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September 2021

Know When To Say No

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There are times in every groomers career where we should NOT finish the pet we are working on. Sometimes because it’s become dangerous for the pet, other times it’s dangerous for us. Either way, you need to know when to say no. All the pets below were very happy clients of mine. This is mostly from the perspective of a mobile groomer. If I was a shop, other options such as breaking up the groom throughout the day might be a consideration. All of these scenarios required  clear client communication on what could and could not be done.


TOBY was a golden retriever who was adopted by his family at the age of 12. He never cared for the dryer, but initially tolerated it. As he aged, he began to have problems whenever I turned the High Velocity dryer on. He would bark nonstop, became very agitated and peed or pooped on the table. He was having a dryer induced seizure. While this is more common in the elderly, this can occur in pets of all ages. To continue grooming him would result in a heart attack. The solution was simple. Don’t HV dry him. As I am a mobile groomer, cage drying was not an option. All brushing, scissoring and clipping was done before the bath. Afterwards, Dad carried Toby back into the house, laid him in front of a roaring fire and covered him with a light blanket. All that was missing was the cup of hot chocolate for Toby. 


KC was a very large, thick, long coated golden retriever. He is a very time consuming dog to groom, but looks magnificent when finished. When KC turned 13, he began to rely on the hip supports. To continue grooming KC in full coat would cause him pain. We kept him in a puppy trim which cut grooming time in half.


PHOENIX was a 13 year old Akita. She could not stand for the full hour it takes to blow out the coat, brush and then comb her. She, however, can tolerate 45 minutes. While Phoenix has her coat blown out and brushed, I  stopped combing her out.


JP at 16 missed his last groom. I arrived at his home and made a determination that JP was not up for it. Now, why can I see he was not well, but the owner didn’t. I think it’s because of that pair of rose colored glasses she was wearing and couldn’t see the inevitable. She was in denial. At least I got to say my good-byes as he was put down the following week. 


CLEO aka Sybil was muzzled from BEFORE she enters my van until she leaves. She does not like grooming and she means business, Once Cleo begins thrashing, groom is over. To continue grooming her would cause physical injury to either myself or Cleo. Once we are finished, she’s my best friend. Hence Sybil. Cleo does not leave my side and gives me big rottie kisses until I go.


LAMBIE was a male Lhasa. Need I say more. No, but I will. He was found wondering the streets of Norwalk, CT, obviously for some time. He was adopted by a client after her NICE toy poodle passed away. He is muzzled, groomer helpered, and harnessed. I never use scissors around him as that will only lead to bloodshed. I can’t clip under the muzzle. When Lambie was done, he had this lopsided Fu Manchu look going on and sloppy feet. I am very proud of this groom because the alternative was sedation at the vet. 


WILLY and I had an arrangement. He will let me brush and trim his ears, cut his hails and brush him out IF I don’t dry him. Willy became aggressive when I turn the dryer on.  He ferociously attacked the HV nozzle and worked himself up into a state. I needed to exercise caution as the high velocity of this dryer can blow out a lung. He’s been known to take a chunk out of the vacuum cleaner at home if Mom leaves it in the hallway. Willy was tolerant of the grooming process if I don’t dry him. I knew his limits. To continue would result in injury to me or Willy. 


COOPER was a young, sweet, anxious and scared German Shephard. Everyone repeat after me: Fear Biter with large teeth.Cooper is muzzled start to finish because I don’t know what will frighten him this time. I can’t trust him. His very large teeth can do serious damage to me.


MILLY the cat came to me because her sister died of a heart attack at a grooming shop. The shop did not know when to stop the groom.


Last, but not least.

BINNGO passed away at the age of 9. He had a heart condition that I was aware of. His veterinarian gave him clearance for grooming. Binngo was always a good boy in my van. I had him on the table and turned on the HV dryer. He squealed, peed and then pooped on himself. I rinsed him off and noticed the glazed look in the eyes. I put Mom and Binngo in the van and drove to the vet’s office. They later put him down as there was no improvement. There was no indication of a problem before he had a heart attack. Binngo was fine was minute and not the next. It was that quick.


Binngo is the reason I became a pet first aid instructor. Even though CPR was not needed, I wouldn’t have remembered how to do it. It was six years since I last took a class. It’s all I thought about. What if? I never wanted to feel that unprepared again. I don’t want anyone else to feel that unprepared. 


My client’s owners trust me to know when to quit. The well being of their beloved pet is my primary concern. Prettiness is secondary. I tell all the owners the same thing. “ You may be paying for this, but my client is your pet, not you. I do what is best for my client.”



Mary facilitates education and dreams  in the professional pet industry. Talk to her at or visit her website at


I Found This Great Photo On The Internet. Can I Use It On My Website?


I mean if it’s on the internet, that means its in the public domain? Right?


Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Say you just finished grooming a dog and the owner comes to pick him up. And then proceeds to walk out the door without paying. When you question it, the owner replies, “I found you on the internet and therefore you are in the public domain and I don’t have to pay you.”


Somebody took that picture you found on a google search. It is the intellectual property of the person who took the photo unless other arrangements were made between the photographer and another person. And just like you want to get paid for the service you provided, the same goes for the photographer.


Public Domain is a legal term. It refers to works, such as photographs, manuscripts, and so forth whose exclusive intellectual property rights  (copyrights) have expired, forfeited,  waived, or not applicable. You can use a photo that is in the public domain,  but you cannot own it.


A copyright is automatically applied when a work is published. Published includes being uploaded to the internet. The bigger question is how long does it last. Anything before 1923 is in the public domain. Between 1922 to 1977, is protected for 95 years from the date of publication. If published after 1978, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.



This photo was taken by NASA. The copyright was waived.


This photo was taken in 1918. Any copyright has expired.

You want to use nice photographs for your website and social media, but now you’re informed.




What are your options?


Stock photos come from photo stock companies such as DepositPhotos and Shutterstock (paid), or Pixabay and Pexels (free mostly.) These companies may have rules in place in how to use the photos. They may require attribution ( identify author and service) or restrict their use to social media and websites, but not advertising campaigns. Read the fine print.

Even the paid stock companies are usually nominal in cost.


This is an example of a free stock photo from Pixabay. This photo requires no attribution and can be used commercially. If I’m so inclined I can buy the photographer a cup of coffee.


They have several options:

1. They can request that you credit them and/or include a link to their website.

2. Send you via an attorney a DMCA Take-Down Notice
 Purusant to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) enacted in 1998. It would also be sent to the ISP host as well. If you don't comply, your website host company can legally take down your website.

3. Send an invoice.

4. File a copyright lawsuit.


Well, that belongs to me. I am the owner of that photograph. It is not in the public domain simply because it was found on a Google search.


Sorry, Not Sorry

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Sorry, not sorry.

Took me a long time to be comfortable in my own skin. To be unapologetic about my beliefs and things that simply bring me joy.

Marie Kondo would be so proud of me.

I was at All American one year and my daughter who lives in the area came and met me at the show with my birthday present. It was a fairly large rose quartz with a black tourmaline running through it. With no place to put it, I simply carried it around the show.

Then Daryl Conner walked up to me and said, “Um, no none is surprised to see you walking around with a rock.”

You know what else happened?

People started asking me about that rock. What was it? It’s so pretty. Then I posted that rock on Facebook. I got a lot of messages. Most were positive and a couple of people got unfriended. My brother called me a heathen and got blocked. However, that was a long time coming.

*Pro Tip: You do not have to be friends with anyone who disrespects you and  that includes family.

Me being me connected me with my people, my clients. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, whether its personal or business. It’s why I retired from grooming to teach and coach full time. Even though I was told that wasn’t feasible.

If you don’t want clients over 25 pounds? Then don’t.

If you want to respond via text to clients? Then do.

Want purple hair? Then dye it.

Don’t think you can add any more porcelain poodles to your shop? I beg to differ.

Tell me how you’re doing you.