Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. The only standard Puppy Cut is for the poodle which is not what all the other breed owners wants. The Puppy Cut they are asking for is open for interpretation by the stylist. Be specific about what a puppy cut is to you, ie.. Half inch length all over, cute short ears, and a fluffy neat face.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. I approach every groom as a first time with that dog working to achieve the best possible style. I have an aversion to kennel clip #5 round head.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I get to see the dog's environment, I have found that even when a coat is filthy dirty it can mean that dog isn't neglected but has a VERY active lifestyle along side their outdoor working people. The dirtiest dog can be living the most fulfilling happiest life of all.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. Can you comb all those tangles out? It depends on how tight they are, I will do my best using all the tricks I know but I will not torturer the dog. Sometimes it is best to start over with a new fur. Damaged fur leads to more nasty tangles and it becomes a vicious circle.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. I am one of the lucky few who make a living doing what I love, grooming dogs. In a former life I was what I felt to be as chained to the inside of a store usually in a mall with no window to the out of doors. Climate controlled so that the only clue as to the time of year was the clothing on the racks and a watch for the time of day. After grooming school I discovered the world of Mobile Grooming where my salon was in the back of a van or in my case a box truck. This freedom of movement in the elements is intoxicating added to the interaction with the dogs, truly a dream job.
The first time I filled my new grooming van in the Greater Cincinnati Area 10 years ago gas was .89 cents a gallon. It was a fluke price then as it usually bounced from $.99 to $1.20 a gallon at that time and I thought,” wow, you may never see this price again”. Sadly it is barely a memory. Four years ago my husband and I with our dogs moved to Darien, GA and I again started the mobile grooming business, serving mostly Saint Simons Island and Brunswick which is south of Darien.
I now park the grooming van on a friend’s farm on the north end of Saint Simons Island. This saves me about 50 gallons of gas a week. Since Wendell, a fabulous Rottweiler rescued from a local shelter has moved on to his forever family I have been bringing Oliver our Schnauzer from the same shelter but is with his forever family, to work with me almost every day. There are lots of horses on the farm and an old mere of 32 years is allowed to roam free, so we must keep the gates closed so she does not graze her way off of the farm. Thursday morning I am driving onto the farm – get out of the van to open the gate – get back into the van to drive through the gate – get back out of the van to close the gate when Natalie’s parents dogs coming running up – spy Oliver in the mini van – and jump against the van and bark. Oliver being who he is could not allow this to go unanswered – jumped against the window barking and lands on the automatic door locks! The auto is running I had already turned off the air and my cell phone is inside in my purse. I tried all door and windows everything is closed up tight.
I walked to the other side of the barn where Mr. Murra was working on some electricity and asked if I could use his cell phone. Thank goodness he had one and I could use it. I had explained why it was needed and he said that he always leaves his window open a bit for just such an emergency, which is what I do now. I called Matt and of course he had forgotten his cell phone at home. I did not know Chuck’s number off the top of my head. I called my father and he was awake and home. He said that he would go to our house in Darien to get Matt’s key to the van then go back to their home in Brunswick to pick up Mom then come to the farm at the north end of Saint Simons Island. This would take about and hour and a half but it was the best option we had. I gave the phone back to Mr. Murra then walked back to the van with Oliver. He was quite excited to see me, so I tried to get him to step on the automatic door lock to unlock the doors. Finally he was standing on the button but he just isn’t heavy enough. I kept knocking on the windows and tried to get him to hop on the button but he never landed in the correct spot and all the time kept looking at me like I had lost all my marbles which at this point I had. Then I tried walking away from the van like I was going for a walk and kept calling Oliver. Well, this got him all worked up because HE WANTED TO GO and when he desperately wants something he starts dancing – I kept calling him and he kept crying because I would not open the door for him and he would dance some more and then he danced right onto the unlock button and a window open button and crisis over. Oliver got lots of kisses and hugs but we were now an hour late for the first appointment so the poor guy never got a walk.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. I attend at least one Grooming show a year, usually the Atlanta Pet Fair in March. This is where I learn about the newest products, watch demonstrations of newest techniques and styles, and attend seminars covering all aspects of the grooming industry.