Lmao…just finished a phone convo with a potential bather that had me quoting a yearly income of $33k-$65k. 7.5 years ago, i became a bather at Petsmart after being given a line by store manager Jack Rains: “You can make $65,000 a year! Make your own schedule! Work at your own pace! Build up a loyal following, it’s easy!”
“okay!” said I, a cat person who had never owned a dog in her life. I was a sheltered young idiot who was, frankly, terrified of dogs, and had spent the last 19 years avoiding them in case they drooled, bit, humped, or peed on me. That’s what my mom taught me, thats what i believed.
I remember being stunned to discover that dogs dont GROW into their typical “look”, they were trimmed and styled that way. The first time I saw an overgrown schnauzer, i didnt believe the owner that it was a purebred and made a fool of myself laughing at the bemused owner’s joke. I remember exclaiming “i didnt know pekingnese were just long haired pugs!” the first time i saw one shaved. My first chow chow was a disaster of epic proportions, as i TRASHED its coat with tight whip knots (from the hv) and required his owner’s assistance til 12 midnight to finish that dog.
I cringed at chihuahuas. Literally dripped sweat over nail trims (that took about 30 minutes to perform). Purchased knee-high galoshes and science class goggles that i wore to protect the makeup i carefully applied between dogs. I earned the title “Weird Science” for my exaggerated “uniform”, which i wore with pride and ignored the stares of my coworkers and clients.
Despite being damn near handicapable, i LOVED my job. Hard, dirty physical labor that was twice as nasty as anyone thought yet brought home fistfulls of cash tips nightly. I answered the phones any time i could, and booked any bath dog of a breed i’d never seen with myself. I developed a script to use on calling clients: “OH, you have a SHIH TZU!! I just LOVE shih tzus! Will you let me bathe it?” Game, Set, Match. I come by my customer service naturally.
The first dog i EVER BATHED was a full-coated, matted Afghan. I dont know what my manager was thinking. I splatted shampoo all over it, scrubbed sort of, while making EW faces, wondered briefly about the “clumpy hair”, then rinsed for what felt like forever and turned on the LOUDEST DRYER I’D EVER HEARD. the skittish afghan LEAPED into the air, began spewing Chocolate Rain everywhere, and proceeded to scream it’s fool head off while i also screamed overtop the sound of the HV in an attempt to calm it.
I seem to remember my manager finished the bath, dematted for two hours while dodging bites, and sent it home still wet, matted, and charged $65. That might not be true, that’s my recollection.
There’s a 90% chance Im competing with my new groomer’s afghan at superzoo this year. Im thinking of this as my chance to redeem my pathetic bather past. I love sharing tales of my disaster-prone Upbringing in the world of grooming. Maybe ill share more later.