5/24/10 I have ARRIVED!


You know you are a creative groomer when photos of your creations stir up people and they feel the need to tell you how you are abusing your dog and being cruel. I’ve seen comments on creative grooming from some very uninformed people who think that coloring and cutting designs in the dog’s hair is the epitome of animal abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth of course, but how can we change the public’s perspective and let them see how very loved and pampered our dogs are?

TLC has made a pilot of a new show called Extreme Poodles that will air June 13th. It features some of the top creative groomers. I am hoping that this show, instead of sensationalizing and dramatizing our art, shows that we do love our dogs and we most certainly are not abusing them. I’m a little skeptical, only because the only run-ins I’ve had with the media have been the opposite. If it’s not exciting enough, they’ll make it exciting. The media likes to cut out the boring truthful messages, and highlight the controversy. I guess that’s what sells and pays the bills.

I am friends with many of the creative groomers that I compete with and one lady in particular, Sandy Hartness whose creations are probably more well known has received death threats by some over zealous animal rights enthusiasts who think what she does is wrong. My question is which is worse, a dog neglected, tied out on a chain that gets no attention or a pampered poodle who happily enjoys grooming and showing off?

The people who are sending the hate messages seem to think that we don’t allow our dogs to be dogs. All they see are the photos. They have no idea how or where this animal lives, or how it spends the rest of its non-creative life back at home. Somehow I think their minds may change if they would only listen. But you can’t make people listen.

Sandy Hartness tells me that it’s official, I am now a member of “the club” since I received my hate mail. “Yes! I’ve arrived!” I told her, because she tells me you have to be good to get people to do this. One of the “greats” in creative grooming thinks I’m “good”. Wow, that is the biggest compliment I can receive!

Due to the new TLC show about creative grooming, of course there are others who are airing their take on it. For instance, at the Knoxville show I just attended, ABC’s “Nightline” was there filming our competition. I’m anxious to see how they view it, or if their story will only stir up more controversy. If you see a couple of cute dogs who look like Clydesdales pulling a “Pupweiser” cart on “Nightline”, that would be us. We took second place in our division. The “Today” show will also have a couple of competitors on their show in the near future.

The funny thing is, creative grooming has been around since 1900 when a groomer first started carving designs into the hair of the dogs he groomed. It may go back earlier than that. I have seen photos of his work and considering no electric clippers back then? AMAZING! I’m actually proud to be part of this elite club of artists, so I’ll take my hate mail as a compliment, and smile knowing that my dogs don’t hate me, and because of what I do, they are living a good life, anyone who knows me can testify to that.

5/6/10 Green Hair!

“Green” Hair?

I found out something interesting that is being done to help with oil spills in the Gulf. There is a group that makes oil absorbing mats and booms out of human and pet hair!
The idea is that hair absorbs oil, and they weave all the hair into mats or stuff it into nylon hosiery and float it on the water, and it actually does work! Now that’s a way to be “green” that I never thought of! You can go to this website, www.MatterofTrust.org to sign up, and they will take donations of hair, hosiery, pet hair or sheep’s wool and you’ll be matched up by state and told where to send your donation. I’m presently awaiting an e-mail to tell me where to send my pet hair. Meanwhile, I will be bagging it up and putting it aside. Who knew there was another use for cut hair? This is great for all beauticians and pet groomers, sheep farmers, as well as anyone who wants to bag up and save any amount of hair. Think of the space we’ll save in the landfills, now that’s some creative recycling!
The entire operation of how they make the hair mats and booms is on that site, and it’s fascinating! They accept donations all year round, not just for major disasters that we hear about on the news. From the website:


Every year, an estimated 706 million gallons of oil enter our planet's oceans:
By far the greatest source of spilled oil is households. We can make a difference, according to the Smithsonian Institution and the Environment Protection Agency:

Used Motor Oil - accounts for 363 million gallons in our oceans!
50% of Americans change their own motor oil, but only 1/3 of that oil is collected and recycled.
2/3 are dumped down drains or spilled on driveways and onto streets. One typical 5 quart oil change improperly dumped can contaminate millions of gallons of freshwater.

Routine ship maintenance and washing containers - account for 137 million gallons of oil in our oceans.

From air pollution - 92 million gallons

Natural seepage of oil bubbling up from the sea bottom - 62 million gallons

Large Spill Accidents - 37 million gallons

Offshore drilling - 15 million gallons

Wow, those are scary statistics! It’s nice to know someone is out there doing something about it and we can all help in some way. This group is hopeful that they can bring the textile industry back to the United States, since China has the lion’s share of it. Wouldn’t THAT be nice! Just think, it all started with a haircut, or a pet groom. Who would’ve thought hair could save the world? I’ve seen some pretty interesting things done with hair, heck I do some of them, but I do love minds that think outside the box.

All of this is making me feel very guilty about the way I deal with garbage, and recycling. I’m not exactly a “tree-hugger”. I think there’s still hope for me though.
So now every time you brush your pet, get your own hair cut, get your pet’s hair cut, or sweep up hair dust bunnies you can think, wow, this could save a fish, or seal or bird or some kind of wildlife, and of course, it can save us. The great circle of life ends with us and “green” hair.

4/23/10 Politics, religion and dog food.

Politics, Religion and Dog Food

Recently on my online groomers group, we had a discussion about pet foods and which brands are better than others, which companies are “safe” and so on. Of course it started a heated debate, much like discussions about religion or politics. There were those of us with personal stories of what we have seen and experienced, vs. those who are staunch proponents of their brand of xyz dog food, with only information given to them by the maker, not necessarily the truth. No matter how hard we tried to convince them to look further into the brand and see exactly where their ingredients came from and what the ingredients mean and include, they wouldn’t listen, they only defended their brand and lumped the rest of us into a “new age tree hugger group”. I find that happens with many people and vets that have been educated by companies about products but don’t have a clue what the ingredients mean.
Face it, when it comes to OUR food, most of us don’t read labels and have no clue what all the ingredients are, especially when you add preservatives we can’t pronounce let alone define. So I’m not surprised when people think they are feeding great food to their pets with all the commercials that say how wonderful and happy your dog will be if they eat xyz brand dog food, or that the food is veterinarian recommended, which would be great if it the vet wasn’t only educated by the company itself, with little to no education on what each ingredient was or where it came from. That’s one-sided and biased. I have a problem with that.
I’ll admit it, I’m a grudge holder. I may forgive but I will never forget. I have a tough time putting faith in any of the companies that were involved in the recall, even thought they claim they have better testing now in place. Just when I think oh that company has come out with a healthier formula, something else happens and kills that trust.
When we had the great pet food recall of 2007, I personally know 3 dogs that died from the tainted food. At the time, they didn’t link it to the food; they died shortly before the recall. But after seeing their brand was in the recall, their pet was already buried and had the same symptoms as the pets that ate tainted food; it was pretty clear what had happened. There were thousands of pets that died, but so many died before the recall, that nobody suspected the food, and now it’s too late.
I recently found on truthaboutpetfood.com something they call “vindication” which is a permanent memorial to the pets that died or remain ill due to the contaminated food that was recalled. While it won’t bring them back, and it’s not a lawsuit and no compensation is made to those owners, it will be a reminder that those pets mattered to us. If you lost a pet to the recall, please get online and put in your pets name so a permanent memorial can be made and your pet can also be included in “vindication”. See below for details.

If a pet food has ever sickened or killed a Pet of yours, a friends,
or a family members… please read and share with others.
Losing your dog or cat because a pet food was contaminated is one of the worst experiences a Pet Owner can endure. You feel guilty. You feel taken advantage of. You feel alone. Saying good-bye to your dear friend, BECAUSE OF A PET FOOD, is the worst emotional roller coaster ride imaginable.
From the 2007 melamine pet food recall alone, some estimates are as high as 300,000 U.S. and Canadian Pets became sick, died, or are still fighting kidney disease. Countless thousands more pets have become sick from recalls or silent recalls of tainted pet food since.
They all mattered to someone;
They all matter in Vindication.
Vindication will Never Forget Them;
Nor why They Died.
Vindication is five acres of land at Keystone Lake, Tulsa, OK donated to Pet Owners.
Vindication will provide a permanent memorial to Pets that have died or remains ill due to a poisoned/contaminated pet food. Vindication is being groomed into gardens with cascading pathways lined with handmade stones; each stone bears the name of a Pet that has died or remains ill due to a pet food. For the first time in history, there will be a visual count of the deadly effects of tainted pet foods. The land, the garden, the handmade stones are provided by an anonymous Pet Family whose lives where shattered by a poisoned pet food. The five acres of Vindication will remain in trust to Pets and Pet Owners.
No laws have changed, no lawsuits have been settled, none responsible have been jailed. No one has told us how many died or remains sick; no one tells us how many continue to become sick and/or die from new recalls. Countless thousands of Pet Owners have felt they had no ground to stand on, they have been abandoned by the pet food manufacturer and the FDA, alone with the memory of their beloved friend…until now.
Vindication will be an emotional visual display of how deadly pet food has been. The demand for safe pet food will not be denied with these thousands of Pets as our foundation.
If your Pet has become sick or died due to a pet food, please include them at Vindication.
Go to www.TruthaboutPetFood.com click on the Vindication banner on the right.
There is no charge to any Pet Owner to include their Pet in Vindication.
Each Pet that has died or remains ill because of a pet food deeply mattered to someone…Each Pet matters in Vindication.