Mobile Grooming

"Food" For Thought

As many of you may know I have developed a pulmonary condition over the course of my grooming career. Some refer to it as “groomers lung” while the diagnosis for my condition  is bronchiectasis. I have suffered for many years with this condition of a chronic cough that never lets up. It is physically and mentally draining and incapacitating  in so many ways. Daily use of inhalers, nebulizers as well as frequent courses of antibiotics is the norm.  I honestly felt that this disease was going to be the death of me. While traveling and presenting seminars I would withdraw from using inhalers to suppress the cough just so I could get through the day. Not the smartest thing to do as suppressing the cough could lead to lung infections. However, it was the only way I could get through a presentation without coughing constantly.

While on Facebook one day an ad came up about “juicing”. I started to do a little research and the one thing that caught my eye was a list of vegetable and greens that could improve lung function. So I thought it was worth a shot. At this point I would do anything to help this condition. So on November 1st, 2016 I went out and bought a juicer and a book “Reboot with Joe”. I posted many of my juices on Facebook, which I’m sure many of you have seen. I was really enjoying it and playing around with different ingredients.  In January I started to lose some weight. I started to have more energy and felt overall in better health.

February rolled around and I noticed that I wasn’t coughing half as much. It was hard to believe. Once in a while I would have a period of time that was better than others so I assumed it would start up again any day. Here we are into March and I am not coughing at all! Could this be the new norm? I don’t know and only time will tell. However, I still take my inhaler in the morning just in case. If anyone is taking inhalers you know that it opens up your airways. For me this meant that within an hour I would be coughing up all kinds of mucus. Now, when I take my inhaler I don’t cough at all.

I only have a juice in the morning. It always consists of some sort of combination of apples, blueberries, melon, carrots, sweet potatoes , lemon, spinach, kale, beets, celery and cucumber.  I keep the fruit to a minimum as it is high is sugar. I have also changed my diet dramatically. I cut out all sugar, carbs, breads, meat, processed foods and dairy. Although, I do treat myself now and again but I try to stick to it 90% of the time. I don't consider myself a vegetarian or a vegan, just eating healthier.  Is it difficult? No, not when I am seeing the results. It is worth it to me!

New studies reveal that lung tissue can be regenerated by increasing vitamin A levels and adding beta-carotene and leafy greens to your diet.  I have been juicing 6 carrots every day since I started along with spinach and kale at least every other day. This is crazy!

I am almost afraid to publish this in fear of jinxing myself. However, all I know is that I feel like a new person.  I forgot what it was like to not have a cough. I will continue to juice every morning as I feel that it is helping my condition and I feel fantastic!

I highly recommend watching the documentary "Forks Over Knives" on Netflix. It really made me think twice about my eating habits.

Cheers to a healthier lifestyle!

 


THE STRUGGLE IS REAL...PROTECT YOUR HEALTH

After countless private messages and comments of concern on my recent Facebook post, I decided to share my story in hopes that I can spread awareness of the occupational health hazards that can affect groomers.

After grooming for about one year I decided to become a mobile groomer. Within the first year of being mobile I developed a persistent cough. After many visits to the doctor and countless runs of antibiotics the cough would never completely clear up.

After several years, I had allergy testing done thinking the worst… could I be allergic to dogs? I have had dogs my entire life but it was possible that I could have developed allergies. Test results came in…. no allergies.  I was put on two different inhalers, an albuterol and a steroid, to try to clear the cough. As a busy mother of three, work and my busy competition schedule, I put my health on the back burner thinking it’s just a cough… it will eventually go away.

Well it didn’t go away and what I didn’t realize was the fact that my bronchial tubes were becoming damaged from this chronic cough.

After six years of coughing, bouts of bronchitis and even an episode of pneumonia, I woke up in the middle of the night coughing up blood. I was never so scared in my life. I drove myself to the emergency room. I was immediately given breathing treatments. A pulmonary specialist was on call that evening. After hearing my history he ordered a bronchoscopy. This is a procedure where a scope is sent down your bronchial tubes to see what is going on.

I was soon diagnosed with a pulmonary disease called bronchiectasis. Bronchiectasis is a condition where the bronchial tubes become enlarged resulting from any medical condition that creates the production of mucus. Frequent episodes of Bronchitis, pneumonia and chronic coughs can contribute to this disease. Once the bronchial tubes become enlarged they can form pockets that hold the mucus making it difficult to expel. This is a breeding ground for bacteria. Lung infections become a common occurrence. There is no cure for this disease and it is not reversible. This disease can be managed by inhalers and nebulizers which help to expel the mucus. Antibiotics are prescribed when the infections arise.  Pneumonia and flu vaccines are important for me to have. Any common cold can quickly turn into pneumonia for me due to the weakness in my lungs. The bleeding that occurred was from coughing so much and it is common in bronchiectasis patients.

So the question is… can grooming dogs and cats cause pulmonary issues? Absolutely! Coughing occurs when something irritates and stimulates your airways. If you find that you have had a persistent cough for more than eight weeks, it is time to get to the doctor and clear it up.

I remember days when I would come home after grooming a double coated breed and just could not stop coughing. The dander, hair and fine clipped hair that is in the air is constantly being inhaled into your lungs. Think of all those yeasty dogs and dogs with flaky dandruff…. all those particles are being blown in the air by the high velocity dryers. In my mobile van I could really see the quality of the air as the sun shines through.  The particles just saturate the air that we breathe.

My pulmonary physician discussed with me how my occupation was aggravating this condition and could be causing the frequent flare ups of infection. He recommended that I either take precautions or just stop grooming completely. I began to really take notice of how I was grooming. I started to brush the double coated breeds in the tub when they were wet and soapy to eliminate the undercoat blowing around in the grooming van. I developed a system that I felt was working really well. Not only was this method proven to be beneficial to me but it also became extremely proficient in removing undercoat and keeping it at bay for 5-6 weeks between appointments. It made a huge difference in the amount of hair that was in the air in my small confined area of the grooming van. This system is shown in its entirety in my video “Deshedding: Theory & Technique”.  A large amount of work is done it the tub….the end result: less hair and faster drying time. With Spring upon us, we will all see the double coated breeds shedding profusely. This is the time to change your procedure and save your lungs.

Protect your lungs… wear a mask. You don’t want to have to live with a pulmonary condition for the rest of your life. I will always have a cough. I will always have to use inhalers and nebulizers to help keep the mucus down to a minimum.  Some weeks are good where I have very little mucus and it is somewhat clear. Other weeks I suffer with a huge amount of mucus that is on its way to becoming an infection and that’s when antibiotics have to come into play. It scares me to think of taking antibiotics so frequently but I have no choice.  I know talking about mucus is gross but the struggle is real.

There are so many options for masks. The surgical masks are comfortable but do not give you complete protection. They do not hug your face, instead they leave gaps where hair and dander can still be inhaled.

 

 

Surg

There are masks available at Home Depot or Lowes that are made for different jobs. 3M offers masks for sanding and fiberglass jobs.  These masks are capable of preventing the finest dust from passing through the mask.

Mask

The girls at my nail salon gave me the masks that they use. They are very comfortable. They add a gauze pad inside the mask for more protection.  ( Thanks Oliver for being my model!)

 

Olivermask

Finding the right mask is something that will be a personal choice based on comfort.

Ear and eye protection are also important. Many groomers suffer from hearing loss because of noisy high velocity dryers. It’s time to think about your health. You could be one of the lucky ones and never have a problem but sometimes it just isn’t worth the gamble. 

Thank you for listening. If I could do it all over again I would have worn a mask and put my health first.  I can only hope that my story has made you realize that it can happen to you too.

Take care,

                 Jodi


On The Road With Jodi and Danelle

Last year at Groom and Kennel Expo Danelle German and I had dinner together.  We laughed about the fact that I don't groom cats and she doesn't groom dogs and how fun it would be to do something together.  Since I'm a mobile groomer, Danelle and I thought it would be fun to go on the road together for a day of mobile groomining.

Cat grooming is foreign to me.  I have never been a cat person.  I like cats and absolutely love my cat but I just felt that you really need to feel comfortable handling cats in order to groom them.  So I choose not to!   Danelle, on the other hand is a "cat person".  She is definitely more comfortable handling cats than dogs.  In fact, when we were on the road I was trying to pry a leash out of a golden retrievers mouth in the van and  she was a little nervous that I would get bit.  She didn't realize how common it is for Goldens to love to carry things in their mouth.  It's amazing how differ our comfort levels are.

Danelle came to New Jersey and I scheduled a day with three of my regular client dogs.  Since I don't groom cats I had to "round up" some cats.  I asked a local mobile groomer, Patty Mitchell, to help me out.  She lined us up three of her client cats to groom that day.  We spent an entire day grooming cats and dogs together.  I was able to drill her with questions that I had about cat grooming that I'm sure she felt were elementary.  In return, she questioned me about dog grooming in the same respect.  This day on the road was a learning experience for both of us. 

The day was going pretty smoothly and I was feeling more comfortable with the cats.  She made it look so easy.  At one point she asked if I could help her scruff a cat while she stepped away to turn on the dryer. I was thinking to myself "do you really trust my scruff?"  One fast move and I'm sure that cat would have been dancing on the ceiling!  So I said "You scruff, I'll turn on the dryer!". 

By the end of our day on the road Danelle was feeling pretty confident that she could help me with the Golden Retriever.  I had her scissor the feet and she did pretty good for the first time!  Although I remember when she was working on the long haired cat I asked her if she was going to scissor the feet nice and pretty and she said "NO!  You never want to scissor toe tufts!"  OK so why does she want to scissor my Golden's toe tufts?  That's not fair!  We had so much fun doing this DVD together and I'm sure you will all enjoy it as well.  Danelle's camera girl even snuck in a blooper section which I'm sure will make you all chuckle (at our expense)!

We discussed so many important topics throughout the day including, routing, scheduing, pre-booking, the importance of regular grooming, handling techniques, client relations, educating clients and so much more.

This full day on the road with Danelle and I is available in a two dvd set.  

On the Road DVD part 1

 


It’s Way Too Cold Outside……

There is no reason to be cold inside!  We all know how important it is to keep our vans toasty.  There is nothing worse than frozen pipes and water heaters not to mention cold gloppy shampoo that makes dogs just cringe.  Over the many years of being a mobile groomer I have gone through multiple electric fan operated ceramic heaters each winter.  Since my hot water heater is run by propane I prefer not to use my furnace to reduce my propane usage.  Due to the fact that the generator is in use all day I have found the most cost efficient way to stay warm would be to use an electric heater.  However, the ceramic heaters as well as electric fan operated heaters have a heating element and fan which pull the dog hair into the heating element.  This significantly reduces the lifespan of these units, not to mention the foul smell of burning dog hair.

 

Through years of trial and error I have now found electric oil filled radiators to be the “bomb”.  The low profile model sits very nicely underneath my grooming table.  This radiator is thermostatically controlled.  There are no moving parts to get clogged up with dog hair.  Once the oil in the radiator warms, it produces the most even radiant heat very similar to baseboard hot water heat in your home.  If you are using a stand dryer or a dryer of similar amps you may want to turn the radiator off.  The oil will continue to stay warm even in the off position for quite a while.  After I finish drying the dogs I turn it right back on.    I always found that even when using ceramic heaters my feet always seemed to be cold during the day.  With the oil filled radiator I am never cold. 

 

I also use the same heater when I plug the truck in at night.  One radiator in the grooming area is all I ever need.  I open my towel hatch (Wag n’Tails model van) which allows warm air to reach the

back of the van.  The average winter temperature here in NJ can range from the single digits to the teens.

 

There are two models that I have seen, the regular radiator and the low profile radiator.  I prefer the low profile radiator which I find more suitable for the mobile environment due to the fact that it is less likely to shift between stops.  I purchased mine at Home Depot for about $59.  I have seen them at Bed, Bath & Beyond for slightly more.

 

The ice and snow can be a challenge during the winter season.  Staying warm and keeping your truck warm can be as simple as the right heater.

 

Stay warm..........Think Spring!           Jodi

 

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to email me at

jodimurphyonline@yahoo.com

 


In And Out With Style, Mile After Mile

Hi everyone, welcome to my blog page.  I am very excited to share with you articles that I have written as well as tips and techniques that I feel will help you become the best groomer that you can be.  I am also planning on sharing topics that I speak about at trade shows for those of you who are unable to attend.  My first article is geared to the mobile groomer although I strongly suggest that everyone take a look and apply it to your shop as well.  Happy Grooming!!

Mobile grooming should be all about convenience.  The more convenient we become to the pet owner the more often they will have their dogs groomed.  I can remember many of my clients that started their dogs on a six, eight, even ten week grooming schedule.

After just a few appointments they came to realize just how convenient this service truly is and then gradually moved to a four to five week schedule. The fact that they did not have to be home was even more appealing.  Now we have them on great schedules, let’s modify their trims to fit their individual lifestyles.  Many of my client’s dogs are cute little lap dogs that very rarely touch the grass.

Then we have the majority which are very busy outdoors. There are many breeds that love to be in the water during the summer months.  Many people love to bring their dogs to the beach and even camping.  You have to take all these things into consideration when putting trims on their dogs.  In these situations I will tighten my trims for the summer.

Leaving hair in the wrong places will only contribute to matting.  You can put style in your trims by leaving hair in the right places. I prefer to maintain stylized trims rather than spend endless hours dematting and setting lines all over again at each visit. Maintenance is the key word here.  Maintaining a good trim is my goal.

Adding style to your work is easier said than done.  It takes an artistic eye. Groomers are very artistic people in nature.  Although it does take time, experience and practice to develop that artistry.  It is very important for groomers to visit dog shows to see how these breeds should look as well as how the breeds are being stylized. Just as our hairstyles are always changing, so are the breeds. Our objective as mobile groomers should be to custom tailor our trims to bring out the best qualities in our pets as well as keeping our trims practical and manageable for the pet owner.

If the client’s pet is consistently matted every time you go to their home, than adjustments need to be made. The first thing I recommend is to modify the trim.  It may take a few visits to find the right trim for their dog.  If you are still having problems with matting and the client is happy with the trim, at that point I would recommend changing their schedule by one week or possibly even two weeks.

You may also want to take a hard look at the products you are using.  Products will make a big difference in how your trims hold up. If you are using a shampoo that is deep cleansing at every visit and you are not using some form of conditioning the coat may become dry and begin to mat. There are many leave-in conditioners that work great on areas that are prone to matting, i.e. tails, ears, and beards to name a few. 

Your bathing, drying and coat preparation can either make or break your trims. Everything from bathing systems, dryers, clippers, blades, brushes and scissors all play a major role in your efficiency.  Investing in good equipment is vital in the grooming industry.  When your grooming appointments become lengthly, you will become inconvenient to that client.  Taking all these things into consideration is quite a task but just remember it’s all about style, mile after mile!