Canine beautician

At Work

A dog groomer endures matted hair and an occasional bite for a wag of a tail

Working

October 25, 2006|By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest | Nancy Jones-Bonbrest,Special to the Sun

April Powers

Dog groomer

Lucky Stars Country Kennels, Hampstead

Salary --$28,000

Age --21

Years --on the job: Almost three

How she got started --Powers said she always liked dogs and filled out an application to work at a kennel in Reisterstown. She was given a job as a dog brusher/bather. Powers spent 10 hours working her first day to try it out and said it was the best day she ever worked. Powers stayed there for about six months, then left to work as a veterinary technician. After about two years, she took a job at PETCO in Hanover, Pa., and completed the company's eight-week dog-grooming certification. She began working at Lucky Stars Country Kennels in July.

Typical day --She works five days a week, 7:30 a.m. to about 2 p.m., with Wednesday and Sunday off. She averages about eight dogs a day, but during the busy summer months and holidays she can take as many as 10 to 12 dogs daily. She is paid on commission, receiving 50 percent to 60 percent on each groomed dog. The price of a grooming starts at about $30.

The type of grooming depends on the breed, but a typical full treatment includes nail trimming, removing or brushing out any mats in the dogs' hair, ear cleaning, a haircut, a full bath and a brush. Many dogs are also brought in for just a bath and nail clipping. The dogs are usually dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon.

The good --"The fact you are always busy and everyday is a different type of day. It's not going to a desk and typing in the same thing each day."

The bad --"A dog that doesn't want to cooperate." She also dislikes removing mats from a dog's hair.

Average grooming time --A large dog coming in for a complete grooming takes about 2 1/2 hours; the same dog would take about 1 1/2 hours for just a bath and brush.

No cats --Powers says she has worked with cats but limits her work to dogs. "Dogs are the easiest to work with. Cats can tear you up pretty good."

The number of dog bites --"Too many to count, but nothing that's ever been too serious."

Favorite dog --"I like a good dog."

Personalities --Powers said dogs offer amusing moments every day. "Some dogs just have funny personalities. I had a husky the other day, and every time he shook in the bath he would groan."

Advice for dog owners --Brush between groomings.

Philosophy on the job --"Treat each dog the way I would want my dogs to be treated and to treat the customers the way I feel I would want to be treated."

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest

Special to The Sun

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