SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s note: After this article was first published, Valerie Pantoja told KSAT that the grooming trailer was found and the damage sustained to it can be repaired.
Pantoja said some equipment was missing and the trailer was not found in the best condition, but that the damage can be repaired.
Arriving Monday to start another busy week, Valerie Pantoja went to a U.S. Storage facility at Loop 410 and Highway 151 to get the trailer she uses for her business, Zoomie’s Mobile Dog Grooming.
“My gate had been open, the lock was completely missing and my work trailer was gone,” Pantoja said.
She said the 15-foot long trailer was kept at the rear of the property so that it could not be seen from the street.
Yet, whoever stole it, still managed to find the trailer loaded with thousands of dollars in grooming equipment, tools and supplies, everything that Pantoja needed for her business.
She said it didn’t help that the surveillance video she posted on the Zoomie’s Facebook page shows that the exit gate where they went in and out, was left open after it had gotten jammed earlier in the day.
“It happened in less than ten minutes,” Pantoja said.
The trailer had been hooked up to a late model, light-colored Dodge Ram pickup truck, then dragged away using a chain.
Pantoja said with it, they stole her livelihood.
She said many of her clients have older dogs, some with special needs, most of whom are her neighbors, who enjoy the convenience of a mobile dog grooming service.
“I saw her post and my heart literally just shattered for her because she’s so good at what she does,” said her client, Felicia Escalante. “That’s her life. That’s how she makes her income.”
Another frequent client, Susan Michael, said, “It’s just unbelievable that somebody would do that to her.”
Michael said Pantoja is the only groomer that her dog Rupert trusts.
“She’s the only groomer that he’ll actually run to,” Michael said. “All the other groomers, he runs away from.”
Although she had wanted to be a veterinarian, Pantoja said she started working at vet clinics and volunteering at the San Antonio Humane Society since she was a teenager, until finally learning how to groom dogs when she was 16-years-old.
Pantoja said even if Zoomie’s brightly colored truck is found abandoned, she may be able to start over again.
“At the very, very, very beginning with nothing in my hand but the knowledge in my head,” Pantoja said.
Anyone with information about the theft late Saturday night or about the location of the trailer, are urged to call San Antonio Police.