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A Day in the Life of a Pet Stylist

7:45am I open up the salon, put the A-Frame sign out the front, listen to the phone messages and get out the client cards for the day.

8.00am-9.30am I welcome the clients and their dogs as they start to arrive. We discuss their grooming requirements such as, how long or short they would like their dogs coat trimmed at and they can elect other pampering services that we offer like teeth brushing, nail filing, flea funerals, fur foils or coat colouring, etc. Clients can inform us if there has been any medical changes since their last groom or any other information that we may need to know relating to their dog. New clients are shown through the PIAA accredited salon so they feel comfortable about where their dog will be and the steps involved in how their dog will be groomed. Firstly the dogs are taken for an exercise so they have a chance to go to the toilet as sometimes their owners are in a rush in the morning. This ensures they are comfortable and not holding on for ages or having to go where they wouldnít usually. The dogs then settle in their comfy cubbies and are given fresh water and a treat.

9.30am Ė 9.45am I call any clients that havenít arrived within the drop off time, to see if they are delayed. If I am unable to contact them, I try to fill their dogs spot by calling clients listed on our waiting list. Fortunately most of my clients contact me if they are running late.

9.45am-10am Itís now morning tea time. I enjoy a mug of hot chocolate or a cup of tea with a piece of fruit, biscuit or yogurt. Morning tea isnít always at 9.45am depending on how the dogs have settled and how many late comers there are but my staff & I always stop for our breaks.

10am Ė 12pm Some of the dogs have already been prepared for their bath or are being bathed by my staff, to which I start preparing dogs by brushing out coats, bulk clipping extra long or neglected matted coats, ear cleaning & plucking. I then bath the dogs, firstly putting a cotton ball in each of the dogís ears to prevent water from getting in them and then I shampoo their coats by hand. Some dogs require their anal glands to be expressed, to which I do using the external method. Conditioners are applied and then the excess water is soaked up with a chamois. Itís out of the bath and onto the drying table where they are fluff dried by hand, some dogs finish being dried in their cubbies. Early pick ups are given to Express Groom dogs and dogs that donít require haircuts.

12pm-1pm Some time during this period we have a 30minute lunch break, the dogs are given another treat and their water levels are checked. Even if we are running late we still stop because it keeps us sane, itís a time for my staff and I to have a laugh, talk about things other than grooming and play with our own dogs. Some clients have elected their very lucky dogs to have lunch with the groomers, we let them have a supervised play with our dogs and feed them special chicken or turkey snacks. This has been very successful for some dogs as we train in some basic commands and manners, it builds a healthy relationship with them and they are much better to groom overall. They are confident and happy and love coming to the groomers and see it as a normal part of their life. We donít answer the phone during this period and I cross my fingers that I donít have to get out of my chair for at least 15 minutes. 

1pm- 2pmWe start to clip and scissor our priority dogs such as older dogs, blind dogs or special need dogs. Puppies or first timers get to sit on the grooming table, take in the surroundings and watch us groom other dogs first. By the time it comes round to grooming the puppies they have heard and felt the clippers near them and then itís not so scary. They end up having a happy positive grooming experience which sets them up well for future grooming appointments. Some of this time is spent answering the phone and returning phone calls, which I canít always do depending on what stage of the grooms Iím up to. 

2pm-5pm Some days I can have all small dogs or all white coated dogs or sometimes an odd bunch. This makes every day different, challenging and interesting. I always groom the dogs that have issues, for example if they donít like their nails being trimmed or donít like being moved around too much. Iím also the lucky one that gets to groom the dogs with mean tendencies, but Iím proud of the dogs that I have been able to work out or turn around to being comfortable about being groomed .I have a code of ethics to abide by that ensures all animals under my care will be treated humanely and protected from undue stress or discomfort. I will send a dog home early and unfinished with homework for the owners if thatís all I can accomplish with that dog without it getting upset with being groomed. I donít groom sedated dogs or cats at all, thatís for a vet or a groomer at a veterinary clinic. Thankfully there are enough sweeties and polite well trained dogs that keep me doing what I do and make me smile every day.

 3.30pm . We offer a personalised service and groom dogs as individuals not just grooming a particular breed one way. We leave long beautiful eyelashes, we trim different styles to suit the dogs features and hide their flaws. Regular dogs are always easier and more pleasant to do, sometimes we have to get out the elbow grease and brush out a years worth of dead hair. Even though itís hard work there is something I love about brushing or force drying all that hair out and having the dog look and feel great afterwards. We donít de-matt any dogs not even once, we will wont be paid to be put a dog through that discomfort and pain. The well being and comfort of the pet is always put first, before the cosmetic look of the pet. I always groom the dogs the same way so they get used to it, I have dogs that know whatís coming up next and will lift their paw up for me. I first clip their underwear and pads, trim their nails, clip and scissor their bodies, legs, head and tail. I place bows, apply cologne and or fresh breath spray as requested and they are ready to go home.

 

5pm Ė 6pm Iím hopefully not running too late, I may still be scissoring the last or second last dog. If Iím running ahead in time one of my dogs may even get a bath or groom. Now I have to do what I like the least, cleaning up at the end of the day. Vacuuming, washing towels, mopping, refilling shampoo, writing out client cards, settling the EFTPOS and till.

 

6-6.15pm Close Up shop, bring the salon A-Frame sign in, the last dog has left. Dive in the shower to de-doggy and de-hair myself. Depending on how the day went, itís time for a glass of champagne, then put my feet up for a while, till I get dinner ready..

 

Yours in grooming,

 Charmaine Bright  Pet Stylist
Australian Certified Master Groomer

Printed in The Canine Journal January 2006

 

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