think says a lot about my kind comforting way that I handle the animals,” she said. “Knock on wood, it hasn't happened to me yet.”

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