Dog owners in Nesquehoning no longer have to struggle to wash their pets in the bathtub.

They can thank Elizabeth Lisella for that. After all, it is her job.

Lisella opened the K-9 Bath and Body dog spa on West Catawissa Street April 1, after much encouragement from local canine lovers.

"People in the area kept telling me that I needed to open a spa here," she said. "They desperately needed a place close by to get their dogs groomed."

With the help of her husband, who originally hails from Carbon County, Lisella relocated here from her native Virginia to capitalize on this business opportunity.

"Everyone in Nesquehoning is so nice," she said. "They have welcomed me with open arms."

Although her storefront is new, Lisella has been in the dog care business for over 20 years, starting with her work in a pet store as a teenager. She later attended West Virginia Canine College in Buchanon, W.V. to become certified in dog care. Realizing that grooming was more her style, she then enrolled in the Nanhall School of Pet Grooming in Greensboro, N.C.

Shortly after graduating from Nanhall, Lisella opened up her first business, PetStyles, in Virgina. The dog salon and spa is still thriving today after 19 years of business and losing its founder to the charms of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

"I go back and visit PetStyles every so often," Lisella said. "I have a great staff of employees working there, and they usually handle running the salon by themselves."

Lisella said that the main difference between her current store and the one south of the Mason-Dixon line is size.

"My salon here is much smaller than the one in Virginia, and I'm the only one working," she said. "But it does give my work a more personal touch and allows me to give more one on one attention to my clients."

But it's not only her clients that Lisella is giving attention to. She's doing her part to help clean the massive oil spill plaguing the Gulf of Mexico, one pet at a time.

After seeing a news story featuring hair stylists and their pledge to donate cut hair to the relief effort, Lisella was motivated to contribute. She recently began to ship all of the cut dog her from her salon to MatterofTrust.org, a charity organization. The hair is used to line nylon tubes, which are placed in the water in an attempt to absorb the spilt oil.

"This spill is gigantic and we need to get it to stop," Lisella said. "Every little piece of dog hair counts, and it's better than just throwing it away."

Area residents who wish to pamper their dogs, while also making the world a cleaner place, are invited to make an appointment with Lisella. The K-9 Bath and Body spa offers a wide range of services for dogs of all shapes and sizes, including baths, haircuts, nail clipping, ear cleaning and flea and tick treatments.

Lisella asks that appointments be scheduled ahead of time, either via phone at (570)-669-9788 or in person at 17 W. Catawissa St, Nesquehoning.

No walk-ins will be tolerated.