For the Love of It
By Daryll Conner
One of the joys in my life is the fact that I am still excited to go to work every day. This year will mark the 36th anniversary since I first picked up a clipper.
I know many in this industry who genuinely enjoy their jobs, so I thought I’d ask why. I posted my question on several active Facebook grooming pages: “What is it that you love about grooming?”, and the answers flooded in…
Interacting with Animals
Many groomers responded that their favorite thing about the job is the constant contact with animals. Catherine Davis worded it this way, “I love the interaction with the animals. Gaining their trust and making them feel as comfortable as possible during the grooming process. Making their skin feel less itchy. Washing the dirt away. Transforming them so their parents love them up. Dressing them up with something pretty as a finishing touch. Taking their picture. It’s all something I love doing!”
Then there are groomers who let their career help fill a craving. Sheryl Woods said, “I’ve always wanted hundreds of cats, which would be so impractical. This way I can be the Cat Grandma who can visit and love them, then leave the litter box and chores to their parents.”
For others, grooming is something more. Suzanne Gann said, “I can wake up in the morning not wanting to face the day, much less work. Then, the moment I have that first dog on the table, all that goes away. It’s my Zen place. My prayer place. My meditation and thinking place.”
From my own experience, the people I have met through grooming have vastly enriched my life. Both pet owners and other groomers have become close, long-time friends. Others echoed this in their response to my question.
Teena Lane Billy expressed, “A pure addiction for dogs is my love for grooming; however, it’s the creation of a fellowship between the owner and I that is so rewarding. Many more times than not, there is a sentimental meld. I fall in love and care for the love of their life. It’s pure gratitude for each of us.”
Groomers who work doing house calls or are mobile create especially deep bonds with their customers. Carole Hennenfent knows this firsthand: “Mobile grooming clients become family. I have elderly and handicapped clients time their grocery shopping so they get home as I arrive. I carry their groceries into the house. I have taken their elderly and ill dogs to the vet, two for the last time because they could not do it. We hold them when they cry over pets, family, life. We get invited to their weddings and family functions. I have helped many find new furry family members and helped others find homes when something happens, and they cannot keep their loved pets. We are part of their families… I never found this to be true as a shop groomer, but going mobile changed my life. I love knowing I make a difference to all my clients, not just for grooming their pets.”
If a customer really wants to make me grin, they say, “Just do whatever you want,” when they hand me their pet. Being able to sculpt fur to a pleasing design is so rewarding. It came as no surprise that other groomers share my feelings about this.
Amber Fielding Harbert said, “I love the new dogs that come in with uncertain owners. They don’t know what they want, or what to expect, and they’re placing their trust in me to make the right decisions. That squeal of joy when I return their pet to them and the hazy image they had in their head solidified into an adorable cut they love, that is why I still love being a groomer, even on the days I have to remind myself of it.”
I also liked reading what Angela Forrester wrote: “I love the creative and technical aspect. I love the fairly immediate gratification. I love that even when I make mistakes, they’re not carried forward forever, there’s always a reset, redo or rework!”
Helen Schaefer added, “I love that grooming combines the left and right sides of my brain. I can be business oriented and mathematical (symmetry and angles), but also artistic and unique.”
And Leah Shirokoff put it very well when she wrote, “I love making dogs look cute/lovely/clean and huggable. I would groom some for free if I were wealthy. I put the dog down and thoroughly enjoy seeing how great it looks.”
I know I would be bored working a desk job, and it seems that many groomers agree with me. We also share a certain joy in overcoming some of the challenges that can go hand in hand with working with another species.
Holly Brackley chimed in on this topic: “I really enjoy taking a dirty, sometimes matted, usually overgrown dog and watching them change into a happy, cute, clean doggie. You can see the changes and how much better they feel. It’s so fascinating, satisfying and rewarding.”
And because not all dogs are fans of the grooming process, many of us find joy in showing them how nice it can be. Deanne Olson Morris said, “My favorite is when I get a scared dog in and I earn its trust, so they eventually pull the owners to the door.”
Melissa Jepson worded it this way: “Nothing soothes my soul like taking a dog that is introverted or scared and forming a bond where we love and have a deep understanding of each other. The ones that are skittish or labeled weird or reactive. For me to be able to take those dogs as they are and not only love them for it, but build that relationship and earn their trust is like scratching an itch. Deeply satisfying.”
Variety, Flexibility and Income Potential
Grooming offers a “never a dull moment” atmosphere, and no two days are alike. Another bonus to being a groomer is that people can create ways to work that can be tailored to their chosen lifestyle.
Amie Write says, “Honestly, I love grooming because I work part time hours and make full time money. Also, the flexibility of my schedule is a plus. It’s a very satisfying career all in all.”
Barb Hoover agreed: “As a career, I love the flexibility in my schedule and the money.”
What do we love about grooming? The animals, the people, the variety of our days, the challenges and flexibility. There is much to appreciate when it comes to the world of making pets clean and beautiful. ✂️