By Melissa Viera
I was about thirteen, and I can remember reading an issue of Groomer to Groomer Magazine that was collected at a family friend’s grooming salon. I had already been doing everything I could to learn about grooming, and now I was eating up the articles in this magazine like it was Seventeen. I knew from early on that I was going to be in this industry, and I was fortunate enough to have support and encouragement. When we could, my family and I would go to dog shows on the weekends where I would admire the many breeds polished to perfection. I would practice my grooming on our family labs with nail trims and brushing until I got my show dog, an English Cocker Spaniel, who I could actually learn to groom with.
Any groomer, handler, or breeder who would talk to me had my undivided attention. I had great admiration for groomers; looking up to them like stars. I fell in love with everything about the grooming industry; the people, the dogs, the tools, and the magazines. When I was a teenager I asked for grooming tools for Christmas, and when I received some brushes, blades, and shears, all I wanted to do that Christmas day was groom.
Now at 25 I am running a successful training and grooming business. I am doing what I love everyday which is training and grooming dogs, coaching students, and even teaching grooming workshops. I still have the same passion for what I do, and the same admiration for others in my field now as I did when I was starting out. I work very hard every day, and not a moment goes by that I am not grateful for my career, and my business.
There is something special about being in this industry, and being surrounded by people who love animals, and who have kind hearts. To me the best groomers are patient, calm, loving, and caring, but also strong and hard-working. Groomers are incredible people. I try to make it a point to stay in touch with groomer friends because, really, there is no one else who understands exactly what we do. I have met so many amazing people and admire the work of so many talented artists in this industry.
Every groomer has a story to tell. Some were born into the grooming world, knowing they would never do anything else. Others fell into the grooming world by chance, and knew they were where they are meant to be. By exploring and sharing these personal stories, we will continue to inspire both seasoned groomers, and those just starting out, we will preserve this community of passionate individuals, and we will continue to grow together as an industry as we learn more about each other. There are groomers from all over the world supporting and encouraging each other every day. The community we share should be cherished for what it is; a community of like-minded, passionate individuals.
My grooming story started years ago when I was just a young girl who loved animals and wouldn’t for a moment daydream about doing anything else. My dedication and passion for working with animals taught me responsibility and patience. I never lost sight of what I wanted to do as I grew up, went through high school, and graduated. Working with animals played a big role in shaping me into the adult I am today. I will always remember the faces of those who took the time to talk to me when I was a young groomer. Those groomers who were so welcoming, and who thought it was important that I knew what they knew.
Today my grooming specialty is positive grooming. I enjoy helping dogs transform from nervous or aggressive to comfortable and calm for grooming. I also enjoy teaching pet owners the importance of including grooming in their dog’s training because dogs that learn that grooming is just a part of life and have positive experiences with it will be the ones that have the best experiences at the salon.
For me, looking back to where it all started, reminds me to be grateful that this all happened for me, and pushes me to keep growing. Remembering the story of how you got started, that very first groom, and all of the moments along the way that brought you to this moment right now brings a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. As you inspire future generations of groomers, and as our industry grows it is important that the sense of community remains.
In the following issues you will be reading stories about groomers with similarities to yourself, but who are also all very unique in their own ways. As we explore these stories I would like to remind you to take the time to remember your own grooming story, and how you found your way into this wonderfully rewarding field. ✂