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I’m just like Edward Scissorhands, without the bad hair

February 28, 2011

My grooming school instructors encourage us to “step away” from the table every so often so we can view our dogs from a different perspective. By taking a few steps back, we are more likely to notice where we need to cut, thin, or blend. It also allows us to view the dog in its entirety, rather than focusing on one small area.

This month we enter into the final stretch of school, and to say that I’ve worked myself into a mild state of panic would be an understatement. I’m not ready to leave. I can barely carve a pattern into a dog’s coat, we’re still not trimming faces–the other day I couldn’t even get all of the mats out of a maltese. And then there’s that whole prospect of finding a job after I graduate. What if no one wants to hire me?

I’ve been so fixated on what I can’t do that I tend to forget all of the things that I can. Four months ago, I couldn’t even correctly hold a pair of scissors in my hand. I didn’t know how to trim a dog’s nails, I fumbled every time I picked up my clippers. Forget using my thinning shears–they’re right-handed, I’m left-handed, and they won’t cut a single hair if I hold them in my dominant hand. That’s right–I’ve been mucking out undercoat, blending clipper lines, and scissoring feet with my weak hand. It was pretty awkward at first, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can hold my straights in my left hand, thinning shears in my right, and simultaneously scissor with both. Just call me Edward Scissorhands.

The following section is an attempt to remove my head from my backside and take an impartial look at everything I’ve accomplished during the past few months–in other words, it’s time to take a few steps back to gain a fresh perspective.

This is Zoe, the first poodle I groomed. She received a “standard” poodle cut, which involved shaving her feet and face and giving her a topknot. Zoe has an adorable snaggletooth.

Despite her “mature” age, Chloe the shih tzu was a hyper little thing–as toy breeds tend to be.

It took me more than an hour to muck out the undercoat and remove the mats from Rocco the collie.

Clippering a golden retriever‘s coat helps reduce shedding. Winnie comes in every few weeks for a shave-down.

Winnie’s feet were extraordinarily hairy.

Poor Jack the border collie puked all over the table when I was trimming his back nails. I didn’t take it personally, though.

Like most long-legged terriers, Charlotte the airedale is persnickety when it comes to touching her legs or feet. She’s also been known to snap when having her nails trimmed. This presents an interesting–but hardly uncommon–challenge.

Benny was one of three dogs I groomed on a recent Tuesday. My speed is definitely picking up.

I had a lot of help grooming Scootch, mainly because I’d never worked on a Japanese chin, and he was my last dog of the day.

Savannah was one of three dogs that I groomed on a recent Saturday. I’ve gotten pretty fast at grooming golden retrievers. It’s a good thing they’re a fairly common breed.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 5, 2011 2:29 pm

    Hi Vicky, welcome to the world of dog grooming! How wonderful that you made the move to do what you love. I’m sure you’ll get hired with your skill set and love of the job. I am at the winding down stage: retired and set up my own shop as a hobby that pays for itself. You have the world at your feet! Congrats and happy grooming!

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