Kent's Kanines bio picture

I’m Deborah Kent, a Home Dog Groomer in beautiful San Francisco, California.

You may be thinking, just what is a Home Dog Groomer? Yes, I am a mobile groomer but, I actually bring all the equipment inside people’s homes to create “the magic” in front of their eyes!

Little did I know when I adopted Lola, a Yorkshire Terrier from Jamie Morse of the original Kiehl’s Pharmacy in NYC over 27 years ago, that this sweet ball of fur would change my life forever. I began grooming her myself, just bathing her and a light bulb went off in my head. Something clicked. I could be a dog groomer. I know it sounds a little wacky considering I had absolutely no formal grooming training at all but, I pursued the spark.

I knew I needed to learn how to groom dogs so, I attended The New York School of Dog Grooming in NYC and while there I had another brainstorm. I thought maybe there may be other people like me that would love to have their dogs “privately pampered”. I now had my compass set.

After graduating The New York School of Dog Grooming, I apprenticed with master groomer Edith Hoeltz of Canine Styles in NYC for a year.  I owe so much to her; she was a truly talented groomer and teacher that taught me not only the art of dog grooming/styling but, the skills to train and calm dogs while grooming.

My dream to pursue Home Dog Grooming was coming to fruition. I now had my grooming certificate and apprenticeship under my belt so, in 1989 I bought a luggage cart (no joke) and stacked my “tools of the trade” and groomed the dogs of the Upper East Side of Manhattan. My destiny had been created.

I moved to San Francisco in 1993 and have been Home Dog Grooming traveling all over the Bay Area in my wonderful and reliable Volvo. Sven, as he is affectionately named, has tallied over 399,000 miles. After grooming many, many, many, many, many dogs I am thrilled to share my website and my blog.

Welcome to the Kent's Kanines Blog!

Penny – Hand Stripped Lakeland Terrier

This little girl looks like a Steiff toy! Penny is a darling Lakeland Terrier. I have been grooming her since she arrived at three months. The first hand stripping was an introduction to the grooming table more than a full hand stripping.  Teaching her to stand and learn to be comfortable and secure on the grooming table is so important in training a puppy , whether hand stripped or not. The actual process of hand stripping went really well; right from the beginning she behaved very well. I was very careful to go slowly and not pluck out too much.  My main goal in the beginning was to allow her to get comfortable with the sensation. Believe it or not, by the 4th grooming was lying down on table completely relaxed allowing me to hand strip her face, ears, around her eyes, around her feet, everywhere.  I think she likes the attention and affection. She is a very loving little girl. Yes, she is still a Lakeland Terrier and gets into mischief all time!! 🙂 🙂 She is a very perky, happy dog. It has been a pleasure to see her mature and see that the consistent hand stripping schedule of every 4-5 weeks has paid off.

The video below was taken when Penny was a little over a year. As you will see, she stands on the table like a pro now. Her baby phase is over now and now, her coat will really start to blossom as she moves into adulthood. Hand stripping such a lovely Lakeland is pleasure.



Penny – Tibetan Terrier

Penny’s nickname is Penny Panda. As you can see she has the most remarkable markings! She looks like a Panda Bear.

Penny was rescued at age 6 from a woman who sadly was dying of cancer. The week after my client picked her up, her first Mom died. My client was told that Penny was a show dog and had two litters. Penny arrived very, very skittish and nervous and somehow she had been traumatized in her past life. We are just not sure exactly of her past history.It was clear that she needed a loving and secure home and with my client she has now the best home ever and lives a secure and contented life.

It has been 3 years now and Penny is doing much better with her anxiety. She loves to go on long walks and show off her most beautiful coat, she loves to roll in the leaves in her garden and be a relaxed and jubilant dog. Her favorite thing though, is to just lie down next to her mother’s desk at her feet and present like a sphinx. She is a very regal and pretty dog. Penny has blossomed over the last couple of years and slowly but surely she is becoming more confident and trusting.

Below you will see a before and after video of Penny. She has the thickest coat and does require twice weekly thorough brushing and combing. My client purchased a grooming table and since Penny was a show dog she is quite comfortable and relaxed when she is being brushed and combed out. I do think that cutting her hair further accentuates her Panda markings.

Penny has been selected to be the Muttville Mascot for the 2016 Gala. This is quite an honor. She had a formal photo session with Ellen Shershow of www.jadorelechien.com, so all paper invitations and website announcements will feature Penny Panda. We all very excited and proud of her that she is the 2016 Muttville Mascot. Muttville is an organization that is based in San Francisco, CA that finds homes for the senior citizens of the canine world. I know a number of people in the Bay Area that have adopted dogs from Muttville www.muttville.org and they are beyond happy to have rescued an older dog from possible euthanasia or just lingering in a shelter.

My client has so fallen in love with Penny that she commissioned an oil painting of her. The artist’s name is Jacqueline Probert. The painting is fantastic and truly captures Penny’s beauty and soul. It will be treasured forever.

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Scout and Truffles – Two Full Coated Havaneses

What to say about Scout and Truffles? The only thing to say is that they are gorgeous! Their owner is committed to keeping their coats long and natural. Scout is 5 and Truffles is 3 years old. Both of them have the most delightful and jubilant dispositions. They are a joy and privilege to groom.

Yes, I know when you look at them you think ” those dogs have a lot of hair”! They do have a lot of hair. Scout grew up a bit bigger than expected which makes him present even more dramatically. Truffles is more to the standard.

One of the benefits of a Home Dog Groomer is that my clients ie: human, can observe me brush, comb and de-matt their dogs. It’s all in the technique. I do have clients that do not have the proclivity to learn but, Scout and Truffles mom was very diligent and dedicated to doing her very best to keep them in order; she knows they are beautiful dogs and wanted them to be at their very best. Once she obtained a grooming table and practiced the brushing and combing techniques I taught her, she has slowly improved her skill level and now maintains them beautifully. The grooming time is also another kind of bonding time. It is not about “play” but, about it’s more about nurturing and caring for the dog.

They lead a normal life. Romp in the back yard, go to the park and play with other dogs, go for walks and play endlessly with each other. Yes, one must make accommodations and pay attention to the weather, choose the proper collar and be attentive to factors that exacerbates matting. Havaneses have very cottony coats and rain or any water for that matter can cause matting so, beach life is out. Scout and Truffles don’t care. They love their back yard and dog park. Even if I were to give them a puppy cut, these factors would still have to be applied. I guess one could shave them completely but, then why get a Havanese? These dogs were bred with fabulous coats and mastering their maintenance is the glory of Havanese ownership!

Below are the below pictures of Scout before being groomed as well as a final video of both them after being groomed. Enjoy!


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Groomer at Petsmart Allegedly Abuses/Kills Dachshund

On May 17, 2016 a one year old Dachshund was brought into a Petsmart in San Mateo, CA and within 3 minutes the little dog was dead. The police were called and the groomer was arrested for Abuse and Cruelty to Animals penal code 597, a felony. As is allowed by law he made bail and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 29, 2016. I have checked the public records to see the exact details of the case but, those specifics are not public yet. I intend to be there. Here is the link to the article for your reference.

In 2009, at another Petsmart in Palm Springs, CA, a groomer shaved off the nipples of a small terrier mix. The dog tried tried to jump off the table to escape and while doing so fell on the floor and the poor dog’s eye popped out. Here is the link for your reference.

After the incident in 2009, Jackie Mercier a resident of the San Diego area was so appalled to find out that groomers are not mandated by law in California to receive any training at all that she and her husband wrote the first Pet Grooming Bill Senate Bill 969, Lucy’s Law  in conjunction with Senator Juan Vargas. The bill sadly did not pass, went through 6 edits. As of 2016, there is still no California state mandated HANDS ON training or any training for that matter with live dogs required for Pet Groomers. See link for the history/edits of Senate Bill 969 for your reference.

I called Juan Vargas’ office in Sacramento, CA in January of 2012 when I saw the first draft of SB 969 dated 1/17/2012 to inquire if I could come to Sacramento to testify about some of the specifics presented in the first draft. I did not go to Sacramento but, through that initial conversation with the Senator’s office, I was directed to Jackie Mercier and after many conversations she invited me to be on the coalition for SB 969 in a teaching/training capacity in anticipation of the bill passing. I proudly accepted to be on the forefront of change in the Pet Grooming industry. It is such a shame that it did not pass.

It is absolutely preposterous and unacceptable that Pet Groomers are not mandated by law to take a required HANDS ON training program for months. This profession requires one to work with scissors and clippers with blades. There are times when de-matting a dog is like surgery.  One cannot learn dog grooming by taking an online course or a seminar as is offered at Groom Expo conventions. It is imperative for the safety of the animal that any person who desires to become a dog groomer go through an extensive and thorough hands on training program where they practice and learn the art of dog grooming on real, live dogs!

In the spring of 2014, I attended Groom Expo in Pasadena, CA and took the Bathers (see below) certification, a two day lecture just to see what the industry is teaching. At no time was a dog presented to demonstrate techniques for safe and calm de-matting, aggressiveness, compromised strength due to age,  training of a wiggly/nervous puppy so they learn polite grooming table manners,  proper grooming arm tension and how to use it to train dogs, different techniques of removing hair from the genital area so no harm is done ie: cut a penis or vagina,  a  demo of the actual dryers available and which and when to use them, the list is endless. There was not even a demonstration VIDEO on real dogs, all ages and sizes, showing the beginners in this lecture how to actually do the work! I was speechless. Dog grooming is a visual practice and observing a master at work that guides you is so, so important.

When I decided to become a dog groomer in 1988, I had absolutely no idea how to be a dog groomer. All I knew was that I loved my little Yorkshire Terrier, Lola and when I took her to grooming salons in Manhattan, I cried if they didn’t style her properly. I am not kidding. Something ignited in me and my brain thought I might be able to do it. So, of course, I went to school!! I never thought for an instant that I could be a professional dog groomer without formal training. I attended The New York School of Dog Grooming. I went for 4 months, 4 days a week for 4 hours every evening after my day job and was slowly introduced to the profession of dog grooming. The people who brought in their dogs knew we were students and beginners. There were two teachers and they were there to guide us every step of the way. After 4 months of training and graduating from The New York School of Dog Grooming, I had a bit more confidence with my nascent knowledge and I went off to find a job in a grooming shop. Timing is everything! I landed an apprenticeship in 1989 at the best, most well regarded grooming shop in Manhattan, Canine Styles. Edith Hoeltz, my mentor and head groomer only allowed me to do certain things for months, shave poodle feet and faces,  scissor top knots, slowly begin to practice 7 blade work, master her de- matting technique, master scissoring legs in a even and cylindrical shape etc…. I was not allowed to groom a complete dog for at least 3 months until I met her standard of performance. I apprenticed there for a year before I had the skills to start a business of my own, Kent’s Kanines!! There are so many steps and things to learn in grooming a dog; she insisted that I master each one properly! This was done for the safety of the dog! This taught me to be extremely careful, pay attention, be patient and kind to create a beautiful dog. Dog grooming is an art and requires time and patience to learn it.

Even to this day, 28 years later, I am still learning things about the grooming business. Each and every dog is different and requires a special, thoughtful consideration. On the surface everybody thinks dog grooming is just about the “STYLE/LOOK” of the dog which, of course, is so important but, dog grooming involves so many other things. Health, safety, diplomacy, patience, sadness, frustration, artistic talent, business acumen, time management, extreme multi tasking skills, negotiation skills, defensive thinking so no harm is done and the list goes on and on and of course, kindness and true and genuine affection for the animal. As many of my clients know, I am a dedicated dog groomer always doing my very best to keep my client ie: dog, safe and secure. The dogs’ safety and well being is my first and foremost priority. Edith’s training resonates in me each and every day. I am forever grateful to her for being a disciplined teacher and for having the opportunity to learn from a master groomer!

When complete strangers find out that I work with dogs all day, unquestionably, they say you have a great job! I do have a great job but, after grooming other people’s dogs for close to three decades, being responsible for their complete well being while in my care and not to mention their homes as well, since I am an in Home Dog Groomer, I have learned that dog grooming is so much more that just styling/grooming the dog. It is imperative that people who desire to become a dog groomer get hands on training, preferably from a reputable dog grooming school with real, live dogs regardless if your state does not legally mandate it. The dogs’ safety depends on it. Your professional integrity and longevity of your career depends on it. One must lay the foundation of education first and over the course of years, experience will make you a master groomer.

p.s. Bathers and Fluff Dryers are so critical to the process of dog grooming. They are responsible for preparing the dog for the bath, cut nails, de-matting, bathing, drying. If the dog has fur that is longer than 1/4″ then it must be completely and thoroughly de-matted before the bath. That means a groomers comb must be able to flow through the coat easily and without resistance. If there are areas that are badly matted,  then the skill of dematting comes into play. One doesn’t always have to shave the dog bald.  Bathers must be skilled in scissors and clippers so no harm is done in the de-matting process. If they are using a Furminator to “de-shed” find another groomer. These devices destroy and degrades coats and do not “de-shed” at all!  Bathing comes with lots of risk as well. For instance, one cannot use a garden hose nozzle used often in grooming shops and self bathing facilities on a 3 lb Yorkie or toy size dog because the dog could swallow water into their lungs and drown. Has the grooming shop accommodated the water delivery for a teeny tiny dog? And lastly, the drying process is so important. Most people have no idea if the shop is using cage dyers. If they are, find another groomer.   Have your groomer demonstrate all the drying machines to you so you know how your dog tolerates them, especially on their heads. Drying must be performed right after the bath, so the hair becomes as straight as possible so, the final haircut is even and well proportioned so it grows out evenly and proportionally. There are many steps during the preparation phase to a haircut that requires training, skill and expertise.

I have only scratched the surface of elements involved in grooming a dog. As a Home Dog Groomer my clients see everything I do: there is complete transparency. I encourage you to take the time to ask your groomer his/her training experience, request a complete tour of their shop including all the equipment that will be used on your dog and even if possible, stay and observe a grooming from start to finish to evaluate for yourself their competency. I am the bather/fluff dryer and the stylist. I perform both tasks as an in Home Dog Groomer but, most grooming shops have an assembly line. The bathers/fluff dryers and the stylists.