Local pet owners have a new location in Smyrna where they can get their cats and dogs spiffed up and looking good.

Smyrna residents J.C. and Selina Francis opened up their animal grooming business in March. A Natural Paw is J.C. and Selina's first time owning a pet grooming business and they hope it'll give residents another option for such a service.

The road to the business started when J.C. was laid off and Selina suggested his next job be something he loves to do….his passion.

"I like animals. I've had dogs my whole life," J.C. said.

So he attended Wizard of Paws Grooming School in Rehoboth Beach, graduated in December and decided to open his own business. For both J.C. and Selina they wanted to make sure that A Natural Paw offered something a little different from other pet grooming businesses. The two treat the animals like family and not like animals. While at A Natural Paw, the animals get a chance to walk around and play instead of being locked up in a cage the entire time.

Along with typical pet grooming services, J.C. and Selina also offer skunk odor removal.

Moreover, the Francis' do their best to offer natural products as well. Selina said they had done some research on products because their dog, which has skin issues, would have problems whenever it came home from the dog groomer. Her research found that some pet grooming products use a lot of chemicals, so they decided to use more natural products. The fact that they use natural products for their services is how J.C. and Selina came to choose A Natural Paw as the name of their business.

They also offer all-natural pet food and some retail products.

Helping Selina and J.C. at A Natural Paw is fellow Smyrna-Clayton resident Toni Knopf, who said she loves having the chance to work in her hometown.

"I've been around animals my whole life. I like working with animals," Knopf said. "I'm a farm girl, an animal person so this is natural to me."

Thus far, J.C. and Selina said they've gotten a great response from the community and have gotten good feedback from customers. J.C. said customers like that the animals can roam free while Selina said customers like the way the animals are treated.

Like Knopf, Selina and J.C. love being able to work in their hometown.

"I've been around town for so long, I grew up here. I know everyone. People from town walk in and say, 'Oh this is your place,'" J.C. said. "It's nice knowing people when they walk in. That's one of the main reasons we opened up here."

Email Jennifer Dailey at jennifer.dailey@doverpost.com.