Audrey Lee, Cedartown Pet Boutique

Owner Audrey Lee points to the many ribbons she has received at shows featuring a Tibetan Mastiff, her favorite breed.

Agnes Hagin

Dogs take center stage at Cedartown Pet Boutique, located at 367 Piedmont Highway.

This is evident after the door opens for a visitor, who is greeted with happy barks and wagging tails.

A customer moves aside and points to a waiting truck with doors left open.

“Get in the truck,” he said to his pets.

Light brown and then black feet were in motion as two big bodies ran through the door and jumped on the truck seat followed by their owner.

Then, a longhaired beauty named Cher enters the room with a wiggly walk and a pink bow adorning her head. It was quickly noted that she is the adored pet of founder and owner Audrey Lee.

She encouraged Cher, a shih tzu, to do tricks and the little dog was rewarded with a treat.

Lee discussed her love of all animals. He passion has continued to grow since age 12.

“I was always asking my mother to let me get one more pet,” she said.

Her favorite show dog is a Tibetan Mastiff, an ancient breed with nomadic cultures of Tibet, China, Nepal, Ladah and Central Asia.

The walls of the reception room are filled with photographs of Lee with her winning dogs and a variety of multi-colored ribbons.

Lee talks of how she spends time with her 15 dogs before traveling to meets, including one in Greenville, S.C. later this month (July).

“It gives me great pleasure to groom my dogs – even after a day with those left in my care,” she said.

She not only grooms but also provides boarding and basic training classes for pets. This includes instruction in such commands as sit, stay and heel.

“Dogs are very sensitive to commands and attitudes,” Lee said. “They know if you are trying to force them and can develop an attitude of independence if you want to show them who is boss. It takes love and patience to teach an animal if you want to be successful.”

There are many breeds and mixed breeds in today’s world, according to Lee. However, the most popular are poodles and the Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie).

Lee said there is a misconception when people see a grooming session.

“Some believe this job is easy and grooming is a cool job,” she said. “It is a great profession but takes time to learn the skills needed. You don’t learn it in a few days or weeks but months.”

She recalls her early years in business, which was started at her home due to her interest and passion for dogs. As more customers arrived, she considered opening a shop.

With support from her husband Don Lee and children, Thomas and Julie, the decision was made.

A name was chosen and location selected and the rest is described as history.

Cedartown Pet Boutique officially opened in 1993 with about 300 customers. Today, the customer base is approximately 7,500.

Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday and Wednesday.

For more information, call Lee at 770-748-0518.