I am a dog groomer. I do not groom for show, I do not groom creative cuts with dyes and stenciled art. My work would probably not stand a chance in a real dog grooming competition. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a horrible or even average groomer. I consider myself above average — I give decent haircuts, my clients are happy, I am booked out weeks in advanced and I am currently at capacity for new clients, with a growing waiting list.
I get bit, scratched, pooped on, peed on, sometimes all four at the same time. I have the pleasure of shaving dog butts, balls, and private regions. I clean out infected ears filled with debris, pus and a stench that would make a ogres stomach turn. Anal glands? Yep I do those too. I remove fleas and ticks, sometimes from myself when I get home that night. I have literally had a dogs rotten tooth fall out into my hand as I was brushing his teeth. Green eye pus, dog vomit, caked on fecal matter, I’ve cleaned it all. I’ve smelled of skunk, road kill, dog pee and poop. Forget running to the store right after work to pick up a gallon of milk, I must rush home jump in a shower and wash the daily stench off of me. My hands are so dry and cracked from the constant submersion in water that I now have my 3-year old daughter convinced I’m a witch.
Despite all that, I get the privilege to go to work each day with man or women’s best friend and create masterpieces. Sure they may not be show quality, but they look a hell of a lot better than they did when I first got there. The before and after pictures I often snap show the improvements in physical appearance as well as mental. They always look happier and perkier in the after picture. They know they look good.
There is something relaxing and rewarding about working with dogs. You have to gain their trust as they have to gain yours. And once that trust is gained the friendship between a groomer and a dog can begin. At that point I feel accomplished. Not all of them may want to be my best friend — if someone got too close to your backend with some clippers, let’s see if you wouldn’t turn and show some teeth in protest. But in most cases I have no problems. Just like us humans, the personality of a dog differs between each one.
To gain the respect of another species, make them trust you, improve their appearance and at times quality of life… What could be more glamorous than that?