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Pet Salon opens doors on Oakdale’s west end
Pet salon 529
M’Lynn Stief is all smiles with one of her many four-legged clients at her recently opened K-9 Pet Salon By M’Lynn. Photo Contributed

It could easily be said that M’Lynn Stief was born to work with dogs.

The owner of the recently opened K-9 Pet Salon by M’Lynn shared being in the shop with her clients’ dogs is where she feels most at home.

“I have been obsessed with dogs my whole life, absolutely obsessed,” the salon owner shared.

According to Stief, it was a passion so evident that at the age of 18 her mother encouraged her to apply for a groomer position at the newly opened PetSmart in Merced. Just days shy of her 18th birthday, Stief did exactly that and it was ‘the sky’s the limit’ from there.

After landing a job as a groomer with PetSmart, Stief relocated to San Diego for a bit. A move which opened the door for more opportunity by way of canines and the salon care world.

“I actually got to train under world renown groomers,” she said of the San Diego stint. “I learned a lot in San Diego, then I moved back and opened my salon at 22.”

At the age of 22 Stief shared she had one of two pet salons in the Merced area. After six years of ownership, she sold the business.

“It was a high-end pet boutique in downtown Merced,” she said. “We were the only thing like that at all in Merced at the time.”

Relocating to Oakdale five years ago after marrying her husband, the business owner shared she tried her hand at working for a small salon in Modesto. Quickly recognizing it was not the right fit, she returned to PetSmart.

“It just rebirthed in me, my heart aches for grooming again. I love it,” she said of feeling drawn to start a salon again, this time in Oakdale.

“The location is everything to me,” she said of the 1214 W. F St., Oakdale, storefront she now occupies. “I don’t want to go open somewhere that if you drive past, you think it could be iffy. If you drive by something with my name on it, I want you to know this is a quality place.”

Stief confessed to watching the shopping center she is now in, hoping for a space to open. And once it did, she acted quickly.

“I literally thought about it a week before I did it and it’s been amazing,” she shared. “I’ve been booked a week out.”

Taking possession in early April, the wife of a firefighter and mother of three-and-a-half-year-old twins, Wyatt and Weston, quickly proved her drive for her first love. She not only transformed the space while caring for her toddlers, but she was open for business by April 29.

“It was 100 percent chaos,” she said of transforming the space with the twins. “I gained a lot of weight, because I stress ate the whole time.”

The mother of twins shared while it was a challenge, the boys were equally helpful as well as entertaining working alongside their entrepreneurial mom.

She also noted being challenged by her husband with the question if she would be able to cover her expenses for the first month once opened.

“Praise God, I was open April 29 and by May 3 I had everything to cover for next month,” she shared. “I am absolutely blown away. I have just met the most amazing people since I opened.”

And while it’s a bit of a juggle between her mom life and business expertise, Stief embodies a strong work ethic, a commitment to her clients, as well as a passion for offering a unique experience at her salon.

“I want to try to focus on doing as close to one-on-one grooming as I can, because my specialty is dogs with high anxiety,” she said, adding that at her former salon she specialized in working with dogs that other salons would no longer take.

“When you come into a grooming salon, the dogs are people’s kids more often than not. Groomers do not want owners to stay with their dogs because it just makes it stressful,” she continued.

Noting that she does not have more than three to four dogs in the shop at one time, the salon is by appointment only. As a one woman show, she limits the number of dogs she sees in a day. Currently she grooms four to six dogs a day and is working four to five days a week.

“I wish I could be here more. I love it, I really do. I didn’t realize how much I missed it,” she confessed. “On everybody’s first appointment they receive a complimentary spa package. That’s like a sample of everything.”

This includes: upgraded shampoo, conditioner, facial, teeth brushing, breath spray and nail filing.

“I am a dog nerd,” Stief said of her love of canines. “I go to all the shows. Growing up most people asked for toys, no. I asked for dog books. My mom would get me books that were out of print about dogs. I just am obsessed with dogs.”

Now as the business continues to thrive, relationships are built and the grooming enthusiast shares her passion with the community, Stief could not be happier.

“I’m blown away by how fast we have grown,” she said. “My goal was to do four dogs a week and I’ve been doing a minimum of four dogs a day, unless I choose not to.”

For more information or to book an appointment call 209-840-4080 or e-mail

“What I enjoy the most is with dogs there’s so much silent communication going on and for the longest time I really didn’t have a voice,” Stief summarized. “With dogs I never had to talk, they just understood me. They could read my body language and I could read theirs.”