Setting Boundaries

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Setting Boundaries In Your Business

When we were sitting down with the builders to design our home in Washington, I made some special requests regarding the placement of my office. Specifically, I wanted my office at the other end of the house. The more doors between my office and the living space, the better.

I needed my office to be separate from the home. I was setting a boundary.

We all hear how important it is to establish boundaries, but why is it so important.

I love this quote by Brene Brown. “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why, we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful then addressing a behavior or a choice.”


Boundaries keeps emotion from taking over. Drama in the workplace, whether it stems from clients or employees is exhausting. Setting and enforcing expectations from either can prevent incidents instead of escalating them.

Boundaries can keep us from resenting our business. If, as a business owner, you dread going to work, the business is no longer your passion. It becomes a job.

You can set boundaries by defining acceptable behavior from your clients, employees, as well as your family and friends that is positive, respectful, and productive.  There is great value in a closed door that people around you honor.

Establishing clear communications through policy and procedure forms and waivers for clients, and detailed expectations in employee manuals will set realistic and expected behavior for those all around. Include If This- Then That rules of conduct.

For example:

If a client insults or berates one of your employees, then they are no longer welcome in your establishment.

If an employee calls out on a regular basis, then they need to find alternate employment.

You get the idea.

In addition, set boundaries with yourself that includes establishing morning and evening routines, as well as regular self-care.

Don’t let your business become a job.


Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader.

You can contact Mary by dropping a message or email her at

Creating Harmony In The Grooming Facility

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Several years ago I received a call from a pet owner wondering if I groom “evil Chihuahuas.” Her longhaired chihuahua, Pepe was banned from yet another grooming shop. It had been suggested to her that Pepe would need sedation at a veterinarian’s office in order to be groomed. 

As a Chihuahua mom, I know firsthand they can react to stressful situations with aggression. We referred to my Chihuahua, Baby, as Grumpy Boy on many an occasion. It was possible that Pepe was overwhelmed in a grooming shop and in a less stimulating atmosphere; such as my mobile grooming van he might behave. It was with that thought I agreed to groom him. I groomed him until I retired.

Why did Pepe go from evil to pleasant in short order?

The truth is it is not what I have; it is what I lack.

I do not have:

  1. A stream of people coming in and out throughout the day.
  2. Ringing phones.
  3. Other dogs and/or cats.
  4. Several dryers on at the same time.
  5. Pets on grooming tables across from each other.
  6. Groomers walking past each other with pets.
  7. Vacuum cleaners running with pets present.
  8. Many different scents from shampoos to fragrances to cleaning supplies filling the air.

All of these distractions have the potential to over-stimulate even the calmest of pets. As shop owners, what changes can be made to minimize the effects of normal day-to-day operations?



Did you know that when you are surrounded by disorganization, your body secretes Cortisol? Cortisol is a stress hormone. Animals can smell those hormones and may react to our stress levels. In addition, according to Feng Shui, clutter blocks energy from free flow and results in tired energy. Cleaning and re-organizing your shop can result in calmer, more efficient groomers.


There are many studies done by universities regarding the effect color has on our productivity and emotions. Advertisers have fully embraced this concept since color print ads became available. It is not a coincidence that the major fast food chains use red, yellow, and orange in their packaging and logos. In fact, you are more likely to consume three times the calories there than in a restaurant using blue. Next time you are shopping, look at the packaging you are first attracted to. Woman are more likely to buy pastel or muted color packaging while men like dark and bold colors.

The colors best suited for a grooming shop are both light blues and greens. Blues are calming and relaxing. Green is soothing on the eyes and may reduce stress. In fact, studies show that people who work in green offices are happier and more productive. If it is not feasible to repaint, then add in blues and greens. Suggestions include new grooming smocks, curtains, policy signs, or paint the workstations.



Dr. Deborah Wells, a psychologist and animal behaviorist, completed a research project to determine the effects of classical, heavy metal, pop, talk, and no sound had on animals. The study concluded that pop, talk, and no sound had no effect one way or the other. However, heavy metal caused increase in agitation and barking amongst the dogs in the study. Classical music resulted in calmer dogs that spent more time resting rather than standing and barking. The other benefit of classical music is that it also improved the mood and reduced stress in people.

Good musical choices include classical and pop. My personal choice is a CD titled Chakra Suite by Steven Halpern.




There are three choices in lighting. The first is natural or full spectrum. This light spans the full visual spectrum, similar to that of the sun. The second is incandescent lights. It is close to full spectrum, but not quite. The third is fluorescent lighting, which has a very limited visual spectrum.

Our body chemistry and that of the pet is based on a day/night cycle. If not enough time is spent in full sunlight, it impacts the circadian rhythm, which in turn affects the hormones. The circadian rhythm is a biological process that sets the body’s internal clock to 24 hours.

The effects of this disruption may include migraines, eyestrain, problems sleeping, depression, unhealthy immune and endocrine systems, stress, anxiety, and obesity. By replacing the fluorescent bulbs with either incandescent or full spectrum may help mitigate these problems.


The sense of smell is linked to the limbic system. The limbic system is the oldest part of our development. It is connected to the parts of the brain that control blood pressure and stress levels. In addition, the olfactory center (the nose) interacts with the hippocampus (seat of the memory) in the brain. The first sniff of something will trigger a nerve response. Different fragrances will illicit different responses.

Calming scents include: rose, jasmine, neroli, geranium, lavender, chamomile, coconut, and sandlewood.

Uplifting scents include: basil, citrus, catnip, cedar wood, cinnamon, eucalyptus, grapefruit, and lemon.

A note for cats:

Cats cannot metabolize many essential oils because they lack the necessary enzymes. Instead of releasing the oils through their livers, they are stored there instead. Over time, it can cause physical harm to the cat. As a general rule, I do not use essential oils around cats. I will, however, diffuse hydrosols into the air around healthy cats. Hydrosols are the steam distillates of essential oils and are a safer alternative.

Positive Energy


Did you know that happiness is contagious? That’s because our body secretes endorphins when we are happy. On the flip side, anger is a heavy energy that does not seem to dissipate. Both moods can infect those around you. Keeping the work area positive may mean you need to release the negative.

As both a Reiki and Crystal Therapy practitioner, I use both to keep the energy light, positive, and free flowing in my mobile grooming van. I have rose quartz tucked away in many corners of van including the tub.

Turned out that Pepe was never an evil Chihuahua. Maybe a little misunderstood and definitely overwhelmed. He was an easy groom and mom is very appreciative that her little baby is well taken care of. And is that not what we strive for?

Want to join us for the Groomers Health And Wellness Summit on July 11/12th, 2021 for 2 days of life changing workshops. Drop me a message.

10 Tips To Make The Most Of Trade Shows


WooHoo! Trade shows are back. It’s been awhile, so here are 10 tips to make the most of your experience.

  1. Let your credit card companies know you’re attending a trade show. Vendors will run your card as if it was at their home location. Visa will have a meltdown and may stop your card.
  2. Answer that call from the 800 number. It’s probably your CC verifying you’re making the purchases. If you don’t, they may put a stop on your card. That’s sucks after you’ve been making 45 minutes on line and now have to contact your CC and get back in line.
  3. Put your CC in RFID sleeves so that someone walking past with a scanner doesn’t grab your CC info.
  4. Bring cash in the event your CC is stopped and you need money now.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes.
  6. Pre-order must haves. Nothing worse than coming without what you went to the show for.
  7. Bring a couple of bottled of water. It’ll be cheaper than the $6 bottles for sale at the show.
  8. Don’t put your purse or packages on the ground. You will either forget them or make it easy for someone walking by to grab and keep going. Backpacks in between your legs or wheeled suitcases are better.
  9. Don’t talk on your cell while walking out to put purchases in your vehicle. You are distracted and will make an easy target.
  10. Watch your friends at the bar. Specifically look for someone “helping” them to their room. Their drink may have been drugged.

Above all, have fun and say hi if you see me.