Editorials

Dryer Seizures

Kaydee

This is Katie and she has dryer induced seizures

If you have been grooming for any period of time you are likely to have seen this happen before. 

You are drying a dog you have groomed many times before, usually a dog that is getting older but not always, and out of nowhere they start pacing, screaming and acting like they have no idea who you are, what you are doing or what is going on around them. You struggle to turn off the dryer and hold onto the dog (if you are lucky you have someone who can help) and do everything you can to calm them down.

Nothing works. You have to hold the dog until the episode stops and hope no one gets hurt. It can be scary if you are unaware of what is going on. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes and nothing you do will stop them once they stop. They have to resolve on their own.

What has just happened? Most of us refer to these as dryer seizures. 

There are many theories as to why these episodes occur. 

Some people think it is the sound of the dryer that triggers them, but I am beginning to doubt that. The way my shop is set up, the dog that are bathed are placed in holding kennels in the same room as the dryers. I have never once seen a dog react to the dryers unless they were the ones being dried. Odd if the sound is what triggers it isn't it? 

So that got me thinking and I have been doing research on seizure triggers in humans. There are many things that will trigger a seizure in humans and every person has a different trigger (or series of triggers). Temperature fluctuations, like a dog having been bathed being dried with warm air, can trigger seizures. Moving air can trigger seizures in some humans and so can loud or abrupt noises, like the sound dryers make when the nozzle is moved on their bodies. There have even been anecdotal reports of humans seizing when a fan is on them, or a hairdryer is being used to dry their hair. 

When these seizures occur in dogs they usually occur after a few minutes of drying, generally, although not always, as you get closer to the head with the dryer. They remind me of the seizures reported on Medlink under the "hot water epilepsy" topic. Here is a quote from that page: Reflex epilepsies are classified as a group of etiologically heterogeneous epileptic entities, the common factor being precipitation of seizures by precise sensory and cognitive precipitating factors. The seizures may occur immediately with stimuli or after a short delay. However, this response should be consistent. Photosensitive epilepsies are so far the commonest in this group. However, seizures precipitated by touch, music, reading, eating, and other complex cognitive processes have also been reported (Wolf 2004).

Here is a link to reading more on reflex seizures

I don't want to get into the technical and medical aspect too deeply since I can really only find medical substantiation for humans, but it makes sense to me that there is similar response in dogs to those in humans. 

Since we never know when these are going to occur it is virtually impossible to "catch one" on video. HOWEVER! We have a groomer, Deanne Olson Morris, who was determined to get one of these episodes on video so that the vet could see what had happened. She set a camera up in her drying area and turned it on every time she had a dog that had ever had one of these seizures before, or that she thought might be one that would. It took several tries, because of course, when you know a dog has one of these you do not want to provoke one so you take precautions to prevent them, but we do have the video now to study, learn from and share with new groomers and vets.

WARNING! This video shows a real dog having a real seizure while being dried. It MAY BE DISTURBING TO WATCH! 

 

The reason I think this video is important to watch for all groomers is that if you watch it several times you can see what is happening before the seizure starts. The dog starts acting different. Pacing, stepping, and moving differently. Not every dog will do this, but every dog will have predictors. 

I have a poodle that we can dry up until we get to her head. the closer you get to her head (in retrospect) we noticed that she starts moving her head slowly from side to side and its obvious she is trying to get away from the dryer. If you catch it and stop, no seizure. If you do not catch it, then she goes full on screaming, thrashing, scratching, trying to get away from the person drying her as well. 

A 35 pound mix we do named Mikie? She starts picking up her legs in a "marching band" type step. She only does this a few times, but if you catch that predictor and stop the dryer she will not seize. If you miss it (and we did the first time or two) then she gets so upset that you will not get her off the table until she is done. She often urinated, pooped and in general was difficult to dry before the seizures stopped. Were they an indicator there was going to be a problem? I don't know for sure but I would guess yes. 

Brady is a cockapoo we do that you cannot even turn a dryer on him anymore. He is about 12. He used to be wonderful for grooming but now? He gets towel dried, placed under a fan and then after he is mostly dry finished with a stand dryer. No more problems. The last time he had a dryer seizure it took him almost 20 minutes to completely stop and was thrashing so badly that Brian, who was drying him, got injured in the process of trying to put him in a crate. He had scratches all over his arms, hands, face and he threw out his back as well trying to control him. However, Brady did not get hurt. Thankfully.

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When using a Happy Hoodie, lay the ears down over the ear canal and secure them with the HH. It will muffle sound and speed up drying the ears and head.

While it is clear that there are no real warning signals for which dogs will seize, there are things you can do to minimize these seizures in dogs already prone to having them. Possibly.  

  • First of all DO NOT use a force dryer with a nozzle (especially a cone nozzle) to dry a dog that has had one. The nozzle will cause more stimulation both to the skin and to the hearing induced seizures.
  • Use cotton balls in the ears and if you have them add a Happy Hoodie as well. This will help tremendously if its sound induced or if, like in my own ears, the sound from the dryer buffeting as it moves triggers the problem. On a sidenote, I cannot be in a car with only one window open due to the air buffeting. I cannot open both back windows of my car either because the noise and pressure change makes me sick. 
  • Whenever possible, dry the dog with a stand dryer or hand dryer instead of a force dryer. 

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When packing ears with cotton I tear the cotton ball into small pieces and insert deeply into the ear canal.

What do you do when it happens? 

  1. It is critical that you not continue to force through one of these episodes and continue drying the dog. It can be damaging for the dog if you do that.
  2. Turn off the dryer as fast as possible.
  3. Remove the dog as quickly as possible from the area the sound is in.
  4. Hold the dog if possible close to your body until they have calmed down.
  5. If that is not possible, place them in a kennel with a pad or towel for their own safety.

After the seizure has resolved, the dogs usually act as if nothing has happened and the groom can continue as normal. 

I always tell the owners that it happened, because most of my clients bathe and dry their dogs in between grooming and the hair dryer at home can also trigger this in some cases. I also suggest they mention it to the vet and watch for other seizures at home. Usually these are isolated and no other activity is ever noticed.

There are two schools of thought as to what to tell the owners. I DO tell people that they have had "what I refer to as a dryer seizure". I also tell them "the vet should probably be notified of what happened" and then go into as much detail as I can without scaring the client. I also offer my business card and tell them the vet is free to call me if they want more information. Some people say we should not use the term seizure, because we are not vets and that might be diagnosing. Personally. I don't see an issue with it, but if you are not comfortable then use the words "episode" or "incident". I will go into more detail with a client if they want more information about what happened, what caused it, what we can do to avoid it. Most are extremely grateful and NOT ONCE In twenty years of being a groomer have I had a veterinarian call me giving me a hard time or accusing me of diagnosing. Thanking me for the detailed information and concern? ABSOLUTELY.

I also try to let the owners know that their dog's health is more important to me than their appearance and as a result i cannot guarantee the quality of the groom will be the same if I cannot dry the dog completely. I have never had anyone complain about that because my clients appreciate that I put the dog's health and safety first.

Doing this blog post has been educational for myself and hopefully for everyone who has read it.

If you are a new groomer or one that works alone, you may have had no idea what happens when these occur or what to do about them until now.

Maybe what you learned here can help you or a dog in your care have a better, safer experience. Let's hope so!


Two Toned Dogs

Got your attention didn't I? 

 

 

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We call schnauzers with two distinct colors, one on the outer hair and one after clipping "two toned dogs". Brindle dogs often appear to be two toned as well when clippered, especially if the clipperwork is done fairly short, because the brindle hair is usually lighter than the furnishings and will appear to be solid, whereas the body hair is lighter and the stripes appear to be more vibrant when clipped.

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You need to remember that terrier hair is really "deisgned" to be handstripped not clippered. The hair is darker on the longer, harsh coat and the softer "undercoat" is usually lighter. Short clipping will remove the harsh outer coat, leaving nothing but the softer light hair behind.

Usually it's not a huge problem, and not that noticable, when we groom the terrier t ype coats. Most ev eryone has consistent color all the way to the skin, but every once in a while a dog comes along like the one at the top of the page, that looks like two different dogs are occupying the same body. Harsh, dark out coat, then when you start clipping your eyes start to bug out and you take a deep breath. Betcha you eben check to make sure its not a 40 on the clipper (I know I did!).

This type of coat can lead to dogs that look as if they have not been blended well even though they have. It is also almost impossible to get a smooth, straight line. You see every wobble. Every divet. The more you try to fix it the worse it gets. It is one of the things that makes me pull my hair out as a groomer. Notice that in this closeup shot the blending is definately done. I did not draw a line.

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By using a longer snap on comb, like a 2 or longer or a skip toothed blade (usually a 4) you can minimize the distinct color change. If the owner wants a sh ort back however, there is nothing you can do to help. Many folks get used to seeing their two colored dogs and think if they do not look like they are used to seeing them that you didn't go short enough.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to fix it if they want it short. Nothing you can do to minimize it. Just make sure the blending is done, it looks decent to the owner and let it go. 

If you can convince the owners to handstrip these dogs then you, as a groomer, will be happier with the results, but if you can't, you just have to learn to accept it for what it is. A dog with a funky coat and an owner who is happy with the results. That is really all that matters in the long run. 

 

 


Chloe's Story

This is Chloe’s story as reported to me. It is sad and I have to warn you, it is disturbing in so many ways it may make you totally rethink the way you operate your drying facility. It has me asking questions that I cannot answer about dryers in general. 
 
To begin with, on Sunday, January 31, 2010 I was checking my email when I saw a subject that made me do a double take. It read “Chloe, horribly burned at groomers”. Let’s just say that got my attention FAST. I opened it and was horrified at what I saw and read. Over the remainder of the afternoon I exchanged several more emails with the person who found my blog when researching burns on pets. After the incident, a friend of the family (the person who emailed me the story) came over and took photos for them and is assisting the family in dealing with this. She asked me to write the story and inform groomers of the incident, as she has decided this should never happen to another dog. I agree 100% that it should never happen again, but I also feel like it should never have happened in the first place.
 
I am confident that this injury is legitimate and I am confident it didn’t have to happen. 
 
WARNING!!!  The photos below are GRAPHIC and are used with permission.
 
One day last week, Chloe, a rather small yorkie, was dropped off at a grooming salon that she usually goes to with no problem. Everything went according to plan as far as the owner knew. They picked up Chloe and she was groomed but she had a horrible odor they couldn't pinpoint. When they got home, they realized she was limping slightly, but she took off upstairs and ran under the bed before they could investigate further. A relative came by and went to retrieve her from under the bed and she yelped like something hurt. Upon further inspection they discovered an area of red dots that looked like pimples on her chest. She was not acting really sick, so they watched her. The spot got larger and weepy as time went on, and she got lethargic and refused food and water. At this point the family felt they needed to go to their vet. He was in surgery but advised they not wait and take her to the Emergency clinic.
 
She was diagnosed with a thermal burn. Here is the photo of the injury, a couple of days after the grooming. 
 
Chloe1
 
 
The only thing Chloe had done that day that would have caused this type of injury was go to the groomers. 
 
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What at a grooming shop could cause such a burn to occur you might ask? Simple: a heated cage dryer or a stand dryer that has heat being used as a cage dryer. These dryers have temperatures that reach up to 155 F according to the manufacturers and since that heat is enough to do severe damage to skin with short contact time, imagine what prolonged contact can do. Can you imagine being in a closed box with that type of heat being blown on your skin? I can't and I cannot understand why groomers still use this type of dryer!
 
The groomer was shown the photos by the family friend and was visibly shaken. They had no idea there was a problem with the groom. The thing to note is that according to my contact, the grooming, drying and bathing are all done in the same room at the shop in question. They do use heated cage dryers and it is believed that this is what caused the injury to Chloe. According to the shop owner Chloe never made a sound or acted like she was uncomfortable. 
 
I have a hard time believing that a dog would not make an effort to try to get away from a heat source that is burning their skin. You would imagine that at least as the burn was beginning to occur the dog would be whining, scratching or barking. After the burn set in deep in the tissue, pain would be diminished as nerve endings are damaged, but at the beginning, there are signs. Likely the signs were tuned out or ignored as a normal fussy dog. In this case that decision may result in deadly consequences.
 
Chloe is scheduled for her first surgery this week. They had to wait until she was stable to perform the surgery. From my experience with burns, they were likely also waiting for the skin to finish dieing off. She will likely need more surgery, and possibly skin grafts to cover the area damaged by the burn.
 
In Chloe’s case, I FIRMLY believe the burn could have been caused by a hot dryer used on a metal cage. The metal cage bottom gets hot and holds the heat that is being transferred to it from the heat dryer. It never cools off and transfers its heat into the dog’s skin. A yorkie, with thin hair, has no insulation from the heat and the skin damage caused is deep and traumatic. I have seen Vari Kennels melted from the heat of a dryer! Imagine what they can do to skin over time!
 
 I do not believe anyone WANTS to injure a pet, but when equipment is used incorrectly or by people not paying attention, injuries happen. A heated stand dryer (pointed into a cage and used as a cage dryer), or a cage dryer on Medium or High in an enclosed area creates an oven. Cages that are covered, surrounded or enclosed fit that bill. It is an accident waiting to happen.
 
Many groomers do not think that the dryers they are using can cause damage to the skin of the dogs. We need to rethink that position. We need to educate groomers and bathers to the dangers of the dryers we use daily. Unless we KNOW that they can kill, and either never use them or use them extremely carefully, then more dogs will get hurt or die as a result of their use.
 
In the next installment of this series I will discuss the way burns occur and then in the third installment we will discuss ways that heated dryers can be useful when used correctly and alternatives to them that are safer and more effective. I will also have an installment on what cage dryers actually ARE and when they become a problem because many people thing cage dryers are all equal and nothing could be further from the truth! 
 
My goal is to educate as many people as possible to the effects of these dryers in the hopes of another pet never having to go through this.  

Stop the Heated Dryer Madness!

I get emails from people around the country quite often about their pets who have been injured, and I always try to assist them in whatever way I can. Sometimes it is a simple accident, like a quicked nail, or a small irritation and I can calm them down and help them feel like it was really not a big deal and they are happy when they fully understand the problem. 

Then there are the rare exceptions, thank goodness, that contact me because of a major, horrific accident, like I detailed in Chloe’s story .

One such person is Bailey’s mom.

I have reprinted her first email to me with her permission and her name withheld. She did give me approval to list her area of Canada. I was shocked to say the least and wanted to share this with all of you and maybe help educate someone in the dangers of heated dryers and in what to do if you suspect a burn. Bailey, below, was burned at the grooming shop by a heated cage dryer 2 weeks ago. She is still dealing with major medical complications. Here is her Mom's email. 

 Oh My Debi,

 I just was fwd'ed your story about poor Chloe's story at the groomer.  We have just experienced almost the same incident here in Prince George, BC , Canada.

 Our dog Bailey, a coc-a-poo, went to the groomers on Aug 24, 2010 when I picked her up at 2:15, the groomer told me that there was a little incident and that she got a small burn....when I looked at her stomach, the whole belly area and the inside of her legs were black and purple. The groomer stated that the dog had a poop in the kennel and as such was sitting at the front of the kennel, obviously too close to the dryer and got burned. The groomer stated that she was in the kennel for about 15 minutes and was alerted to her situation when Bailey was panting really hard. 

 When I picked her up, I noticed that her burn was already oozing in a couple of places, and luckily I proceeded directly to our vet, where she was put on antibiotics and a few days later on pain medication as well. She has not had to be hospitalized up to this point, but we as a family are providing a lot of care for her and really having to work at making sure she is fed and hydrated, as her drive to eat and drink is not there.

 I am attaching a few pictures. Do you know if there are Canadian journals, magazines etc that I can get in touch with to share my story so the word gets out there? Here in BC there does not seem to be any regulations around grooming facilities. I just do not want this to happen to another dog. The groomer that we dealt with refuses to look at the pictures, we have offered a few times and she has declined. She is not wanting to take responsibility and learn from this unfortunate incident. We are very, very upset with the situation and how the groomer is handling it.

 Sincerely,

(name removed)

Prince George, BC Canada

 I find it absolutely repugnant that a groomer who KNEW the dog was injured failed to seek medical attention for that dog. I really find it horrible that the dryer industry continuously ignores the problem and continues to make dryer that get hot enough to cause this damage. Follow up emails have stated the groomer will not look at the photos and admits no fault in the case. 

Remember the quote from above that reads: "The groomer stated that the dog had a poop in the kennel and as such was sitting at the front of the kennel, obviously too close to the dryer and got burned. The groomer stated that she was in the kennel for about 15 minutes and was alerted to her situation when Bailey was panting really hard". If the dog was indeed left with feces in the kennel it was not acceptable. If you have a dog have an accident clean it up! If the dog was indeed in the kennel for only 15 minutes then that dryer must have been extremely close and extremely HOT to do that kind of damage. 

If this happens in your shop, you are obligated to seek medical attention and to pay medical bills regarding the situation. PERIOD. If you are using heated dryers hanging on kennels, you need to be extremely careful in how hot they are, how long you leave them in place and what type of cage bottoms you have. I have said it before and it bears repeating. NEVER use them on metal pans!  Never use them in covered or solid sided cages, and never use them on high. Those things help make them safer. They are not, however, safe 100% in any case. there are several articles in this blog that discuss how to use them safely.

 Here are the pictures I have so far.

 WARNING! GRAPHIC!

Bailey

the picture above was taken immediately after she got home, and immediately after seeing the vet.

Immediatley after vet visit


 

Bailey 3

Bailey 6

In my opinion, this groomer is negligent and should be dealt with accordingly, if for no other reason that she failed to seek immediate medical attention for a condition that was noticeable at pick up. 

I feel the dryer companies are negligent in that they continue to make dryers capable of this type of injury despite numerous burns occuring every year.

We have to do something to stop this madness! Banning cage dryers is not an option nor do I think it is a good idea, but I do think that dryers with safety switches, mandatory ten minute timers, and heat regulators that prevent them from putting out that much heat in the first place are all valid ideas that the industry has so far ignored. 

How many more dogs have to suffer like Chloe and Bailey before this stops? Please do your part and make sure that IF you are using a heated cage dryer make sure you understand how it works and be safe about it! In my opinion, a cage dryer should have no heating element. I know not everyone agrees with me, but there is truly no reason for using a heated dryer on a dog in a cage. This is one of the things lacking in our industry. Safety controls on the manufacture of our equipment! Add to that we lack EDUCATION on how to use the equipment safely and correctly.

Until groomers start accepting responsibility for accidents and using equipment safely and in a way that makes sense, these types of accidents will continue to happen. Sadly there is no way to explain to a parent or a pet that is injured or one that has died as a result of groomer negligence, that nothing is being done to stop it from happening again. I am doing everything I can to spread the word. PLEASE spread the word yourself to everyone you know.

 


Clean, Disinfect and Sterilize

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Like many of you I am a member of several online forums. I have noticed that there is a huge amount of confusion about these three words:Clean, Disinfect and Sterilize.

Many people use them interchangably and yet they are not by any stretch interchangable. They each have a place in our industry and each has a definate definition attached to it.

Let's face it. We all want a clean, sanitary environment for our pets we care for and yet we all go about this differently. Understanding the differences in these words will make it easier for you to decide what to use in your shop to acheive what level of disinfection you are comfortable with.

Let's start with CLEAN. From the dictionary: To be free of dirt, marks or harmful materials.

Usually when an item is cleaned, soap or detergent is used in conjunction with water and/or a brush or cloth to remove unwanted materials from its surface. For example: Snap on combs, brushed, combs, blades, shears and nail trimmers can be cleaned with soapy water and rinse off. That will remove dirt, dander, blood, sebum, shampoo and conditioner residue, styling aids, etc. from their surfaces. This is a process that needs to be done routinely.

It is also NECCESARY to clean items before disinfecting them! 

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Disinfecting by definition: the killing of most microbial life that can lead to infection in humans—such as Influenza, Staphylococcus, HIV/AIDS, Herpes, Salmonella and Hepatitis. This can be acheived by using a chemical disinfectant or a tool like a UV sanitizer. 

It is almost impossible to disinfect or sanitize a dirty item. You can kill the germs involved but you will still have dirt, grime and the like if you do not clean the items first.

I see all the time where people say they use Barbicide to clean. Well, no, you didn't. It is NOT a cleaner! It is, according to it's own website FAQ section a disinfectant to be used AFTER cleaning. From the lable:

BEAUTY/BARBER
INSTRUMENTS AND TOOLS: Thoroughly clean brushes,
combs, clipper blades, shears, razors, and other
inanimate hard surfaced non-porous tools and implements
prior to complete immersion for 10 minutes (or as required
by local authorities) in a solution as prepared above.

 If you fail to clean the items first you are not effectively disinfecting your tools. 

Now, I am not a fan of Barbicide. I know it can damage our equipment, especially non stainless metals. I use a cleansing alcohol and peroxide to disinfect my equipment. I wash everything off in soapy water, quite often in my tub after a day of grooming using my left over shampoo. Rinse, Dry. Then spray with alcohol. In between dogs, I remove hair and spritz with my alcohol.

NOW we have the word STERILIZE. In most cases this term DOES NOT apply to grooming tools. When an item is sterlized, generally cold or heat autoclave units are used. They are used to kill 100% of all organic micro organisms. This is needed in surgical situations but it is not needed nor is it practical in grooming tools. Once an item is removed from a sterile packet or uv sterlizer, it is no longer sterile. 

Since we are not using our tools inside an animal there is no reason to sterilize our equipment. 

Another issue I see all the time is people not using their disinfectants correctly. You cannot simply spray a surface down and wipe it off. You MUST allow it to stay in contact (wet) with the cleaned surface for the amount of time specified on the lable of the product. Barbicide states a ten mi nute contact is needed. Bleach usually kills many things on contact but for stubborn bacteria and viruses it takes ten minutes. Parvasol? Ten minutes. Chlorhexidine? 15 minutes. Nolvasan? Again 15 minutes. 

I have even seen vets spray down a table, wipe it down and then get upset when I put my own towel down but I do it anyway. I just dont trust their cleaning!

Now, Peroxide based disinfectants are faster. 30 seconds to one minute! Alcohol requires ten minutes. 

If you simply spray and then dry with a cloth you are accomplishing nothing. You must allow the surface to stay wet for the required time or you are not actually disinfecting.

If you do not clean the items first you are wasting your time.

Make sure you are actually disinfecting items correctly! Otherwise you are not only wasting time and money but you could be spreading illnesses and that is not what we want to do!

 


Learn from my Mistake!

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I go to Intergroom in New Jersy almost every year. I enjoy that show tremendously and I love taking a tour into NYC while we are there. I try to do that every time we go to visit a landmark, or museum, and this year was no exception.

My husband went with me and we decided that since he had not been to the Statue of Liberty in over 50 years it was time for him to revisit and see what had changed. We went to Ellis Island even though we knew the full museum wasn't open yet after the damage from Hurricane Sandy, and were planning on going to the Statue of Liberty and had pedestal access tickets bought.

Well, it was colder than we expected and so when we got to Liberty Island we went right to the gift shop to see if we could get a hoodie or sweatshirt because we were turning into popsicles!

Well, while we were in the gift shop I decided to look at our tickets to see if there was a time we were supposed to be at the statue and realized my wallet was gone from my purse.

GONE.

After a brief moment of panic, I looked at my husband to see if he had it and then after realizing he didn't we discussed where I had seen it last. I had seen it at Ellis Island when getting my camera out to take a picture out of a window in the reception hall. 

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SO we stood in line for the ferry and went back to Ellis Island hoping against hope that my wallet had been found and turned in.

I was so upset. There was no cash in it thankfully, but it had both my GA ID and my DL, my voter ID card, my SS card and three of my four debit cards, my personal check book and 4 business checks. My health insurance information and my concealed carry permit were also in there. I was beginning to realize how much deep doo doo I was in when we got off the ferry. Reality was setting in big time.

No one had turned it in and it had been about an hour. I checked every account and not one of them had been used (or attempted to be used) so I was feeling better. We filled out a park police report for the wallet and gave them my cell phone number should it turn up.

We talked to the crew of the ferry who had found one wallet but it wasn't mine.

We went BACK to Liberty Island and filed a report there with the park police as well. I transferred all the money from my business account into my personal account and proceeded to call the bank and cancel the cards that were in my wallet and logged into PayPal to cancel my card there as well. While we ate lunch we made all those calls. It was not a fun way to spend time with Lady Liberty! 

We had left one debit card in GA with my sone (i do that all the time when I travel) and it was a linked account to my business card which was lost with my wallet. Chuck also had his PayPal Debit card in his pocket. So my son was able to get us money from my personal account and go to Dollar General and get a PayPal reload card and put money on it so that we would be able to get home.

We headed back to Intergroom and got there just in time to see the awards for Sporting. My dogs who were being used didn't place, but since we were having such a bad day that was ok. They both looked fabulous.

We decided to head home the next day rather than stick around since we were now extremely tight on money when we were not expecting to be. I worked out in my head what i needed to do to get my ID replaced once I got home and it was going to be a big problem since my SS card was in my wallet and GA has tightened its requirements to get a new ID. I was worried about how long I would be without a drivers license and with no ID I couldnt unfreeze my bank account.

Monday  Morning my son called me and was a bit giddy which is funny for him. turns out my wallet HAD been found at Ellis Island and instead of calling my cell phone they called my SHOP in Sunday morning while I was still packing up my car. I could have gone to Ellis Island to get it if they had simply called the number on the police report, but they hadn't. I was utterly relieved that they said everything seemed to be in place except cash, and I laughed because there was no cash to begin with.

I relaxed big time for the rest of the ride home.

The park service did return my wallet to me via overnight FedEx.

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NOW the reason I wrote this is to share with you what I have learned about protecting myself against this type of thing from happening again.

#1 NEVER carry everything with you when you go sightseeing! Leave everything except a picture ID and ONE debit card in your hotel room. I usually do that but for some reason I chose not to that day. In fact, in the car I was thinking, you really should leave your purse here and only take what you NEED but didn;t listen to that inner voice.

#2 NEVER EVER EVER carry your SS card in your wallet! You will need it if you lose your DL or ID to get a new one. 

#3 If your state allows you to have both and ID and a DL, then get BOTH and keep the ID in a security box at your home or your office. Put your state issued photo id with a certified copy of your birth certificate and ss card in a secure location and you will have photo and legal ID should you need it. Mine are NOW in an envelope in a lock box at the grooming shop along with copies of my voter ID card and my weapons permit. 

#4 If you have to carry a purse carry a crossover bag with a built in wallet. That way you are not likely to knock your wallet out when taking out your phone or camera (like I did).

This is the type of bag I am referring to:

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#5 ALWAYS have a debit card with someone at home so that if you lose your debit card someone can access money for you.

#6 Paypal or prepaid debits cards will save your life in a situation like this, so make sure you have one or both in your possession. I keep a prepaid card that I don't use in my glove compartment for just this type of emergency. If I had been by myslef my son could have put money on my prepaid card.

#7 keep checks OUT of the wallet! If you have checks in your wallet and lose it then your bank is going to freeze the account and you will not have access to money until you can go into a branch and prove you are who you say you are....which is hard to do when you have no ID because you lost your wallet.

#8, make sure you have an ICE (in case of emergency) card filled out in your wallet along with your cell phone number, just in case the national park service finds your wallet and needs to get in touch with you.

#9, keep a copy of your debit cards in a secure location or at least the numbers and expiration date. When we called to cancel our WellsFargo card we had to have that number to cancel it and since we didn't have it we had to have other information, like the last deposit and the last PIN transaction as well as other information.

#10 VERIFY that your cards were actually CANCELLED! We found out ten days later that WF had not cancelled our card when we called to find out why we had not yet gotten a replacement. We would have been in a world of hurt if the wallet had been stolen and not found by the park service!

Hopefully you will never have this happen, but if you do and you have listened to me, you will be able to replace everything much faster and easier with your ID and SS card in a safe secure place.

Next time I go to NYC we have to go back to the Statue of Liberty because Chuck still hasn't been into the statue in over 50 years....but you can bet your sweet bippy my wallet will not go along for the ride! It spent way more time there than we did. 


Miracle in Sierra Vista

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When I was a very young child, I had an affinity for animals. My grandmother used to tell a story about me washing a newborn kitten in the well water from the spigot in the yard when I was about 2. I had dogs my whole life and had wanted to groom them myself but my mother was against it. I even did a working job interview with a groomer who said I was too slow (isn't that funny knowing that today I teach groomers to be fast!). My groomer even told me that unless I learned to groom I would never be happy with anyone who groomed my dog and suggested I “just get a book” and learn to groom. I knew there was more to it than that. So I put the idea in the back of my head and went on raising kids and working at a job that I was good at but didn’t truly love doing.

1994 was a bad year for me. My husband of 13 years and I were divorcing (finalized in February) and my life was disintegrating. I had been a military brat or wife for my entire life. That was suddenly over and I had no idea what I was going to do next. I was working as a merchandiser with Hershey Chocolate and at the base commissary. It was a fair living. I managed to make it on my own and was beginning to feel like I might be able to do this after all. I mean I had three small kids and taking care of them with minimal child support and no help (my ex-husband was transferred to another state across country) and two part time jobs. I was tired and working my behind off. I took on two more part time jobs to help. My kids went with me every time they could on my paper route (it was a good job!) and I was able to replace my Hershey route which kept me on the road all the time, with this newspaper route, and that made my life a bit easier.

June of that year is when my life completely fell apart however. My kids went to their father’s house for the summer. I had primary physical custody but we shared joint legal custody.

While they were there I decided to move from my home in Massachusetts to my parent’s home in Georgia. I felt like having more support was going to be a good thing and the cost of living in the area was so much less that I thought it was the right thing to do. I was able to get a job at the local supermarket immediately and living at my parent’s house was saving me lots of money. Things were looking up. We had the house all set up for the kids. I had even gotten their school records transferred to the school in Georgia.

 In August my ex-husband informed me that the kids would NOT be coming back to my house for the fall. I was apparently useless and was failing miserably at taking care of them. He could do it better. My life fell apart. I could not function. I lost my job. My parents did everything they could do to help me get the kids back but the state of Arizona was not willing to help me enforce my divorce decree from MA because no one had ever filed the decree in another state (me in Ga nor he in AZ). I spent weeks crying myself to sleep and trying to figure out what to do. I got another job, but my heart wasn’t in it.

I continued working that job and took over my father’s job after he had a major heart attack. I was working his job delivering papers and my job, trying to keep the house afloat and I was stressed out as much as I could be. It was a bad 6 months. I made my car payments and kept the household bills paid, but wasn’t getting anywhere with legal fees to get my kids back.

Then my boyfriend at the time, who had moved with me from MA to GA suggested I go to AZ to get the kids back. He was moving back to MA because he was miserable in GA away from his family and I decided it made sense. My ex wanted the van that we had bought right at the end of our marriage back and I knew the only way to see my kids again was to go to AZ. It was now March of 1995.

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I bought (and please don’t laugh) a wonderful, fabulous condition 1968 VW camper van for $550 from a pastor in Sylvester GA. I named her Daisy and my dad and I rebuilt her engine. I drove her to AZ and my mother came with me in the van that my ex-husband was demanding back. She flew back to GA after visiting with the kids whom she had helped raise for two days. It was very hard for her to leave but she went back to her life in GA and I stayed in AZ to try to rebuild mine.

My parents were kind enough to loan me $3000 to restart my life in AZ. So I got a studio apartment. Paid the rent for three months and set out looking for a job. There was nothing in my filed of work that I had done for the last 6 or 7 years (merchandising) anywhere in Sierra Vista. I spent a month living off the money my parents had given me. I spent as much time as I could with my children. This was in May of 1995.

I had been to the labor department and put in applications there (that is where most of the work advertisements were) and one of them was for a dog groomer trainee at a local kennel. I never heard back. This will be important later in the story I promise!

I finally found a job driving a cab. In a town and area I knew nothing about. I got lost a lot. I made good friends. I kept looking for more work elsewhere because it was not as much income as I needed it to be. I worked overnight most nights and while there was a steady bar crowd I was still barely making ends meet. Because I was paid daily in cash I could not even apply for food stamps or assistance of any kind. 

I met a local tattoo artist driving that cab, Johnny Ray Rogers at the Enchanted Dragon. I am not really sure how it happened but I had been wandering around some galleries in Tucson one day killing time while waiting on an airplane to land so I could pick up a fare that had pre-booked to Sierra Vista. I saw a wonderful Dream Catcher that was not round or oval, but was made with twigs. The story of the Dream Catcher was there as well and it was the first time I had seen it. I was overwhelmed with a desperate desire to have a Dream Catcher tattoo done and he designed it exactly as I had envisioned it and I used the last of the money I had from my parents on that tattoo. Not the smartest thing I could have ever done, I agree, but it was something I had to do and I could not quite figure out why. Little did I know that tattoo was going to be the start of wonderful change in my life.

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I lost my job as a cab driver because my ex-husband was so demanding. He was calling the dispatcher, pulling me off the road to have discussions over things that were really not that important. I was then upset and had to turn in the cab. This happened several times and it became such a problem that I had to find another job. I got another job with another cab company. He tried the same thing with them, but the dispatcher backed me up and refused to pull me unless it was a true emergency.

In the meantime, my lease was up on my apartment and I was trying to find another place to rent because I could not afford that apartment any more. While looking for a new apartment my VW van started having fuel line issues. The fuel line would come loose and splash gasoline all over the engine. It always resulted in a small explosion. Well, we all know that is not good right???

SO one Monday when I had the day off completely I took my kids and we went to get the van looked at in Bisbee, which is about 30 miles away. They had the best VW garage in the area there and they knew Daisy and also worked with me because they knew I had very little cash.

We were almost at the top of the mountain when traffic came to a standstill. There was a blasting crew there working on widening the road.

I felt my heart racing and I was thinking, don’t stall, don’t stall, don’t stall.

Well, she did. And this time the explosion turned into a fire. I was able to pull her to the side of the road and get the kids out. The blasting crew DID NOT have a fire extinguisher. I did but the police officer that was there directing traffic refused to let me back into the van to get it so all we could do was sit there and watch as my wonderful, beautiful van burned while the supervisor headed down the mountain to get a fire extinguisher. The damage was bad, but she did live to see another day.

Needless to say I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do. I was crying the entire way back to Sierra Vista in the front seat of the police car while the kids sat laughing and carrying on in the back seat. They thought it was funny. I thought it was the end of my world.

I made up my mind on the way back to my apartment that I was going to go home. Back to GA. I was going to call my mother to get more money to rent a vehicle and drive home with the children. My phone had been disconnected the day before because I could not afford to have it any more, so we went down to the courtyard of the apartment complex where there was a bank of payphones so that I could make a collect call to my mother.

I put a quarter in the first phone. It fell straight through. I tried the next one and it was blocked with a Mexican coin and wouldn’t eject it. The next one took my quarter but did not work. No dial tone. At this point I almost gave in and went back upstairs to rethink, but the nearest payphone was about 4 blocks away and so we decided to walk to the corner store and use that phone. My kids and I headed off, kids singing and laughing, me trying hard not to cry. I was not sure my parents were going to help me again, but I had to try. There was nothing else I could do.

I don’t think we had gotten a half block down the road when a white truck from a pest control company pulled in behind me screeching to a stop. I was scared to be honest with you. I could NOT imagine what was happening but with the day I had had I was expecting the worst (even though I had no idea what that could be). Someone grabbed me from behind, spun me around and hugged me screaming “DEBI ZEHMISCH! WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?”  

It was Larry D. (name left out to protect the innocent) a man I had known at Fort Devens MA. We had worked together on community government and had been friends. What the heck was he doing in Sierra Vista???

He was dating a woman named Carol H. (name left out to protect the guilty). She owned a place called Liberty Kennels. They had a job opening and a trailer home on the property for rent. It was the place I had applied for a job at months before. Apparently the Labor Department had given them a wrong number for me.

Needless to say I didn’t call my mom. I didn’t come back to GA right then. I moved into their mobile home and continued driving a cab at night and working in the kennel during the morning, scrubbing runs and taking care of boarders and the owners show dogs, while attending their “grooming school” during the day.

I learned a lot there about what not to do. About what animal abuse is and what I did not want to do in my own life. But I also learned a great deal about grooming. I got a great foundation in this wonderful career. We often didn’t have lights, phone or shampoo because Carol couldn’t pay the bills. We didn’t have equipment that I now consider critical to grooming, like force dryers. What we did have was a tremendous teacher who saw something in me. She told me I was going to be better than her one day. I learned a lot about safe handling from that teacher. About grooming techniques that I still use today. About patterns and breed profiles.

One day at Lunch I got someone else’s paycheck. There were two Debi’s and I got the kennel helps check. She was making almost $5 more per hour that I was. Carol told me that until I could groom ten dogs a day I was not getting a pay raise. I was making $5.75 an hour as a g roomer and the girl cleaning the kennels was making $11 an hour! It wasn’t enough to live on. In fact I couldn’t pay my rent and my boss was my landlord! My electricity was currently cut off because I could not pay the bill. I had my phone reconnected and I called my mother. I must have sounded horrible as I begged her to send me $300 so that I could drive home to GA. She agreed. I packed everything I could possibly pack into and on top of my new (to me) Eagle station wagon and loaded four cocker spaniels and three kids into it.

It was two weeks before Christmas, 1995.

We left for home that night. I have been working as a groomer continually ever since that night.

So I fully believe the dream catcher caught a dream I never knew I had and helped me make it a reality in a trial by fire.

It was a miracle of impossible circumstances that have led me to where I am today. I can still to this day remember my ex-husband say to me “you are fat, ugly, repulsive and no one would ever want anything to do with you! You will never amount to anything!”

Well…. My kids and I have never looked back. And if this is what you call amounting to nothing, I will take it! I have a great , successful shop, a wonderful husband and a blog that people apparently love to read. I am successful in what I love to do.

And by the way the dogs don’t care if I am fat or ugly. They love me. And I love them.


Doormats to Tyrants

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I was having a conversation with my friend Daryl Conner several years ago and we were discussing how groomers had changed over the years. She made a comment that has stayed with me to this day. 

"When did groomers go from being doormats to being tyrants?" she asked. 

I have thought about this many times over the years. I am active on many online forums and several FaceBook groups and I hear things all the time that make this statement pop back into my head.

I have made up these definitions of doormat groomers and tyrant groomers.  

Doormat groomers allow clients to decide when they are coming in and what time they are picking up even if it doesn’t work well for the groomer. They allow clients to dictate what type of haircut the dog will get, even to the point of dematting dogs that should be shaved. They take every dog that calls or walks in even if it means they are working late every day or not getting a lunch break because they are afraid to say NO to anyone. They really allow clients to walk over them and never explain why it is an issue. Usually a doormat groomer will burn out in a few years and leave the industry. Sad really but it happens all the time. The clients of a doormat groomer continue to do these things because they are allowed to and are never educated as to why what they are doing is a problem.

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Tyrant groomers have rules for everything and have no flexibility. Set appointment times with no room for wiggle, and often have extra charges for every little thing. Rules about everything from when to come in and pick up to how the dogs will be groomed (YES some groomers dictate what the haircut will be on client dogs based on what they will and will not do). Groomers who fall into this category think they are more important than the client and have quite often lost sight of the fact that we are in a service industry. It is their way or the highway and while they may still be successful they are often struggling to keep slots filled and have a hard time adding new clients, especially if there are more flexible shops around. 

I have to tell you that I was a bad client for my groomer before I became a groomer. I didn't understand that I was a bad client. I did not understand how this business works, and as a result I find NOW that I was rude, a PITA client and was demanding. I didn't mean to be all of those things but I was.

My groomer was a doormat in retrospect. He let me get away with things that caused him problems.

I called last minute, mostly because my job didn't allow me to know what my schedule was until the day of usually, and if he couldn't get her in I would go elsewhere. 

I often would book appointments and then fail to show up. Not intentionally. I was a single mom, worked two jobs and sometimes I just couldn't work the dog's haircut into my schedule. Often I wouldn’t remember until I got home and she was still stinky. It never once occurred to me to call Stephen and tell him I wasn’t going to make it. I bet I was on his "I will believe she’s coming when I see her walk in the door"  list. (I have one of those and I bet most groomers do.)

I sometimes forgot to pick up my dog! I worked for Hershey Chocolate and I was on the road. I might be 100 miles away from home when it was time for him to close. Nothing I could do, so I paid a lot of boarding fees let me tell you!

I would talk and talk at drop off or pick up. There was a person sitting at the desk and it never once occurred to me that it was a problem. I meant he wasn't doing anything but sitting there. Other people were working in the back. I didn’t know he needed to be back there working too and he never said anything.

WHY did it not occur to me that this was a problem? Because my groomer never made it clear to me it was a problem! Instead, when I apologized, he would say "It's FINE" and then we repeated the cycle the next groom. I have apologized to him since I became a groomer. I called him and he remembered me (not a good sign fifteen years later). I asked him why he didn't tell me imy behavior was an issue he said "That's just not the kind of groomer I am".

I think that his attitude has affected my policies at work and my attitude towards my clients is much different than many other groomer's  attitudes because I was a client for years before I became a groomer.

I understand what clients don't understand because I didn't understand as a client.

Many people get upset when clients call last minute, walk in without appointments, cancel at the last minute, don't call to cancel, leave dogs after they are done or show up early to pick up their pets. The groomers in some cases truly believe that the client is doing it deliberately, with no care in the world that it is an issue for the groomer. Tyrant groomers will not allow these things to continue. They will fire a client the first or second time it happens and the client is left standing there saying to themselves, "I didn't know it was a problem!" and looking for a new groomer where they will likely repeat the same behavior. A doormat groomer will allow things to happen and then complain later, and it will happen again and again. Both types of groomers usually think it is being done deliberatley.

I am here to tell you that clients do the things they do because they DO NOT KNOW that what they are doing is a problem. They have no idea that you lose money if they don't show up for an appointment. Many times they think that you get paid by the hour, like most of them do. They honestly don't think in those terms. They are so enveloped in their own lives and daily activities that it never occurs to them that there are not others waiting to take their spot. The fact that you don't get paid if you don't groom never crosses their minds.

Pet owners are unaware of how the daily schedule is set up and they do not understand how long it takes to groom or bathe a dog either. They just know that you do that for them and they pay you to do it. That is why they do the things they do. It's not because they are trying to be difficult. They simply do not know any better!

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But what I have decided based on my experience in life is that I want to be a WELCOME MAT groomer! I want to serve my client’s needs but not let them walk all over me. I have a policy letter that all new clients are given and I have it on my webpage as well (the link is above). I have a range of drop off times and will work with a client to make a time that works for them. We have a 2.5 hour window for drop offs and we try our best to have dogs done when it is convenient for the client without stressing ourselves. I do not force clients to come in and pick up immediately upon completion unless it's a dog that stresses and the owner is available.

I take on puppies. I groom old dogs. I deal with a lot of elderly clients, picking up and delivering for those that need it but charging for it. I demat within reason but if it's not possible I educate as to WHY it's not something that can be done. I do not do a lot of add-ons. If it needs doing it gets done. 

Does that mean I don't have rules? NO! I do. But they are easy to follow and consistent. They do not change. I have them in writing and I make sure that my clients have a copy.

By being clear with clients and setting boundaries I have been able to build a busy, successful business that is generally busy year round and we are growing every year.

By identifying what type of groomer you are and educating your clients as to what you expect from them, you can eliminate a lot of the problems that clients unwittingly cause, and change your reaction to it. You will be happier when most of the anger and frustration caused by pet owners not following rules is out of your day to day life. I still get frustrated sometimes when clients are later than we agreed or change their appointments numerous times, but it's less at this time in my career than at any other time I have ever experienced.

By working with my clients instead of against them I have made my life (and theirs) easier and I love grooming!


Part Two of My Certification Series: Cat Certification

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It can be very hard to decide which group is the best for you and your needs, so I am trying to help you figure out which group is best for you if you decide you want to certify or just gain more knowledge and get training in a niche of grooming that you may have no experience with.

I am giving each certification group a chance to tell you all about themselves in their own words. The first of these "selling stories" as I would call them are about the cat organizations.

 

PCGAA

Daryl Conner provided this about the Professional Cat Groomers Association of America:

The PCGAA was founded by groomers, for groomers. We are a warm, friendly, welcoming and supportive group of people passionate about providing safe, compassionate handling for felines. 

 
Knowing how hard groomers work for their money, we offer economical fees for membership and certification. 

Tests may be taken at your own pace, in your home town with the use of a proctor.  (A proctor is someone like a teacher, librarian or other professional person who will be willing to recieve your exams, monitor test taking and send them in for grading.) Tests have no expiration date, and you maintain your certification simply by paying your annual membership dues (currently $20.00.) 

Our study guides were written by a collaboration of industry professionals, including a veterinarian.  Some of our instructors will travel to your location if you desire training, others offer one on one lessons in their shops. 

Practical exams may be filmed in your own work space, using your own tools, and uploaded for grading. 

We practice kind, practical grooming integrating holistic care whenever possible to support the cats physical, mental and emotional needs.  

You can find out more by visiting the PCGAA web site.

Ncgia

Danelle German provided this (written by by Liz Johnson) concerning National Cat Groomers Institute of America, Inc:

National Cat Groomers Institute of America, Inc.

 The National Cat Groomer Institute is devoted to maintaining a standard of excellence in the art of feline grooming worldwide.  The association was founded in 2007 by Danelle German, industry author and speaker, in response to the need for a membership and certification organization specializing in feline grooming.  The NCGIA currently consists of hundreds of members around the globe, varying from those who occasionally groom cats to Certified Feline Master Groomers™  (CFMGs), some with combined dog/cat grooming businesses and some with a feline exclusive clientele.  All NCGIA members share one key characteristic: a desire to groom cats and to learn how to do so safely and effectively.  

The CFMG certification process requires the passing of nine exams (4 written exams and 5 practical exams) as well as completion of an approved feline first aid/CPR course.  

In order for a CFMG to be knowledgeable in interactions with clients, ensure the safety of the cat, and grow a profitable business, the written exams cover the following topics: Temperament and Handling, Breeds, Colors and Genetics, Health and Anatomy, and Business Management.  Practical exams cover a number of key grooming techniques combined into 5 basic grooming styles: the Lion Cut, Lion Cut Variation, Comb Cut, Long Hair Full Coat Groom, and Short Hair Full Coat Groom. Those taking certification exams are graded on various aspects such as handling skills, safety for cat and groomer, neatness of lines, smoothness of finish, and balance and symmetry of groom.  Because timing is so critical when working with cats, consideration is not only given to neatness and precision on the final groom, but also to working in a safe and efficient manner. 

To prepare students for exams, the National Cat Groomers School provides high quality, focused instruction in the art of feline grooming.  The school is the first and only feline-exclusive grooming school in the world, offering 2-week long school sessions as well as workshops throughout the year.  NCGIA students have come from all levels of experience, from beginners to well known industry professionals. 

Although school attendance is not required for certification, the overwhelming majority of CFMGs (98%) opt for training through the 2-week course as the school aids tremendously in the endeavor of certification. Certification during the 2-week program is completely optional. The goal of the National Cat Groomers School is to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of cat grooming combined with the business savvy needed to grow a successful business.    

You can find out more about the NCGIA by going to their website.

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Both organizations offer webinars, certification programs, cat grooming schools, educational opportunties at shows and in private situations. Videos, book material and much more is offered by both groups. 

Hopefully choosing the right organization for you just got a lot easier. Both groups offer a lot of information and education for their money. 

If you have no training in grooming cats and yet are interested one of these groups may be just what you are searching for!


Who knew???

Something strange happened to me today at work and I wanted to share it with you because it’s something that might affect all of you at some point in time.

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One of my groomers was wearing a pair of sneakers that were brand-new, and I noticed that they were collecting hair on the bottom so bad that it was tracking through the entire shop when he would walk from one room to the other. Apparently he had worn them a couple of times this week and I just hadn’t noticed. In fact now a comment that the AG Department inspector made when he came to inspect makes a lot of sense to me; “There is hair everywhere in the shop!”

It turns out they had felt built into the bottom of them. Yes, they had a rubber soul like you would expect but there was felt in the middle of the footpad and even on the heel.

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I’m not some experience with issues from before because my daughter has bought some flat shoes at Payless before that had them, so I know how much hair they collect as she used to work the front desk for me. What I didn’t realize until today is how dangerous they can be!

My groomer was sliding everywhere. He would clean off the bottom of the shoes take two steps and have the bottoms covered again. He actually said  “I think I’m going to break my neck in these!” So I decided that a blog entry on what to look for in the soles of the shoe before buying it was a really good idea.

What I learned actually makes me very glad I am doing this article. Not only are they slippery and dangerous to walk in, they are actually banned in several states on fishing boots and water waders. Who would’ve ever thought that that felt on the bottom of the shoes would be a health hazard?

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Felt bottom shoes have become popular with fishermen because they help grip better on slippery surfaces when they are wet. The problem is the felt never seems to dry out completely and it can transfer bacteria and fungi from one location to another. That is dangerous to the environment because it transfers illnesses that are isolated in one area to other areas where they are not present.

Since 2008 felt soled boots have been prohibited in New Zealand and various states in the United States are following suit: Maryland, Vermont, Alaska, Maine and Montana to name a few.

This got me thinking, which is a dangerous thing sometimes. In a grooming shop or a vet clinic this can be HIGHLY problematic because you could be tracking and parvo, distemper, or other illness that a dog or cat has and carry it from one part of your shop or clinic to another, possibly infecting other animals.

This is actually one of the hazards I never saw coming and had no idea was going to exist!

So what should you look for in choosing a pair of shoes to work in?

  • Rubber soles that are easily cleaned
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  • slip resistant soles are always a good idea
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  • low-profile soles with little decoration
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  • shallow ripples or small nubs tend to work much better than deeper ones that can grab hair 100_0887

  • surfaces that can be disinfected easily
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  • really good support

I have actually had sneakers that before that I purchased two groom in that I couldn’t groom in because they were very, very flexible and the grooves in the bottom were very deep. Very deep grooves will trap just as much hair as felt will. If the bottom of the shoe is to smooth it will also slide across the top of the hair rather than grip the floor. So look for something with a little bit of traction on the bottom that’s not very high profile.

If you work at a vet clinic is extremely important that you be able to disinfect your shoes by either stepping in a bleach solution or spraying it with some type of disinfectant before you leave, and often times before you go into another room. One of the clinics I serviced had a parvo  room and every time you went in and every time you went out you bleached your shoes. If nothing else you going to be spraying disinfectant on the bottoms and they need to be sturdy enough to handle it.

Even in a grooming shop it’s not a bad idea to disinfect your shoes before leaving and even when coming into the building. If you are around animal waste as in a boarding Kennel it can be critical to disinfect your shoes. Cheap shoes won’t stand up to disinfecting well so make sure you spend some money and get a good pair.

It’s just good sanitation to make sure your shoes are clean and cleanable! So it’s not just about safety it’s about health as well. Shoes with felt on the bottom cannot be sanitized and therefore have no place in the grooming shop or vet clinic in my opinion.

So next time you’re shopping for shoes don’t just look at the bottom price look at the bottom of the shoe! It may very well save you from injury and the lives of the dogs (or fish) you come into contact with may well be at risk if you don’t.

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WHO KNEW?????