Diary of a Dog Groomer

Penny – Tibetan Terrier

July 18, 2016

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.


Scout and Truffles – Two Full Coated Havaneses

July 17, 2016

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!




Groomer at Petsmart Allegedly Abuses/Kills Dachshund

July 16, 2016

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 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 an 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 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, and being responsible for their complete well being while in my care, 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 than 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 depend on it. One must lay the foundation of education first and over the course of years, the 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 de-matting 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 degrade 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.


June 5, 2016

The Kent’s Kanines Mascot – FRISCO

I love Pomeranians. Full of energy, smart, sweet and what to say about all that hair!

After Niblet died in 2013, the 2nd Kent’s Kanines Mascot, I sensed that his companion Flirt, photo with me below, needed a new friend. So, in January of 2016 I found a black and tan Pomeranian male in California. I had been searching breeders for over 6 months but, for many reasons, I just didn’t find my next sweet dog. The search ended in November 2016. Frisco was born November 5, 2015. I was beyond happy. I placed a deposit for him and at one month I received the first photo of him. HE WAS SO CUTE! He had the littlest tail. I had never seen a month old Pomeranian so, I thought something was wrong. Nothing was wrong, he was just a tiny baby.
I then received photos every couple of weeks and each time I got one, I fell in love just a little more.

He is 7 months old now and beyond a handful. I groom puppies all the time but, I haven’t lived with one for 15 years. He loves to go on walks and play fetch, he is an excellent fetcher, he LOVES to unravel the toilet paper but, all things considered he is quite good. He has not chewed up anything at all in the house except the toilet paper. No shoes, no furniture. This is a miracle. I have not neutered him yet for two reasons. Firstly, I do think allowing his hormones to develop as much as possible to strengthen his bones and secure his endocrine system is so important. Secondly, I want him to mature and then have a professional handler assess him to determine if showing him might be an option. He is definitely on the larger size of the standard so, it may be a no go but, if the handler thinks there might be a chance of success of a showing campaign then he must be intact. He has a great personality, all boy. He is quite confident and brave. He can be a bit feisty at times so, his nickname is Feisty Frisco.

When he reached 6 months all four of his baby canine teeth were not falling out preventing the adult canine teeth to slip into an empty slot. So, I thought it best to consult with my veterinarian and he agreed that all four should be extracted. His adult teeth now are coming in beautifully. This is really important because, toy dogs particularly are prone to tooth decay and periodontal disease. If there is over crowding of teeth in the developing mouth it affects the dog’s bite and permits more surface area to be covered with bacteria. Decay can start very early. Normally, if the dog must have teeth extracted presenting at 5-6-7 months then, the spaying/neutering is done at the same time. Only one anesthesia for the dog.
I knew with Frisco though that I couldn’t wait until he was one year old to have these teeth extracted. Most likely, if I choose not to show him, I will neuter him 10-12 months old. If I had waited that long for his dental procedure his bite would have been permanently compromised. I asked my vet to take pictures of the double teeth from different angles.
I can see his muzzle slowly widen as he is maturing now that there is more room in his little mouth. He is becoming quite a handsome and striking Pomeranian.

He has an amazing coat. Grooming is not his favorite activity yet so, lots of training and patience are in order. As the Kent’s Kanines Mascot I look forward for him to be my teaching model for teaching brushing, bathing and drying.

Today is his 7TH month birthday and I thought this would be a good time to introduce him. I have confidence that he will pass through his puppy craziness and mature into well mannered and absolutely beautiful dog. I hope to share lots of helpful information about grooming as he grows up!!

Enjoy the pictures and videos below.


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May 11, 2016

Today was Travis’s last day. He was adopted from the SPCA in San Francisco 16 years ago. He truly was one of the best dogs ever and oh so handsome. Probably a Shepherd mix with the sweetest temperament. I have groomed him every month for 16 six years straight; I became quite attached to him. When I saw his owner’s name come up on my cell phone as I was driving on 101 South towards San Francisco, I knew why she was calling. Travis had been suffering from arthritis for years and just in the last few days had incontinence and bowel problems. He lived a happy and fun life and all his family loved him! I loved him too!

I always groomed him on my grooming table but, in the last 6 months of his life after his bath, I would dry him with his leash and collar on the floor kneeling beside him instead of on the grooming table because, I knew it was more comfortable for him. It definitely made the drying process more challenging for me but, it allowed him to move around a little if he wanted to and it helped relieve any stiffness. After his grooming, I always took him for a little walk to relieve himself and he would have pep in his step. I do think he loved the attention and pampering. Running my fingers through his freshly groomed thick dense coat pleased me no end.

Travis was a Kent’s Kanines Model that posed for my website, please see him with his previous buddy Rollo Portfolio gallery 2. I am also including in this tribute a great de-shedding video featuring Travis. As you will see, he behaved beautifully. He was so patient and tolerant and sweet!!

As I write this I am thinking back 16 years and my memories are flashing in front of me. I can honestly and sincerely say that it was a joy, pleasure and privilege to groom Travis!!




January 7, 2016

As a child of the TV show the Jetsons, each and every time I do FaceTime I always think I am in a Jetsons episode. Who would think that this technology would be common place in 2016? Back in the 1960’s when the Jetsons was the most popular cartoon on TV, the fantasy of seeing someone while talking to them was just that, a fantasy.

I am presently creating my new Kent’s Kanines website and my web master, Chad Swenson, has been traveling through Europe for three months. Emails can of course explain things but, the creative part of design really is best accomplished face to face. Hence we have been using FaceTime. While he is enjoying the mountains of France, Germany and Austria, I sit at my desk in San Francisco. Doesn’t seem fair somehow 🙂 🙂

That being said, I just love Facetime and am very grateful that a small business owner as myself can accomplished something as complicated as a website with another person across the world!