Olga Zabelinskaya, Elite Pet Spa & Boutique Owner
2010 Cardinal Crystal Award Winner, Retail Groomer of the Year – Less than 5 Shops and American Groomer of the Year
Certified Master Groomer and owner of Elite Pet Spa & Boutique in Madison, New Jersey, Olga Zabelinskaya grew up in Russia surrounded by animals, so when she came to the United States there was no question of what she was going to do. The former engineering and law school student didn’t waste any time contacting breeders to learn how to style their pets. “I loved to watch dog shows and was curious how dogs can look so beautiful,” Olga says. “Then I got a grooming magazine with competition pictures and DVD’s. After a few days of watching it I decided to groom dogs like my grooming idols do. I have been grooming for nine years now.”
It wasn’t long before Olga was learning from some of the best in the business, including Christina Pawlosky, Sally Hawks, Lisa Leady, Jody Murphy and Loretta Marchese, and taking inspiration from these groomers, as well as Liz Paul and Karen Tucker. Within five years she was a member of the prestigious Groom Team USA, which represents the United States at international grooming competitions.
Today Olga is a highly respected professional dog groomer who specializes in grooming Bichon Frises for competition, and her services are often sought out by Bichon owners who want their dogs to look flawless. Olga estimates she grooms about 100 dogs weekly and has groomed over 5,000 Bichons since she began grooming. To get that rounded, soft Bichon look that she has perfected, Olga likes to use 26-teeth blenders, saying “I cannot groom dogs without these shears. They give me speed and a smooth scissoring finish.”
In her nine years as a groomer, Olga has racked up an impressive array of awards and certifications, in addition to the 2010 Cardinal Crystal Grooming Achievement Awards for American Groomer of the Year and Retail Groomer of the Year – Less than 5 Shops. She has attained Certified Master Groomer status and is also a member of the International Pet Groomers Association and National Dog Groomers Association of America. Olga’s awards comprise past Cardinal Crystal Grooming Achievement Awards, including last year’s American Groomer of the Year and Congeniality Awards. She has also received Best in Show honors at Carolina GroomFest, and was a Top Ten member of Groom Team USA in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Despite this impressive array of awards and certifications, Olga has bigger things in mind. “I want to win an Intergroom Gold Medal and a World Champion title,” she says.
Olga uses Cardinal products on her client dogs and especially likes the Viva La Dog Spa Cucumber Melon Grooming Spritz for matted dogs. “It helps me detangle long coated dogs like Shih Tzus very fast and it smells delicious.” Despite its effectiveness, the Cucumber Melon Grooming Spritz probably wouldn’t have helped her most difficult grooming assignment, which involved a competition dog she hadn’t seen in three months. “I was de-matting him for five hours the night before my competition,” Olga says. “I did a nice job though. I won a class over 20 other contestants.”
When she’s not grooming dogs, Olga is active in several local animal charities. “I work with a group of fabulous dog lovers and we help many rescue organizations and shelters, including the North Jersey Bichon Frise Rescue, 11th Hour Rescue, Humane Society of New York and the Yorkie 911 Rescue. I donate money and dog goods and help to organize fundraising events.” Olga is always quick to not only volunteer her time and skills to fundraisers, but she also offers her grooming services for free to raise money for causes that are important to her.
Olga’s Elite Pet Spa & Boutique offers human-like services for pets, including “paw-dicures,” blueberry facials and Dead Sea mineral mud scrubs, all of which use only natural and organic products. The salon is the go-to destination for dogs in preparation for the Westminster Kennel Club Show and the Eukanuba Dog Show. The Boutique features a variety of playful toys and stylish outerwear for pets, as well as treats and special birthday “cakes” for canine customers.
Olga loves her work, and considers an ideal day one in which all of her customers are happy, the dogs look good and are finished on time. Still, she harbors a secret desire to be a pilot, but says, “I like my life, my job and my friends and I don’t want to change it.”
For more information, visit
the Cardinal Pet Care website at
www.CardinalPet.com or call 1-800-433-7387. More information is
also available on the Cardinal
Achievement Awards Facebook page -