Abbey Trobe, a certified veterinary technician in Wadsworth, saw jobs in her field dry up in recent years. So she parlayed a love for animals into a mobile spa for pets.
She is an Aussie Pet Mobile franchise holder operating throughout Libertyville, Fox Lake, Round Lake, Antioch, Gurnee, Zion and Waukegan and offers a fully equipped pet spa in the back of her van.
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"I think I was born to work with animals," she said. "When I was 9 months old, our Rottweiler had 10 puppies and I was obsessed. I wanted to spend every waking moment with them and then my first word ended up being doggy. From then on out everything was all about animals."
The 27-year-old entrepreneur now handles about 28 dogs and 10 cats each week with her mobile grooming business, which is based in Wadsworth where she lives. She especially caters to older dogs that may struggle climbing into and out of a car and even finicky cats who hate car rides. She comes to them with ramps and a belly sling and anti-fatigue mats.
Trobe's Dodge Sprinter Van is equipped with a deep bath, grooming table, shampoos, conditioners, clippers and more. It also features a 60-gallon water tank, filtration system, water heater, and solar panels to power her grooming equipment.
Aussie Pet Mobile started in Australia, moved to California and then branched out to all states. Trobe saw an article about the franchise which sparked her interest in mobile grooming, she said.
"This is going to sound cheesy but it really is everything I have always wanted," she said. "I became a vet tech because I wanted to work with animals and their owners. Now I get to do that and be able to run things and it is amazing. The cons are that I have never run a business before so I have had to learn as I go and it is really hard. I have been bitten twice both times by cats and both times I wasn't even in the van or grooming."
As the business progresses, she hopes to one day hire a part-time groomer so she can handle more of the office work, she said.
But that doesn't mean she won't be involved with animals in some way.
When she's not working, she has a rescue dog named Charlie that she takes to a dog park. She also does a lot of community work with Wags in Waukegan, Save a Pet in Grayslake, and Good as Gold in Libertyville.
"I always knew that if I had my own business I would want to give back to the amazing animal organizations that help so many pets," she said.
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