By Khris Berry
Like many groomers, I watch the calendar approach November and December with mixed emotions. The closer we get to “holiday season”, at any given moment, I feel a sense of anticipation, dread, greed, excitement and wonder.
Any groomer who has worked through at least one holiday season knows this mental state of chaos. Sometimes you are feeling all of these emotions within the same day, hour and even minute. But I challenge you to pause before the onslaught of clients, dogs, phone calls and general chaos descends upon your grooming salon. I challenge you to take a moment and be thankful.
If you are preparing for the holidays, congratulations! During the course of 2019, you have likely survived difficult clients and dogs. You have probably explained your pricing structure to Mrs. Smith for the tenth time. You have told Mr. Johnson that you do not offer a multiple pet discount at least that many times. You have defended a bad review on social media or appeased an angry client who did not pre–book her appointments. For this, be thankful for your patience and professionalism.
You may have said goodbye to a favorite client—furry or otherwise. Groomers invest more than their time into the care of the pets in their client base. They become confidantes to pet owners, share in their client pets’ health ups and downs and grieve when a beloved pet passes on. Be thankful for your ability to provide care and love to each animal as if it were your own.
You have worked long hours and taken one extra dog for the sake of that pet. Groomers fill the internet with tales of helping pets overcome neglected coats. Many of you have stayed late, gone the extra mile, edited your schedule and accommodated the forsaken pet because he needed it—more than you needed sleep, lunch or rest. In 2019, you have invested yourself emotionally into your clients’ pets and their well–being. Be thankful for your compassion and animal stewardship.
You have risen to the physical challenges of your career time after time. You have lifted, restrained, carried, bathed, dried and scissored. You have taken more Ibuprofen and Tylenol than you should have, yet you return day after day. You work sick, tired, and many days when you simply shouldn’t for the sake of your clients and their pets. For your stamina and passion, be thankful.
You have been chastised for shaving a neglected coat by an owner. You have time and again coached new owners on coat maintenance schedules. You have made Pomeranians look like internet stars and Poodle mixes look less like Poodle mixes. You have styled and accessorized. You put a bow on it. You have patiently coached and counselled pet owners on proper skin and coat care. For your education and dedication, be thankful.
You have scissored, clippered, chunkered, thinned, blended and fluffed your heart out in 2019. You have experienced the arrival of a new breed with enthusiasm and excitement. You have been tireless in your pursuit of excellence. For your attention to detail and perfectionism, be thankful.
You have encouraged a fellow pet professional. You took a new groomer under your wing, or hired a new assistant, or taught someone with an interest in a career in pets more about what you do. You have made an impact on the career of another pet professional by giving of your time, knowledge or passion. For your tireless dedication to the grooming industry, you should be thankful.
You have left every pet in your care better than when you met him. Your love of the pet, ability to connect and understand his needs, and your willingness to give of yourself on many levels makes you a pet groomer. For your ability to balance caretaking and service, be thankful.
You have cried at work at least once. And you have done a happy dance when you received an unexpected generous tip. You have laughed, you have danced, you have serenaded your furry audience. For your exceptional ability to care for another animal while expressing and balancing your own emotions (as well as those of his owner), be thankful.
You have shown mercy, compassion and humanity when necessary. Be thankful that you have those traits to share with the animals (and people) you meet.
You are a groomer and you have made it to the holidays. For this, you can be thankful. You are a special breed of pet professional. And for that, the pet industry is thankful! ✂️