I'm not sure where this lifelong obsession with canines got started. Evidently I was simply born with it. And it only seemed natural to turn my passion into a profession. As far back as kindergarten I aspired to have a career with animals. Of course, when I was growing up, you weren't given many suggestions besides veterinary work, which was decidedly not my calling! It wasn't till my early teens that I was able to do the research on my own to find other serious careers available in the pet care field. Meanwhile, I nursed my addiction by reading every dog book I could get my hands on. I studied breed encyclopedias, training manuals, behavior guides, health and nutrition texts, among other topics. Yes, that's right, a child that enjoys reference books. I've even been known to read the dictionary just for fun. ;-)
For many years, running a boarding kennel was actually my top career choice. I spent countless hours drawing up my future kennel facility (I've always enjoyed architecture) and planning the business. However, my tastes eventually changed, and that 24/7 responsibility was no longer appealing. It was a bit hard to let go of that long time dream, but I'd much rather have a life!! Training & behavior consulting was my second pick, however while I greatly enjoy showing and working with my own dogs (another lifelong goal that finally came true!) I remain undecided on whether teaching others is the right path for me. I do still consider some day at least building a dog training & events facility (mainly so I have an indoor space to work my own dogs, LOL) and bring in qualified instructors, while I most likely will offer other services.
To be honest, professional grooming was never really seriously on my radar. The idea was recommended to me (insisted, really) by a teacher who suggested I call her groomer about apprenticing. I looked into it, and figured if nothing else it would be a way into the pet care field, so I went for it. The following summer, after graduation, I entered an intense professional grooming course. By the next spring, I had opened a small grooming studio of my own, which my ever supportive parents allowed me to set up in their home. I have been at it ever since!
Over the years, I discovered continuing education and grooming competitions. These pursuits helped advance my career, as well as led me to travel more, including getting on a plane for the first time! I've enjoyed contest placements in both profile and creative grooming. I also became a member of a few professional organizations and worked towards voluntary certification. (See my business resume.) While all that's great - and my quest to improve is never ending - these days I find myself drawn more to the competitive air of canine sports. I would now much rather be at a dog show or trial than doing pretty much anything else, at least when it comes to that side of my life. I always wanted to get involved in the fancy, but never knew it would all be quite so addictive! :-) As far as my career goes, I have recently begun moving in a direction parallel to grooming, studying other modalities of pet care including bodywork techniques, energy work, and expanding upon my lifelong interest in canine nutrition. I hope to eventually expand my business to incorporate these things and others. (Watch for that on my new site.)
Who you calling "HAIR-brained"?
Although I keep pretty busy between my professional life and dog hobbies, I do try to leave room for a bit of fur-free fun and relaxation. And cooking! I do a lot of that now, what with fifty different food allergies to contend with. Luckily I've always rather enjoyed the culinary arts. I also tend to spend a good chunk of time time fiddling on the computer, catching up with reading (books have always been a passion), or crashed out with a good movie (esp. after a hard work day). But I am hardly a "pomme de terre de divan." I commit to a daily yoga practice; albeit simple, it nourishes body mind and spirit, especially combined with Reiki and meditation. More importantly, it keeps my back from completely falling apart after all these years of grooming! Skiing has been a lifelong love; unfortunately the chance to hit the slopes is rare nowadays. I admit I've also become a fair-weather adventurer. (I'd still like to try skijoring one day, but the way Tripp does Weight Pull, it could be scary! LOL) I did recently try snowshoeing and greatly enjoyed that. It's a nice chance to extend hiking season, and enjoy nature without trudging through snow up to your knees. In summer months I enjoy swimming whenever possible, and was always a bit of a fish. The ocean of course is a beloved destination, although I have been spoiled by the safer waters of a swimming pool, so I mostly just enjoy the scenery there. haha In general, I'm usually up for anything interesting or amusing. If it's fun I'll give it a shot... well, as long as it's not too far out of my comfort zone. ;-) "Back at the drawing board," I've done some writing (even been published!), and various forms of art. I would really like to make more time in my schedule for both of these pursuits. My current goal is to devote more effort to creating new images for my cafepress stores, and hopefully branch out from there.
Groomer Grins & Groans
- personal ditties, contest brags, and so on
The Dog Blog
- show news and other Poodle stuff
Tripp is my first Multicolored Standard Poodle.
Visit The Poodle Pages to follow his show career!