Working as a dog groomer is very demanding and an emotionally tasking job but Ivy Tracy Lowe, a 27-year-old pet groomer, ventured into the animal service industry because of her love for animals, particularly dogs.
In an interview with The Mirror, Ms Lowe, who has a degree from the Central University, said she worked for two-and-half-years before venturing into her pet grooming business.
It all started when she brought stray dogs home all the time for her parents to feed them.
“The whole idea was fascinating, taking care of dogs to make them look and feel their best. The support from my family, particularly my mum and friends, has been overwhelming. I remember when I told my mum I wanted to do this, she said I should go for it because she knew the business would thrive because of my passion for dogs,” she said.
Pet grooming business
Ms Lowe explained that a dog groomer’s job spanned a whole range of hands-on tasks. They include bathing/washing dogs and cleaning their teeth using appropriate equipment. Aside from the grooming services, she sells some pet essentials such as food, supplements, treats, bathroom essentials, dog cologne and other products that enhance a dog’s life.
“I started in January this year and it has been good, but not without challenges. I have been bitten a couple of times by some puppies I groom at the salon. The bites were as a result of their reaction to the dryers, clippers and scissors. I guess they were afraid. Fortunately, they were all vaccinated. I sustained surface wounds that healed fast. When a client walks in with their pet, the first thing I ask for is their vaccination card. I don’t administer medical services to the pets. I am more like a dog stylist. I focus on the appearance of the dog,” she added.
The dog stylist charges GH¢220 for a full grooming service which entails a haircut, a bath, brushing of teeth, trimming of nails and parting of hair. She explained that there were other additional services such as the expression of the dog’s anal glands to relieve if off some discomfort, whitening of the dog’s fur, cleaning of the ears and colouring of fur that come with extra charges.
The pet groomer, who also owns a laundry, said so far patronage had been encouraging. “I have walk-in clients and others who I put on a schedule on a regular basis. I can do a maximum of four dogs a day, because full grooming can take an average of two hours to finish with one dog, especially if it is a full grooming service. Whenever I am overwhelmed with bookings, I outsource to other pet groomers who do home services. The look on the faces of the clients when I am done grooming tells it all. It is indeed gratifying to have your own business,” she stated.
Ms Lowe said dog grooming was a rewarding career option for anyone who loved being around dogs and wanted to make a real difference in the welfare of pets.
“This is my career now. In the next five years, I want to expand my services across the country. I am also hoping to open a hotel and day care for pets because I get many requests from my clients to keep their dogs whenever they are travelling. I constantly update my knowledge in pet grooming. I also enrolled in some online courses in Thailand and London. Things change all the time, so constant training and learning is key. For instance, I need to be abreast of the latest trends in the industry,” she explained.
Advice for pet owners
Ms Lowe advised pet owners to groom their pets at least once a month.
“Grooming should start after a puppy’s second vaccination at six weeks. I do encourage my clients to do self-grooming at home. I try to teach my clients how to go about it. In between professional services you can groom your dog at home. I advise my clients to visit the salon once a month because there are certain things only a groomer can do. For instance, if the dog’s fur becomes tangled and you try to trim it at home, it might end up getting hurt. Having a dog is a huge responsibility, be it a security dog or a pet. It is not just about feeding, it entails so much. Your dog is your child; you need to constantly check it for ticks and fleas because they can be life threatening. Dogs can also get tumours and cancer,” she said.