Professional Pet Grooming
Are We a Good Match?
Are We a Good Match?
Choosing your pet's groomer is a bigger decision, these days, than most people realize when they bring home their new furry family member. We worry more today about our pets well-being: their safety, emotionally and physically, and we want the right people taking care of our pets.
In today's society of social media, and people connecting to their pets on a level like never before, being a pet professional can be just as mentally taxing (if not more) as it is physically. And trust me when I say this is a very physically demanding career choice.
So before you bring us your pet and we get attached, if you are considering The Tortoise and The Hair for your pet's skin and coat care needs, I want to start that relationship with clear, honest communication.
First: I, the owner and current head groomer, have ADHD. Well technically i'm "classified" in the Tourettes category, but that includes aspects of ADHD, OCD, even ASD.
The positives include:
- The ability to hyper-focus on what i'm passionate about (Grooming) I tell people all the time that I have OCDG: Obsessive Compulsive Dog Grooming. ;)
- I have become one of the top groomers in Canada, when it comes to handling skills, grooming skills, and dog/grooming related knowledge. I even represented Canada at the world grooming games in 2017.
- I am more forgiving about being late for an appointment, or miss-communication resulting in error on a client's part than more organized groomers, because I GET IT. I am one of those people too. We will do our absolute best to accommodate, when these things happen, but please be aware we can only be forgiving or accommodating to a point. (I often paid my massage therapist the full cost of the appointment because I missed appointments and felt bad, and know it isn't fair to lose income because Clients continually miss appointments)
- I have so many amazing ideas on how to run a successful grooming business, and how to make the grooming experience better for both pet and owner.
- I've even developed my own grooming techniques and educate other groomers, so i can help other groomers learn and grow.
- I have a lot of grooming talent
- I have a very difficult time with organization, customer relations, implementing all those wonderful new ideas, and achieving my business goals. While I do make progress and I have gotten much better with my people skills, as time went by, it has been a SLOW process, and I am finally understanding that the more I try to speed things up, the slower I actually am at making progress. My brain just won't allow me to accomplish things as fast as the ideas come in.
- My time management is atrocious. My best clients are very patient and understand that sometimes the groom may take longer than normal, do to any number of circumstances related to poor time management, but trust that their pet is still in good hands. I had one client in Edmonton tell me "don't worry, hun. I know that if you say he'll be done at 3, to come at 3:45" and as much as that could be insulting, for me that was incredibly supportive. This is why I now text clients when I am finished
- While I am good at staying calm and positive, my mind can be overwhelmed when there is a major transition, such as a staff member leaving, or equipment breaking down, and while the care of the animals never suffers, it can take me a bit to get back into a flow, as i try to do damage control. What might seem simple to some, such as rescheduling appointments, because a groomer is sick, or ordering new equipment because something broke, etc., is like i suddenly have to solve world hunger in 5 minutes. It is intense.... On the other hand, i can look at a dog, assess it's coat and skin condition and know the best way to get that dog looking and feeling it's best in 30 seconds like its second nature. What can i say? ... Minds are strange.
So if you:
- want your pet groomed somewhere where the staff are expected to always be learning and growing and updating their skills under the supervision of one of the top groomers in Canada
- want honest and compassionate care
- can be flexible and patient
- are willing to talk with me, if you have concerns and come up with resolutions together as team players in the care of your pet.
- can look past some of the quirks and disorganization, especially when there is a major transition, like new staff, or construction, or new services added
However, if you:
- aren't a flexible person
- need consistency and order in your life
- have a strict schedule
Second: Grooming is NEVER without risks. Whether you do it yourself at home, or hire a professional, grooming pets requires sharp objects on moving targets. Professional grooming also requires keeping track of hundreds of animals' haircuts, personalities, health issues, and behavior, and often requires problem solving on the fly.
Accidents and mishaps CAN happen.
Please keep the following in mind:
- Statistically more animals get injured being groomed at home than at a professional's.
- We get peed on, clean up poop, get snapped at, get scratched, cut or scratch ourselves with tools because we put our hands between the sharp objects and the moving dog, deal with hair splinters and infections, and are highly prone to shoulder, elbow, wrist, lung and other issues.
- We do this job because we love it, and we get attached to the dogs we groom, and while we often learn to compartmentalize so we can carry on with the next groom, we hurt, feel remorse, and struggle when mistakes happen.
- Groomers, Veterinarians, and other Animal Care Workers are at a higher risk of mental health issues, from the ever increasing pressure of expected flawlessness and the public shame often brought down upon them when a mistake happens, thanks to social media, fear mongering campaigns from animal rights activists, and highlighted or exaggerated news stories about RARE grooming related injuries.
Pet owners also make mistakes. We see and have to work with dogs that:
- suffer from pain and health issues due to obesity
- have painful rotting teeth and bad breath
- come in with untreated or improperly treated chronic ear, eye, or skin infections
- have uncomfortable matted fur, and problem causing overgrown feet, facial or sanitary hair.
- have overgrown nails causing foot pain and deformities.
- have little to no training or socialization outside of the home.
If you, as a potential client
- can understand that humans make mistakes, whether they are a groomer, or a groomer's client?
- want groomers who are on your team when it comes to your pet's skin and coat care?
- can rationally discuss solutions to conflicts or concerns?
- want someone you can feel comfortable coming to with your grooming related concerns and questions?