Tina, my friend and the owner of Aloha Dog Grooming in Ventura, lives in double-wide trailer on the ranch where she rode horses as a child. Last weekend I visited her ranch. Tina’s, and her boyfriend RJ’s, animal family consists of many dogs, cats, kittens, miniature ponies, chickens, goats, lambs, sheep, bunnies, ducks, a horse, and a parrot (I may be forgetting some).
Even petting zoos, when I was a child, did not elicit the feelings that arose at Tina’s home. I felt young, innocent, and thrilled to be able to be on my knees hugging, kissing, and petting all the animals with not once ounce of fear of being bitten. To my amazement, my love was returned with soft furry faces rubbing against my cheek and little mouths nibbling playfully on my clothing, jewelry, and shoelaces. What astounded me the most, though, was how well everyone got along. Chicks slept on lambs, the parrot rode the sheep, kittens played among the legs of an exuberant, hyperactive lab, and the sheep and lambs followed Tina wherever she went. They even knocked on the door of her home until she let them in.
Elliott the lamb ate hay lying down while with two small chickens huddled together on his back. When I asked him about it, he said, “The chickens keep me company. I like the way they feel.”
Elmer, another lamb, followed me around. To me he looked identical to Elliott but was obviously unique to Tina’s trained eye. Elmer nudged me until I got down on my knees to listen to him. He then said, “We are for loving not for eating. When you are at this place you shouldn’t talk about killing animals.”
There is another part of the ranch where the owner raises lambs just for this purpose. Elmer knows this because he was born there. Elmer, Elliott, and all the other sheep that Tina nurtures were rejected by their mothers at birth. They are the lucky ones that have escaped slaughter to become a part of Tina’s animal family. Not only does Tina run the “Best of Ventura County” dog grooming business, but also she does children’s parties with the farm animals. Some children would never safely hold a duck, pet and feed a sheep, or ride a miniature pony if it wasn’t for Tina.
Tina has over 50 animals and I can honestly say each one gets individual loving attention. Just the other night, Tina spotted instantly that Wiley, a grown sheep, was not well. The veterinarian came out in the middle of the night to treat him. When I talked to Wiley, he said, “When are we going to the beach? It was one of the funniest things ever.” Every now and then you can find Tina parading her animals down by the Ventura pier.
If you ever need an outing for the children, give Tina a call and for a very small fee you can take the children to her Santa Paula ranch and have an experience they will never forget. You can reach Tina on her work line at (805) 643-4852.