Living the 5-by-5 (Rule)! - Groomer to Groomer Magazine

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Living the 5-by-5 (Rule)!

It was Friday and I had six pets to groom. They were all good dogs who come in on a regular schedule. My plan was to be done by 2 p.m. and get an early start on the weekend. When I put the first pup in the tub, I was horrified to discover that I had no water.

None. Not a drop. The water for my salon is supplied from a well with a submersible pump. If the pump itself had gone bad, I knew it would be time consuming and expensive to replace. I called the “pump repair guys” and got their voicemail. I left a message giving them a rundown of my predicament and then I waited for them to call me back. 

My immediate concern was for the six dogs waiting for their baths. But having no water also meant that I wouldn’t be able to brew my much needed coffee, or even flush the toilet. To me, there are few things worse than a stressful situation over which I have no control. So, even though I could not fix my water issue, just doing nothing was not an option. I had dogs that needed bathed and it was up to me to “git–r–done.” So, I quickly devised a plan.

My friend Lorrie has several mobile vans. I hoped she could lend me one of her rigs so I could wash the dogs. I gave her a call. Her husband, Ron, answered the phone and I told him my tale of woe. 


“Not a problem,” Ron said. “There is a unit here that is not in use. I’ll bring it right over and lend you a hand.”

A short ten minutes later, Ron pulled into my lot and came in to get the first dog. Just then, my phone rang and it was the pump repair guys. They said they were on their way and would be at my salon in five minutes—and they were.

They soon diagnosed my problem and said, “This is your lucky day. You’ve got a bad capacitor in the control box, but it’s a quick fix.” 

They replaced the capacitor and I was back in business. Ron graciously volunteered to continue to bathe dogs for me, and the rest of my day went flawlessly. I was finished and out of the salon by 2:45 p.m.

What began as a very bad morning had a good ending, in part because I didn’t allow a stressful situation to overwhelm me. Through it all I remained calm and did everything I could to minimize the problem.

Many groomers find themselves overwhelmed by anxiety and stress every day. To some it has become the norm. Contributing factors such as fatigue, insomnia, health and financial concerns, relationship issues, etc. may magnify stress until it becomes unmanageable. Unfortunately, stress is an unavoidable reality of life. But one of the keys to successful stress management is the way you react to it. Stress can bring out the worst in a person and allow you to overreact to common situations.

Do you become irate if napkins aren’t included with your order at the drive–thru? Do you instantly blow your top if another driver cuts you off in traffic? Other than putting yourself in a bad mood all day, what do these outbursts of anger accomplish? Absolutely nothing. 

Some of the best advice I was ever given was to live by the “Five by Five” rule; “If it’s not going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes being upset about it now.”

Try it the next time someone complains that you “shaved” their matted dog and then demands a refund. A refund? No way. Not happening. Why would you reward a neglectful owner for letting their pet get in such bad shape? 

 Instead, without raising your voice, calmly pull out the pelt you removed from their dog and also the matted pet release form you had the owner sign at drop–off and say to the owner, “You agreed, that because of his extensive matting, your pet would have to be clipped short today. And, as we also discussed, if we put him on an every–four–week schedule to be groomed, we will be able to leave his hair any length you want.” 

Collect your fee, and if they don’t want to re–schedule, wish them well and send them on their way. Case closed.

Don’t let a bad client ruin your day. Do your best then move on. It isn’t always easy, but once you start following the Five by Five rule, you can quickly let go of many things that used to really stress you out.

We have all heard of secondhand smoke, but did you know that you can experience secondhand stress through the people around you? 

An employee or co–worker who complains about work and obsesses about their spouse, kids or in–laws all day long is very distracting, and can absolutely affect everyone’s productivity. And, whether they work with you or are in you personal life, just being around toxic people and their constant drama is anything but pleasant.

Who else brings stress into your life? 

You only have to look in the mirror to answer that question.

Why do you let your car get all the way to empty before you put gas in it? Or wait until the last minute to do your taxes? How many times have you allowed someone to talk you into squeezing an extra dog into an already full day? How much unnecessary stress do you heap on yourself?

No matter who or what causes it, everyone has stress. Some people allow it to overwhelm and control them, while others control a lot of their stress by following the Five by Five rule. It can make a huge difference. Try it for yourself.  ✂️


Kathy Hosler

Kathy Hosler opened her shop in 1971 when she was just nineteen years old. She has built a terrific business and is still actively grooming today. Kathy is also a feature writer for Groomer To Groomer and Pet Boarding & Daycare Magazines, and has been nominated twice for the Barkleigh Honors Journalist of the Year Award as well as a Cardinal Crystal Achievement Award for Grooming Journalist.

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