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September 2015
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November 2015

October 2015

Yes You Can!


I had no idea what the future held when I graduated from grooming school in 2006. I thought I was going to be a mobile groomer and spend my days grooming dogs and cats. Something happened one evening that changed the course of my life. I was sitting in my favorite chair in 2008 when I had an idea. I decided to write an outline of my business.

I loved mobile grooming so much! It was all I thought about. It made perfect sense to me to analyze my business. When I was finished with my outline I knew I had something but, I didn’t know what. It just so happened Intergroom was around the corner. I decided to bring the outline and show it to somebody … but to whom?

I wandered around Intergroom with a manila envelope under my arm. “Who should I give it to? What should I say?” Then I spotted a friendly face across the room … Daryl Conner! I walked up to her and introduced myself and asked her, “Would you take a look at my outline?” She responded, “Yes!”

Then I waited. I was terrified of what she might say. Would she tell me, “Ellen, That’s dreadful! Pack it in girlfriend! It’s a dud.” Then the email came. Daryl said, “Write a book.” I did a double take. My eyes opened wide. 

Write a book? I had never written anything in my life. The last time I wrote a paper I was in college. To make matters worse, I can’t type well. It seemed ridiculous and formidable at the same time. How could I write a book when I had only been grooming for two years? 

I often think back to the night I got Daryl’s email. I’m glad I didn’t listen to my own voice whispering in my ear, “Are you crazy woman? You can’t write a book. You are not a writer,” when I had an “ah-ha” moment. Daryl’s comment created a vision. Write a book? “Yes, I will I said to myself. I will try.”

Fulfilling a dream or a vision is a process. It all starts with an idea that you believe in. From that idea a plan is born. It can be terrifying. That’s where the scary part comes into play. “What if I fail? Will I look foolish? What will others think?” It’s best to put those feelings into a little box throw away the key and get started on your dream.

Negative thinking will not help you accomplish your goal. Don’t let quitting be an option. There can be many ups and downs and discouraging moments on the bumpy road of fulfilling your dream. If you truly believe in what you are doing, these feelings will fall to the wayside as you immerse yourself in the project at hand.

Fulfilling a dream is not just the physical task of sitting down and typing, such as writing a book. A tremendous amount of thought goes into it. That’s the fun! Use your imagination. Let it run wild! This is your dream. Enjoy the ride. It is one of the best parts.

Dreams do not happen on their own, overnight. Be committed and focus on your dream everyday. Tackle a little bit on a regular basis. Climbing a mountain begins with a single step. Create your own ripple. Work hard. Take action. Keep a notebook handy to jot down your ideas. Keywords and key phrases are valuable and useful tools as you follow the path of fulfilling your dream.

If you need advice or hit a roadblock reach out. Successful people I know want to help others fulfill their dreams. This creates a pay it forward domino effect that enables and encourages others to accomplish their goals. Share. Be a team player. Network. This can make everyone’s future success even sweeter.

I spent the next year of my life grooming everyday and writing every night, fulfilling my dream. I wrote and wrote and wrote until I had nothing left to say about mobile grooming. That’s how Go Mobile And Succeed was born. I share this story with you because that book went on to become loved by many who were interested in mobile pet grooming. It empowered women and men to change their careers and lives.

I went on to do many things I never thought I could. As I worked and the years went by I began to see that my career was more than just about grooming pets and helping people have a successful business. When speaking in the grooming industry, I always tell my fellow pet stylists, “I want to inspire you to have the best business you can. Go out and make your hopes and dreams happen.” Through commitment, determination, passion, and hard work everyone can achieve more than they ever thought they could. Dreams can become a reality. 


Ellen is the author of Go Mobile And Succeed, The Successful Pet Groomer, and 49 Essays On Pet Grooming. For more information go to:

Can't Promise Pretty - Groomer To Groomer Magazine - May 2015

Mary Oquendo coined this phrase back in the early days of It stuck in my mind, because in the grooming profession, you can’t always promise pretty.

In a perfect world, puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats, would stand on our grooming tables like statues. They would offer their nails for a pedicure, their ears for cleaning, and their faces to wash. They would jump in the tub, turn when asked, and roll over for tummy trims. No one would ever have a tangle or “smile” at the groomer. Every pet would have an impeccable coat. Wouldn’t you love to live in this world?

Let’s face it. Although we have furry clients that are terrific for grooming, there are obstacles every pet stylist has to overcome to obtain the perfect compromise between comfort and style. Since we’re working with living creatures, the groomer has to consider age, coat condition/matting, health issues, once or twice a year pets, behavior, and temperament.

We can’t take it personally. Not all pets love grooming. Even my poodle Jesse, who is an angel for grooming, looks glum when I ask him to get in the van and jump on my grooming table. What’s important to know is when we groom pets, there are certain limitations on what we can and can’t do.

Jesse is an older gentleman, going on fourteen. Standing on the grooming table for a couple of hours was not an issue when he was a younger dude. Now that he’s a senior with a touch of arthritis, he gets tired and has a hard time standing. It’s difficult to lift his leg, even for a nail trim. This is something to take into consideration.  It’s easy to read Jesse’s signals, so I’ve made adjustments in his style to keep him comfortable during the grooming process.

We are all familiar with the client who brings in a photo of a pet from a calendar or greeting card and asks you for the same trim on Fluffy. The problem is their dog hasn’t visited the groomer in six months. The owner means well by bathing the dog. They try to brush the hair but are unsuccessful. Underneath the fluffy topcoat is matted hair. The best the groomer can do is clip the dog short to start over and explain how important it is to bring the dog in for regular grooming appointments. Offer the pet owner tips on self-care so the trim he/she desires is obtainable.

I’ve been grooming Roxy, the Maltese, for seven years. Due to a back injury that continues to worsen, she is now bathed, dried, and groomed lying down. Groomers need to do what is in the pet’s best interest, whatever the situation might be. Sometimes the simplest trim is the best solution.

What about puppies? They can be a challenge. Sometimes good as gold, other times a whirling dervish. You never know what you are going to get when you see a puppy appointment in your schedule. When you are grooming puppies it is be best to be flexible in your expectations. Explain this to the pet owner. It’s all about the puppy having a good time for his/her grooming experience even if you just accomplish feet, face, and fanny.

Many groomers, including myself, have been in the situation where grooming the dog from the neck down is a cinch. The problem lies in trimming the face. Grooming is a dangerous profession. Our shears are razor sharp; our clippers are powerful. You take your life in your hands when you place your scissors or trimmers next to the corner of the dog’s eye. We work on moving targets and no one wants to have an accident. If grooming tasks cannot be accomplished safely, put the scissors and clippers down and just say, “No.”

I have learned in the last ten years of my mobile business that I cannot groom every dog or cat that stands on my table. Some pets are a better fit for another groomer. Some need to be seen by a mobile, house call, or vet groomer. Some dogs and cats need to be sedated for grooming. There are many variables to take into consideration when grooming pets. The safest effort is always the best outcome.

Communication is key. This is the best time to develop a teamwork grooming approach with Mom and Dad. Discuss the options, and explain what tasks you can and can’t do. Focus on what you can promise: a clean, cute, and happy pet.

Ellen Ehrlich is a mobile pet stylist who loves to think, talk, read, and write about pet grooming. Next to grooming, Ellen loves to empower, motivate, and inspire other groomers to be the best they can be. She is the author of The Successful Pet Groomer, Go Mobile And Succeed, and 49 Essays On Pet Grooming.
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