On a beautiful Memorial Day weekend I got a lesson in sheep shearing at our neighbor’s farm in Maine… Ok, so the BuddyBarber is not really contemplating sheep grooming… but it is fun to watch, none the less… and you can watch a video of it below.
The llama guards the sheep
The sheared fleece
Sheep next-door neighbor
I am loving many things about the progress of my BuddyBarber grooming business.
One is that, on an intellectual level, it is satisfying to know that the vision I had for the need for my service, was a clear one. In planning my in-your-home grooming business, I imagined that there were older, timid, small or disabled dogs that would truly appreciate the quiet, calm grooming that I offer.
This past month, I have had the pleasure of working with two blind, older pups as new clients. Grooming a dog that cannot see challenges me to stay ever-mindful of communicating my intentions as I work – and I do this verbally and with calm, leading hands that forecast my next step to the dog. I also have to be sensative to the parent’s needs for these dogs, so that they can feel calm throughout the groom. This is work that requires me to be fully open and responsive to what is happening in the moment, and it makes me realize that in building relationships with these clients, each groom becomes easier and more successful.
I have had growth in my small dog client list in May – these guys are understandably calmer being groomed at home than they would be in a noisy, chaotic grooming shop, and all the parents have been very happy with the final results.
This has also been the month of the golden retriever – I’ve had 5 new golden clients, including 3 service dogs.
And… not to be forgotten, I had my first kitty ‘lion-cut’ client this month – for a sweet, but scruffy fellow… needless to say, this guy was happier to be groomed at home than he would be with a shop full of dogs…
Nearing the end of my first month of full-time grooming… I have had work almost every day and made double the (modest) goal that the house bookkeeper set for me!
This month my new clients include a goldendoodle, and labradoodle, a schnauzerdoodle and an aussiedoodle (named Boomer), a springer spaniel, a maltese puppy, and blind english cocker spaniel. I have also taken a one-day per week job working with Julie Wilkins, a world champion groomer, in her shop. I feel this is great way to ‘keep learning the art’ and I am excited to be working for someone who has such a refined eye.
Sadly, this month, I also had my first client move on from this life… my sweet & fiesty, blind, shih tzu friend, Herman Sherman Magoo, who I had groomed twice, was suddenly diagnosed with massive cancer issues and moved last week… I will miss him…
Despite warmer than usual temperatures, March has been a whirlwind for me. Last week was Graduation Day(!) and now I step out on my own – marketing, marketing my BuddyBarber: In-Your-Home Grooming Service.
I truely loved my time at MACC. I would recommend this school to anyone wanting to learn how to groom dogs and cats with compassion. Susan and Jaque were Top-Notch teachers, and I will always be grateful for what I learned from them.
I also loved the Reiki workshop at ALM that I attended as recommended by school. I have no doubt that dogs and cats are intensely calmed by the positive energies that can be put forth using Reiki inspired techniques. I had my own ‘gang-reiki’ session with these women that left no doubt in my mind that I am surrounded by powerful energies.
One of the things that I appreciate most about my time in school, is that it helped me shape my vision for my business… that yes, I will happily work with all dogs and cats in their homes… but that I feel particulary drawn to work with timid, anxious or older animals and service dogs who need to stay close to their owners. I feel great fulfillment in my work with these clients, and that is something that I never could say about my past worklife.
So, in moving on from the safety of school, I’ve done a bit of work to keep my new work space feeling as nurturing. I’ve placed my calming buddhas, that I brought home from India and Thailand, into my car…something of a mobile-mediation spot to get centered if I need to.
I’ve also turned my office into something a celebratory space – I can’t help feeling proud of the new skills that I’ve gathered – and so YES, I have posted up all the certificates received and found a home for all the graduation gifts that I received as well… because it is nice to be loved!
So… now it is official and I shall move happily on to my new BuddyBarber clients… and am hoping that my calling card soon gets full!
But, how could you NOT love these guys??? Tally-Ho!
Just a quick post for anyone interested… I went to a second dog show with school on Saturday to study the current grooming styles on display with the AKC breeds… Enjoy these delicious doggies!
Happy February! I finish school in March, but my progress is such that the school has offered me one day/week as a paid groomer to keep on working with them. I think this is a great way to keep learning tips from the pros.
I’m feeling like I have mastered the basics of grooming and now have stepped into a phase of ‘mastering the art’.
Here are some of the grooming secrets that I’ve collected:
1) Hounds, like this gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback, are ever-alert and jumpy and must be groomed with an extra watchful eye.
2) Labrador Retrievers are very sensitive to dryer noise and appreciate some ear protection while being groomed.
3) It is possible to groom some cats with all the same bathing techniques used on dogs. But obviously, cats are more individualistic than dogs and must be treated with the royal respect demanded…
4) Cocker Spaniels (as in this before and after), and other sporting breeds benefit greatly from degreasing shampoo.
And here are some of my satisfied new ‘In-Your-Home’ clients: My lab friend who has disliked grooming salons, was calm and relaxed minutes after her groom at home:
My shaggy shih tzu/poodle pal felt happy and comfy once all tidied up with his winter trim: