Joan Schmuecker

Raised on a farm just outside Norway, IA, Joan has always had an innate connection with animals. Those who know her often describe her as an animal whisperer. Whether bonding with family pets, farm animals, or even rescued wildlife like crows, pheasants, and raccoons, Joan was the go-to person for nurturing and training animals. From early on, she knew she wanted to make a difference in their lives.

Joan pursued her passion by enrolling in the Small Animal Services program at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. After completing her studies, she became an instructor for the pet grooming classes. In 1985, she joined a local animal hospital, where she took care of boarding dogs and sick animals in the kennel. It wasn't long before she embarked on her grooming career.

After 23 years of working at the animal hospital and mastering various aspects of the business, Joan was ready to strike out on her own. In 2009, she founded Peiffer Paws Pet Grooming in Walford, IA, offering grooming services alongside limited boarding and daycare options.

As her understanding of animal communication deepened, Joan sought ways to improve her furry clients' grooming experiences. She became a Reiki Master Teacher, learning to read animals' energy and soothe them during grooming sessions. As a Raindrop Technique Specialist, she employed essential oils to calm dogs who struggled with grooming, enjoying great success in the salon. A year-long Modern Shamanism course helped Joan better comprehend both dogs' and her own energy and its impact on their shared experience.

In 2015, Joan relocated Peiffer Paws Pet Grooming to Cedar Rapids. With the business thriving and eager to expand its services to include lodging and daycare, Joan invited her son, Shawn, to join her in building a welcoming space for dogs to feel good about themselves. Together, they're creating a family-owned business where everyone, both two-legged and four-legged, can feel at home.

Shawn Peiffer


Ever since he could remember, Shawn has been passionate about animals and business, with a special place in his heart for dogs. Growing up, he eagerly took part in Peiffer Paws, a family-run business, where he loved interacting with the boarding and daycare dogs. As he helped his father and grandfather manage their ventures, Shawn honed his skills in mechanical maintenance, customer service, and entrepreneurship.

Fascinated by the world of entrepreneurship, Shawn was always eager to learn about successful business founders and their growth stories. He knew deep down that one day he'd follow his mother's footsteps and become an entrepreneur himself. While still in high school, he started his own lawn mowing service in Walford, gaining valuable business experience early on. After completing high school, Shawn pursued jobs that would give him the experience he needed in areas like customer service, building, and general maintenance.

Shawn's journey led him to a construction company, where he gained two years of hands-on experience in framing, carpentry, and small business management. Eventually, he joined McGrath as a sales professional, mastering the art of exceptional customer service and realizing how professionalism can make or break a deal.

Together with Joan, Shawn began envisioning a facility that would combine their talents and build upon the stellar reputation of Peiffer Paws as the go-to grooming service in Cedar Rapids. Their dream evolved into offering a comprehensive range of services including grooming, daycare and boarding. As their idea took shape, they sought advice from business professionals, bankers, and builders, who all agreed that it was a fantastic plan.

Shawn is now thrilled to roll out this dream venture and make a positive impact on the lives of animals and the community.



Larkyn Aldrich


Larkyn was raised on a farm near Vinton, Iowa, where she was surrounded by a diverse array of animals including elk, llamas, peacocks, goats, potbelly pigs, ponies, fallow deer, bunnies, cats, dogs, and many more. Her unique gift with animals was evident from a young age, as she found peace and love in their company.

In addition to caring for her beloved animals, Larkyn was a passionate swimmer since the age of five. She traveled throughout the Midwest with her mother to compete in club swim meets. As a four-year varsity swim team member in high school, Larkyn earned the honor of being a team captain during her senior year. Upon graduating from Kennedy High School in 2015, she concluded her swimming career. Throughout her time as a swimmer, Larkyn obtained CPR, First Aid, and Lifeguard certifications.

Larkyn's compassionate nature led her to work as a respite caregiver for special needs children, providing in-home care and engaging them in fun community activities. Having grown up with a sister who has special needs, this role was particularly meaningful for her. In 2016, she transitioned to managing a supplement and smoothie business, where she learned the intricacies of operating a small business, managing people, and delivering exceptional customer service. It was during this period that she met Shawn, and the two have been inseparable ever since, contemplating their future together.

Larkyn's lifelong bond with animals was rekindled when Shawn and his mother, Joan, teamed up to establish the Eastern Iowa Pet Resort. As soon as she heard the news, Larkyn knew she would finally be able to make use of her gift and return to working with the animals she loves so dearly.



After graduating from Anamosa High School in 2006, I began working at PetSmart in 2007 as a bather. In April 2008, I attended the PetSmart Academy, where I trained as a professional groomer and became certified in cat grooming. 

My time at PetSmart also provided me with the opportunity to travel to various stores in our district to set up grooming salons and lend a helping hand when they were short staffed.

In 2019, I decided to leave the corporate world of PetSmart and joined K9 Cuts, where I worked for two years. When I found out that my sister Ashley was joining the Eastern Iowa Pet Resort, I knew I wanted to be a part of it too. I'm thrilled to embark on this new adventure!

I've been happily married for 8 ½ years, and we welcomed our daughter into the world in August 2017. Our family also includes our fur child, Hugo, a 13-year-old toy poodle who is as energetic as ever!

In our free time, we love going on vacations, spending time outdoors, and enjoying motorcycle rides.


Growing up in Anamosa, I've always had a soft spot for animals, particularly dogs. After graduating high school in 2000, I knew I wanted to attend Kirkwood Community College and enroll in their pet grooming program.

My first grooming internship was at The Pet Stop, where I was subsequently hired full time. There, I honed my grooming skills and developed exceptional customer service abilities. When the business was sold, I opened my own grooming salon, Ashley's Pet Grooming, in Springville.

In 2005, I closed my salon and took a job at Petsmart in Cedar Rapids, attracted by their excellent benefits and the chance to travel. I helped set up grooming salons across the district, ensuring they were ready for their grand openings, and assisted salons that were short staffed. After many years at Petsmart, I left the corporate world in 2019 to work for a small business called K-9 Cuts.

I met Joan through my fiancé, Matt, who was the foreman for the Eastern Iowa Pet Resort's construction. The moment I heard about their incredible vision, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I'm eager to grow with the facility and see where this exciting journey leads.

I take pride in providing the utmost care to every pet I groom, treating them as if they were my own. I pay close attention to grooming instructions and details, and always inform pet parents of any medical concerns that may require veterinary attention.

My family includes two boys, my fiancé, three dogs, and a cat. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, hosting family cookouts, spending time outdoors with my kids and dogs, and going on motorcycle rides with my fiancé.