Why I left my job to be a dog groomer
I am pretty famous for being a ‘dog person’ within my social circles. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t one. When I was little, whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always replied, “ veterinarian” as if there were any other option for me. However, that dream went away at the age of twelve when I had to dissect my first frog in science class. I quickly discovered that I was a delicate flower and gagged at the sight of guts on the table.
All was not lost though. The older I got, the more of a ‘dog person’ I became. At age thirty, I threw caution to the wind, quit my secure, yet soul-sucking job, and became a dog groomer. I took a huge pay cut, but it didn’t matter because I was gloriously happy each day I came home from work.
I was able to groom for five years before a couple of herniated discs put me on the sidelines. That’s ok though. Despite having a back that goes out more often than I do, I have no regrets. I worked with some amazing people and I learned a lot.
I don’t know why but some people are usually surprised when I tell them this story. My theory is that they are ‘cat people’. Without fail, they always ask why I left my job to groom. After squelching an eye roll or two, this is what I usually say in response:
- Dogs don’t judge - I have confessed things to my dog that I would never say to another living soul. I’ve also done things in front of my dog that I would only admit to under oath like that time I tried to put on a pair of Spanx without sufficiently stretching first. I am not going to get into detail on that one because I am only *just now* able to talk about it, but it involved making a pact with the Almighty, violently marching around my bathroom, and a little crying. My dog took it in stride and has never, ever brought it up since (which, by the way, was totally cool of him.)
- Dogs are tenacious - My basset hound Winston could give a master class in tenacity. This was especially true when it came to his daily walk. He lived for it. We had a 1.5 mile route that we did every day when the weather allowed it, and there was no cutting it short. If you dared turn left when he wanted to go right, he would stop dead in his tracks and not move. If you dared tug harder, he would counter that move with what I used to call “the garden slug”, and just lay flat on the ground. This peaceful, yet persistent method used to win every time partly because I could never resist his cuteness, and partly because I could never lift his sorry butt off the ground.
- Dogs need their pack (and that means you!) - If given the choice of hanging out with you on the couch or traveling the world on an all expenses paid vacation, guess who your dog is going to pick? It’s you every time. Isn’t that awesome? You could look like eight miles of bad road, leave your dirty dishes everywhere, forget to shower for a week and it wouldn’t matter. Your dog doesn’t give one zippity-doo about all that. Why? It’s because you’re part of the pack and a pack sticks together no matter what.
- Dogs stay in the moment - I used to be able to when I was a kid and didn’t have a care in the world. Those were good times I tell you. Some of my favorite childhood memories include not having adult responsibilities. To stay present and enjoy each moment now is a struggle for me because of the mental list of errands in my head called “10,000 Things to do by next week”. This is why I am sometimes jealous of dogs. When they are staring out a window, all they are doing is taking in the scenery, seeing what’s going on, smelling a bajillion smells and that’s pretty much it. They are living in the moment and why not? It’s a fun place to be.
- Dogs listen to their gut - When I was in labor with my second child, I am pretty sure my dog knew it before I did. The day before I actually went into labor, he would not leave me alone and was acting like a big weirdo. I was practically tripping over him everywhere I went because he was sticking to me like glue. Eighteen hours later, my water broke. As we got ready to head to the hospital all he could do was run around the house barking as if to say, “I told you so! I told you so!” He could be so smug when he was right.
I can almost see some of you folks out there nodding your collective heads in agreement. I think it’s safe to say that you are probably a dog person yourself if you are reading this post. If dog grooming is something that you are interested in, then do yourself a favor and research, research, research! Go around town and ask your local groomers about how they got into grooming and about some occupational hazards involved. You will hear many interesting stories I am sure. Some will be inspiring and some will be so absolutely bananas that you will probably think that they are making it up.( Spoiler alert...they’re not. I have some stories that will curl your hair!) After you’ve heard about the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of grooming, then you can make a better decision about your career. Who knows? You may just have what it takes.