Cherish Your Groomer, Treat Them Well

life-352565_960_720 Are you grooming for passion and love for the pets or are you grooming just for the money? A question I saw on Facebook groomer’s page. After reading the comments, each have their own opinions and I am saddened that some groomers passion got burned off after a few years in the industry.

All of us started with passion and love. But why does some of our passion died? We do love doing what we do. It is also one of the way we could help a neglected pet feel better and comfortable. I came across owners who came to me because their groomers resigned or retire earlier than expected. Some even question me why is it so difficult to find a good groomer now compared to years ago?

Being a groomer is not all about rainbows and unicorns. It is not about being in a puppy paradise where you play with them all day. Being a groomer requires patience when it comes to pets with behavioural problems or puppies. It requires us to be gentle with seniors or pets with special needs (patella, slip discs etc). Sometimes we need to be emotionally strong when we received sad news from owners, where we become the pillar of support they may need.

We stand most of the time for long hours. We do heavy lifting of pets in all shape and sizes. Occasionally, we had to struggle with aggressive or uncooperative pets in order to get the job done. The grooming room is like our daily gym, our job mostly consists of physical work.

We might meet unreasonable customer once in a blue moon. But we maintained our cool and give the best that we could for the sake of the pet. Our job are under appreciate, majority would take our compassion to their advantage. We don’t get the respect we deserve. Sadly in Singapore, many view groomers as school dropouts. Let me tell you, your groomers might be a diploma or a degree holder. We choose to be a groomer simply because we have the love and passion towards this job. We have the compassion towards animals, because we love them as much as you do. It is our choice to work longer hours compared to 9 to 5 office jobs.

Grooming is never an easy job and do cherish your groomer if you’ve found one that both you and your pet like. Show them the appreciation you have before their love and passion got burn off and are no longer in the industry.

The Last Groom

dolly-1139355_960_720 As much as I dislike it due to all the emotional heartache that I will experience after, I had to do it and already experienced it more than once. It was a mix emotion and one of the hardest goodbye ever. Be it a regular or I happened to groom the pet once or twice, saying our last goodbye made me tear up.

Experiences like this prepared me on how to handle it. So far the two experiences I had were sickly senior dogs who do not have much energy to even struggle with me. The only thing I could help them was making them feel fresh and good. During the grooming session, I had to make sure they’re comfortable too. I stroked their soft fur while I told them that they’ve been good and that I love them too.

I know there are some owners who would bring their dying pets for their last groom. Maybe to pamper them one last time or to make them look presentable during their final days. I don’t know the exact reasons but there are owners who do. As a groomer myself, I try my very best to make them comfortable, feel clean and look fresh. 

But of course I would do these again if given the chance. It’s the least I could do for both owners and pets. And the last chance to say goodbye to my furry clients.

My Experience: The Ticks Infestation

 Every groomer and pet owner worst nightmare: Tick Infestation. I had a very bad experience once and wouldn’t want to go through it again.

I have avoided bringing my two fur babies for a walk during rainy days, let alone walk on the grass as I know the chances of bringing home a tick is highly possible. However, I didn’t manage to dodge the “bullet” even when I was busy with work and my fur babies haven been out for months. That was the busy Chinese New Year period. I would say I am unlucky. It caused me many physical and mental torment. The stress and frustration to get rid of the pests will only go away when it’s all clear up which took me about 6 months.

I applied for a groomer position at a local pet store with grooming facility and services. Securing the job was like a dream come true, never ever have I thought that the nightmare will soon begun when I start work. Out of all the jobs that I have applied and worked, that was my worse choice ever. A friend recommendation might not always be an ideal choice, I learnt it the hard way.

Working with dogs that have ticks are unavoidable and it’s bearable too. But working in an environment where ticks are constantly crawling up walls or anywhere is gross. Despite my suggestions on how to clean up the tick infestation in the shop, the boss’s mother replied me saying it’s normal for a pet shop. No! It isn’t! One or two is OK. But the whole shop being infested isn’t normal. I have worked at a few pet shops previously and they don’t have tick infestation. How is that even normal for a pet shop to be infested with ticks?

Sadly, I brought home baby ticks without knowing. And if you’re wondering, it’s difficult to spot a tiny baby tick that is as small as a dot. I only got to know that I brought home ticks was when I showered my poodle. I found lots of baby ticks on her since she’s a white poodle and ticks can be easily seen. That’s a sign for me to check on my shih tzu who sadly got ticks too.

I knew I had to do something. I bought bottles of Bio-x spray for the environment. A bottle of Carrington to mop the floor with and also to soak my fur babies to kill the ticks that was on them. Every day I sprayed the Bio-x, mopped the floor with Carrington and remove the ticks on my dogs one by one. Although I was already so tired from work, I knew I had to clear up the mess I brought home from work. I do not want my home to be infested like the pet shop.

For months I have been doing the same routine. I decided to purchase a box of Front line as a last resort and despite me not wanting to use it, I knew I had no choice. I applied it for a couple of months and was glad the number of ticks decreased. But it didn’t end there. I thought I completely eradicate the pests as I haven seen them for about a month. Oh boy was I wrong. There were a few pesky buggers who managed to survive. My battle with tics didn’t end. Continuing my ritual of Bio-x, Carrington and front line took me about 6 months to fully clear every single tick. For more than 2 months without seeing any ticks, I can confirm that I won the battle.

In case you’re all wondering why I didn’t get pests controller, it’s because I was on a tight budget. I couldn’t afford pests controller at that point of time. Within my budget, I got the products I needed and manually did the cleaning and deticking myself.

With all the physical and mental torture that I went through with ticks, I had a phobia. I sprayed my bag and my grooming attire with lavender essential oil whenever I encounter a dog with ticks. Yes, after my ordeal, I found out the natural and safe product to use as prevention. And it smells nicer too.

The Hardest Goodbye

life-864388_960_720 Apart from the special bond that I have with my own fur kids and my friend’s, I seem to have forged a bond with my customer’s too. The bond we shared are different from the ones I had with mine. Even goodbye felt different with heartache at a whole new level.

Receiving news about your regular customer pet’s health condition can be devastating especially when it’s a senior dog and being hospitalized. It all came too sudden and I don’t know how I should feel. I remembered vividly that I had been praying during the days that he was being hospitalized. The hope for miracle was strong.

Got a text to schedule a grooming session from the owner. I went with a heavy heart and putting on a brave front even though I knew that day would probably be the last I would be with the cute golden retriever. I read about heat stroke, tick fever and what not. Everything that different vet suspect what it might be. The articles and information didn’t help. It diminished the hope I had. Nevertheless, I knew I would want to meet him even if it meant being our last.

That day I took my time. I stroked his soft fur. I kissed him. I talked to him. Although he looked weak to nudge me, I know he’d love me to give him a pat on the head. He didn’t even had the energy to play his favourite tug of war, but managed to wag his tail to show me how happy he was to see me.

When the grooming session comes to an end, I knew I had to say my last goodbye. It was the hardest goodbye. I told him I love him and that we will meet again someday. With all his might, he stood up and wagged his tail. He accompanied me to the door as I leave.

Few days after the grooming session, I got a text from the owner who shared with me the news of his departure. I knew he won’t feel the pain anymore. He could run free wherever he is now.

xoxo

The Groom Reaper

Volunteering – The Lesson Within

volunteer-1326758_960_720 When I became a full fledged pet groomer working on my own startup, I figured out I could spare some time off to help the voiceless. Initially, I didn’t know which shelter should I approach or where and how should I start. Thankfully I knew a friend who is volunteering for a local dog shelter. She was the one who helped me get everything started after I voiced out my interest.

For a beginner, I would say volunteering isn’t easy. It comes with many emotional tolls apart from the physical ones. Even though I volunteered to groom the shelter dogs or rescued dogs as and when my help is needed, it changed my life and perspective. I didn’t know what to expect which gives me lots of surprises during volunteering.

I was taught through volunteering that sunshine do comes after the rain, not always but most of the time. I saw how scared some of them are, but there are some who are happy to see anyone. I have learnt that although they may have all the basic necessity, they do not have someone for them to shower all the love they could give or even a forever home. I was taught that time is needed to gain back the trust from a scared abused dog.

Apart from feeling the heartache for these cute bunch of fur balls, I am glad that my small contribution helped them. Grooming them and making sure they’re free from mats made them feel and look good too.

Volunteering made me appreciate all that I have. It made me realized that apart from the dogs/cats that have a forever home and someone who love them, there are many out there yearning for the same too. Although there are minority where pets got abandoned at shelters or anywhere else, these little fur balls showed me that adapting to changes ain’t so bad.

xoxo
The Groom Reaper