I live in Maine, and one of our common state slogans is, "The way life should be."
I wanted to share some stories of how grooming life should be.
The first one is about a dynamic woman named Laci Barnett. Like me, Laci lives in Maine. She was wishing that there were more educational opportunities for groomers in this area. But she did more than wish, she organized a seminar to be held in Augusta, the state capital, in February. She invited Carol Visser and me to give classes for an all day seminar. She asked local groomers what topics they would be interested in hearing about, and Carol and I pulled together information to share based upon their response. Laci organized it all, arranging for a hotel to meet in, and even had some local shear/blade sharpeners come to put an edge on tools and answer questions. Frosting on the cake, she put together some nice gift baskets to give out as prizes to several lucky winners. Around 20 people attended, and I think it is safe to say that everyone had a good time. It was a great audience of intelligent, friendly, interesting groomers from New England. I was honored to be a part of it, and impressed that Laci made it all happen. She is planning a second event this spring. Her dedication to bringing educational opportunities to rural groomers is inspiring.
The next story started out with me thinking I was being pranked. I received an email from a man in Quebec, Canada, asking if I could groom his cat for an upcoming show. He had found my name on the Professional Cat Groomers Association of America's web page. Since most people who show cats groom them themselves, and since he lived in a different country than I do, my first response was that the request was a joke. I was wrong. He has a young Maine Coon cat, and they had taken him to a few shows but had not won anything. He thought maybe having a professional cat groomer spiff him up would made a difference, and he was willing to drive all the way here to have me groom that cat. Unfortunately, I as at the above mentioned seminar that weekend, so couldn't help him out. But I wanted to do something, so I contacted my sweet friend Sharon Kremsreiter. Sharon lives in Michigan, and is not only an exceptional dog groomer, she also has two Maine Coon cats that she has shown. She told me to call her, and then very patiently gave me step by step instructions on how she suggested the man bathe and groom his cat for show, right down to which products he should use. I took notes, and sent off the "how to" list right away.
A few days after the cat show, I received a very nice email from the man:
Sorry, I didn't want to say anything before the end of the show, we're
just back from there.
There were 8 rings in total, our boy became "Best Maine Coon kitten" in 5
rings (of 8) and he entered the finals in 4 rings. The best result was
"3rd best All-Breed kitten".
It is incredible because all our previous shows were completely
unsuccessful, simply nothing at all.
I thank you very much for your generous support! We're now looking for an
opportunity to sharpen this skill because even if his appearance was so
much improved, we still don't know what the ideal look is (if it exists).
We want somebody to say how a Maine coon should look like and how to
But the first result is stunning, we would never get it without your
All this because Sharon was kind enough to share her time and expertise with me. Doesn't that just warm your heart?
The last story involves well known groomer Barbara Bird. She recently posted on Facebook that she had been struggling with grooming an English Springer Spaniel. The customer had certain requests and Barbara was feeling like she wasn't getting the results she desired. So she sent a message to Jodi Murphy, (author of Dog Grooming Simplified and all around styling super star.) Jodi called Barbara right up and "interpreted the owners requests in terms I could digest." I love this story, because it embodies a part of our industry that I treasure... the willingness of groomers to help each other out. It is, indeed, the way life should be.