A Week In The Life of a Dog Groomer

Episode Three

 

My life is a strange and peculiar place. Maybe not all dog groomer's lives are as eventful or maybe I make mine the way it is. Still, whatever my life is, it's never dull!

This episode encompasses several weeks as I have been otherwise engaged  - aka working my bum off - for some time now.

Prior to Christmas when most people were planning dinners and social engagements, buying presents, ensuring their loved ones were happy and dogs were clean and clipped, I was figuring out how to make my life more complicated and fit more into my already crammed schedule.

I decided I wanted to do something for the greater good and offered to groom the dogs of the city's homeless people. I posted an extremely normal, non assuming post on my own FB page and BOOM!!!!! I was contacted by tens of volunteers wanting to help either by coming along on the evening or donating items for the people or their dogs, restaurants offering food on the night and local media wanting tell the world what I was up to. 

We held the evening on 18th December, had four men and their pups come along for a good wash and brush up and several more come by themselves for the hot soup and cakes we were giving out. The volunteers worked happily giving out our donations and even went round the city finding others afterwards to give the remaining items. Vet Sally and vet nurse Lucy from local All Creatures Healthcare gave up their time to come along and examine all the dogs for us. 

I would say the evening was a resounding success and we aim to do another one in March. The cafe was open during the evening for drinks and cake by donation and all those funds went to Safe Rescue, the dog charity I volunteer with and foster for.
Seemingly everyone likes a good heart warming animal story at Christmas as the BBC footage has been viewed over 7 million times and I have had emails from America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and The Gambia!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Wash, Wiggle & Wag is back in full swing for 2016, hopefully no more getting stuck in the mud, dead batteries and dodgy satnav this year! So far the cockers, and lhasas are leading the way in popularity for grooms this year, those and some peculiar crossbreeds! We've all heard of cockerpoos but old english sheepdog cross german shepherd?! (and no I don't know if there's a special name for that!)
I am expanding my client base of nervous customers (the dogs rather than the owners) and hope that if I have a speciality in the future it will be that. I'm also taking an online course in dog training and hope to be able to branch out in the future offering home appointments but that is some way off yet.
I've realised that when anyone asks how my day is, the answer is always the same - wet and hairy. So I'd like to congratulate Missy's mum on the birth of their new baby and wish all and sundry a wet and hairy weekend! Toodlepip!

Episode Two 


So a few things have happened since I last wrote, let's see now, I got stuck in the mud on a verge behind a client's house and had to get recovered, a pug bit me (one with no teeth), I sung outside the Forum in Norwich and I'm in the process of organising an evening where the homeless people of Norwich can bring their dogs to be groomed for free. Busy, busy!
I have also met some fabulous owners and more marvellous dogs. Tyson peed on my table (naughty Tyson), I couldn't rid my van of the smell until I met the wonderful Amber & David a couple of days later, with their dogs Holly and Lily who blitzed my van! Hurrah for lovely owners! And to thank them I got stuck driving out of their garden on some railway sleepers and a piece of metal - oops! The extremely lovely David spent the next two hours (!) under my van sorting out my broken step - thank you sooooooo much!!!!!! (I spent the time drinking tea and getting to know Amber better).

I had the enormous pleasure of grooming the enormous Ted the Leonberger, beautiful dog, great temperament and fabulous owners, what more could a groomer want!
One of the things that often ventures into my mind as I drive through our beautiful county is the popularity and originality of dog names. I think the most popular female names I come across are Ruby, Molly and Millie. The most popular boys are Alfie, Ted and Jake. Some of the rarer names of the dogs I groom are: Bilbo, Frodo, Galaxy, Oakley, Kook, Radu and of course the gorgeous Aussie shepherds Bruce & Willis!

I did some filming recently with some students from Sheringham High School media studies who were interviewing me for a project, one of them told me she wanted to be an embalmer when she was older! Never heard that one before but I'd like to wish all of them the best of luck with their studies and thank them for making me and May so welcome - I had borrowed May from a friend for the day so thanks to Kath too!

Lastly I have a new client called Dave who I will be visiting every six weeks to clip his claws. Nothing so unusual there you might think except that Dave is a rabbit.
Yup, that's what I thought.
See you soon Wigglers! x

Episode One 

 
The week started a little dodgily (is that a word?), with my first dog bite to draw blood. I've been bitten several times since I started with Wash, Wiggle & Wag but had yet to need a tetanus shot. I have to admit I expected the first vampire would be one of the smaller, yappier varieties, however I was surprised to say it was a lurcher! Normally one of the more laid back breeds, this particular dog - Buckley - was terrified of water. I was ready to be all understanding and lovely in the van but we didn't get that far. His owner passed me the lead and turned away only for Buckley to start writhing and leaping around and then sink his teeth into my right hand. Bugger.
His owner said through the window 'Has he nibbled you?' 'Ummm, yes, sort of' I replied holding up my bloodied dripping hand. One Mickey Mouse plaster later and I had a trembling Buckley in the bath. Actually for the rest of his visit he was very good and with a few gentle words of encouragement he calmed down and let me bathe and dry him. Bless him. His once a year bath was all done and dusted. His owner sheepishly asked if I would come back to do him again :0) Of course I said yes, it wasn't Buckley's fault, he was just scared. I wished them a merry Christmas and happy new year and went off on my way.
During the week I went to the read through of the next play CSODS are performing and subsequently auditioned for the character of Alice Tinker in The Vicar Of Dibley. I had been complimented on my performance at the read through. I wasn't sure if this was a great heads up to my acting ability or a vague insult to my everyday persona. Given that I am happy to frequently refer to myself as quirky and haphazard, I decided I didn't mind either reference. I'm still awaiting the outcome of the audition, I will let you know.
This week I had the enormous pleasure of grooming two of my Ani-Mates pals. Ani-Mates is a pet services business I run with my friend Ann, we look after pets while their owners cannot, either while they are in hospital, away for a night or off on holiday. This consists of us either visiting them regularly in their own homes, staying there with them or them coming to stay with us. Both of us have our own pups so it is often difficult to offer the house sitting service. 
Both Paddy and Teddy have recently been to stay at my house with my dogs while their owners were away. Both gorgeous dogs, Paddy an ex Safe Rescue rommie with a penchant for barking at passers by and Teddy a sweet little Shih-poo who likes to sleep on your head. Despite never having seen a Shih-poo prior to Teddy in the summer, I groomed two this week straight after the other, one in Norwich and one in Sheringham. Teddy is my little friend, Buddy doesn't hate me as much as he did when I started :0)
Monday introduced me to the totally besottingly lovely Patch (poodle x maltese) and his marvellously friendly owners Chris and Carla. I feel like I've made friends for life and I've only met them once! 
Today I started and finished with Mary and her four beautiful pups Zeus, Mia, Whisper and the very nervous Ralphy Laurence. I'm hoping to introduce her to the canine wonders of Safe Rescue in the future as she expressed a wish to help the underdogs that no one else wanted! I can definitely help her with that!
All in all, it's been a good week in the main. I went out with Dial A Dog Wash to get some more experience with Newfoundlands - seeing as he had 5 to do all at once, it was an experience I couldn't miss! I'm glad I went, Simon is a good friend and very supportive. I guess we could be described as competitors but realistically we're friends and he tries to help me where he can as I've been thrust into a new business and he's been there before. 
Thank you for liking my photos and occasionally commenting on my posts. It's nice to know you're out there and it's been great getting to know you all. Until next time wigglers...

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