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April 18, 2014

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RANDOM: Stories about people we meet by chance:

She still prefers their company

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Leila Navidi

Lanette Doherty, a pet groomer who moved to the Las Vegas area a month ago from Arizona, tries to get her pug, Esquire, to look at the camera while holding her papillon, Gizmo, in her home Monday.

She was a new face at the pet grooming salon.

Lanette Doherty and her husband arrived a month ago from Apache Junction, outside Phoenix, where they had rented a small house on a small lot.

Here they found a killer deal on a house through a bank sale. For $215,000 they got 1,500 square feet over by Lone Mountain, with a giant back yard and pool. When it was new four years ago, she said, those houses went in the mid-$300,000s.

Her husband, Bill, was following a job to Nellis Air Force Base as a civilian telecommunications worker. Lanette had no trouble lining up work.

“I’ve always loved animals,” she told me. “Originally I had gone into cosmetology, but that wasn’t for me. I’m not good with people.

“I have a type-A personality. People complained about me, about how I come off. I’m pretty blunt with people.”

Dogs don’t complain.

Given a choice, she would groom standard poodles all day long. Their show cuts are the most challenging. “It’s all scissors,” she said. “And extreme.”

The first step in grooming any dog is to approach it with confidence, she said. “The dog has to sense that you know what you’re doing. If you walk up to a dog and you’re afraid of it, they may turn around and bite you.

“So take command. They’ll do what you want if you take control.”

Except for a big gray Weimaraner back in Jacksonville, Fla.

“My second week on the job,” she said. “The dog had been rescued that same day. It had been abused. It didn’t growl, it didn’t bark, it didn’t pull away from me. But when I leaned over to do his toenails, and I picked his paw up, I must have set him off.

“He bit my upper lip off, just that fast. An inch and a half.”

It doesn’t show. Good plastic surgery.

Her take on dogs and people:

“Dogs do things out of instinct. People do things out of spite.”

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