November 19, 2007 Grooming Shows

Grooming Shows

Well I finally made it to the Dallas, Texas U.S. Pet Pro Classic this year and competed in the creative invitational competition. Our theme was the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and we took Jasmine and Bogey. Bogey I turned into a football.Yes I know, this is Colts country and honestly my heart is with the Colts, but I was going to Dallas, and doing a Colts theme there could be deadly! My boys were even in on this, their first competition. They worked really hard with me to help me get some money ahead to make this trip. Drew helped me bathe dogs while Lane was busy helping me organize tools and clean up. I’ve never taken my kids with me before to grooming shows simply because for them it would be boring to listen to seminars and it would be too nerve wracking for me to watch them and try to learn stuff at the same time. It’s not exactly a place for children. This year however would be different. They were “props” so to speak for our entry. They were dressed as the Dallas Cowboys in full football gear. Big thanks to my clients David and Brenda Landes and Dave Huckleberry for supplying me with football gear!
The show manager told us to be downstairs for a meeting at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, the day of the show, no easy feat for me the “non-morning” person. We were informed on how the show was going to go, when we would go on our tour of Southfork ranch and when we would eat. We were told to have our dogs and displays there by 3:00 p.m. This cut into my prepping time considerably. I was planning on 5:00 p.m.
Prepping a dog for a contest like this has got to be the hardest thing any groomer has ever done considering you can’t dry the dog in a hotel room, and the drying room they set up for us could only accommodate one dryer at a time or the circuits would blow. I took a shortcut. I found a self-serve dog wash in the vicinity who gave me a generous discount since I was a contestant! Things were going just bit too smooth for my luck, so true to Sandy Blackburn fashion, as I was loading up the van to head to the dog wash my van was dead as a doornail. I left a map light on from the night before, that could be when my cell phone also was mysteriously lost, sigh. Luckily for me, I knew several people in the hotel at the trade show so I went up to one of my equipment suppliers Curtis Hanvey and begged him for a jump start! He was most gracious and dropped everything and got me going. What a guy! My oldest son Drew went with me to help get the dogs ready. While I was busy dyeing Bogey, Drew went to work bathing Jasmine. Even the guy that was working at “Dirty Dawgz” dog wash helped me wash and dry the dogs. Lane stayed with my mom at the hotel and went to the trade show with her and her dog Suzy who made a wonderful demo dog for some groomers and vets putting on seminars.
We finally had to leave the dog wash about 3:45 p.m. I knew it wouldn’t take us long to get there and set up and judging wouldn’t start until 5:00 p.m. so we made it to Southfork’s Oil Baron’s Ballroom to put up our display. Every one of the creative contestants did a fabulous job! I am proud of my entry even though I didn't have enough time to prep them as I would've liked.
My dog Jasmine did a great job jumping thru a hoop with streamers on it as her introduction and did a fine job jumping up and dancing, to the music as did my little football Bogey. As you can see he sits up and was ready to punt!
We may not have placed, but we did have the "cuteness" factor. Hey the football players weren't bad either!
The best parts of the trip were seeing my groomer pals again, and I met my late dog Katy's rescuer Debra Bryant. We cried together, I thanked her and gave her a copy of the book, Presents Second Chances, Katy's story is in it. She and her husband came by the hotel before we left so we could meet each other in person. That was great!

November 5, 2007 Matchmaker

November 5, 2007


I recently found myself in yet another service I’ve happily provided for my clients, “matchmaker”. Not the kind of matchmaker that sets up people, but the kind of matchmaker that finds the right dogs for the right people.
One of my clients who is at a young 97 years of age, asked me to find him a dog. His dog had passed away and he was lonely and needed a companion.
I set myself to work on the internet searching and of course found dozens that would be just right for him. The problem was of course, well he’s 97. The odds are good that the dog will outlive him, or at least have to live with someone else if he got sick or ended up in a nursing home.
I had to ask him a lot of questions, such as who will take care of the dog if you get sick? He assured me that he had “people” to step in. I asked about his daughter, if she would be willing to take the dog, he said he was sure she would but he hadn’t asked her. So I kept inquiring who his “people” were that would take care of the dog and he told me he had “housekeepers” (he lives in assisted living) that took his old dog in when needed and returned her when he was able. I asked him to have her call me so I could ask her a few questions, as I know the rescue groups were going to ask me. He said he would and she called me the next day.
I grilled her on her pet life at home, what kinds of pets she has, and if she would be willing to take on the responsibility of another dog should she have to and possibly it could be permanently one day. She assured me that yes, she would and I found a kindred spirit, she rescues lots of animals and has a farm full of them. She put my mind at ease and then I was confident I could speak with the rescue organizations and let them know that the dog would have a permanent home with someone who would care for it, and love it, and has a plan B should something happen to him.
It helps that I’m involved in rescue myself, and I know better than to match up a puppy with a 97 year old person, or a dog that is bound to be more headstrong and dart out the door as soon as it’s opened.
My client had Shelties in the past and it turns out that Shelties are the perfect breed not only for him, but also for his “housekeeper” and her menagerie of pets at home. I was not about to match him up with a dog that wouldn’t mesh with her life as well because it’s very likely that she will end up taking care of the dog at least temporarily at some point.
Well I found him the perfect little Sheltie online. She’s 5 years old, spayed, up to date on vaccines, heartworm medicine and flea prevention and calm and happy to be in someone’s lap! The rescue wants to meet my client in person naturally, so we go tomorrow to meet her and take her home. I told my client to be ready for a road trip; I was picking him up and taking him to Terre Haute to meet his new companion.
He was thrilled that I found him a buddy; I was thrilled that I did too, before he grabbed just anything out of the paper. Many times, when a person wants a dog, they get the first thing available, and it ends up being a nightmare and not the perfect match. I can temperament test dogs and I know the rescues do too, so I also grill them on what they know about the dog.
Good rescues foster dogs for a while before placement so they can temperament test them and match them up with the right homes. Being 97 isn’t a barrier to pet ownership, or at least it shouldn’t be, as long as there is a back up plan should something happen to you. Not every next of kin wants our pets; unfortunately that is how many of them come to be in rescue.
I believe there is a dog out there for everyone. There are rescues who have programs of “seniors for seniors” matching up older dogs with senior citizens. Face it, we could all die in a car crash tomorrow or get hit by a truck regardless of our age. We don’t know what tomorrow holds so it’s important to have a plan for your pets should something happen.
So before you adopt it’s important to know your breeds, their traits, and temperament of the individual dog and be aware of your own lifestyle and if you have the time commitment and the resources to really take care of a pet the right way and make sure you have a back-up plan to provide for them if you can’t.