About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Creative Grooming..Is it Art or Abuse?

Yesterday was one of those grooming days I thought would never end.
My last dog of the day being the giant Goldendoodle that seems to take me 2 1/2 hours to do just the finish work.
And, that is with him being a really good dog on the table!

When I got home I was dead, drained, numb, you name it.
So, all I did for an hour last night was surf the net a little.
Big mistake!
I ended up going to bed aggravated.

I came across a pet blog that shows all kinds of animals.
The blog is mostly pictures of cute  or strange animals.
One of the posts was a bunch of pictures of Creative grooms.
I had seen all of the dogs before, but I still like looking at them and marvel at the talent of these groomers.
Then I started to read the comments.

Second big mistake!

I knew better.
I knew what I was going to read.

A couple of years ago I had put a flower on my Poodle for a Pet Expo that
I was working.

Most of the people walking through the Expo loved it, and my girl loved the attention.

I did see a few shakes of the head and disapproving looks.

A couple of days later I found out that a friend had put a picture of my girl on her Pet Treats Business Face Book page.
The comments were mixed, but some were down right mean.
Very mean.
My friend was shocked and removed the pictures because she wanted her Business page to be a happy one.

Every once in awhile I will come across Creative Grooming pictures on the internet, and they are always follows by mean, uneducated comments.

People are so quick to judge.
I can be that way sometimes also.
Then I try to catch myself and put myself in that persons place, or try to learn about what they did before I judge.

I only compete in one Creative contest a year at Hershey.
I also only do simple designs.
I like simple.
I have been watching the creative competitions since they started.
I will admit that they have changed over the years.
The art work on these dogs is amazing now.
Some of the creative groomers out there competing today have made it their life's work, and the fact that they are the ones that almost always win proves it.

What I would like any of the everyday pet owners, who may come across this blog, to understand is that coloring your dog with safe non-harmful dyes for a one day Grooming competition is not abuse.

These dogs are so loved by their groomer owners.
They are brushed, bathed, fed, walked, cared for, and loved.
They are the same as everyone else's dog.
They run, play, sleep, and eat, just like every other dog...well almost every other dog.

These creative dogs don't live on the street.
They aren't chained to a tree wondering when their owner may come out and give them some food and water.
They aren't closed up in a small cage breeding litter after litter until they die.
They aren't dropped off at the Shelter because they aren't a cute puppy anymore.
Or because their owner didn't know how to house train them.
Or because their owner just didn't want to be bothered with them anymore.

I would rather see every dog dyed green then see some of the abuse that I, as a groomer, deal with almost every week in my shop.

This is a form of abuse.

To let your pet get so matted that the hair comes off in one solid piece.

 That you pay so little attention to your dog, that a mat is allowed to grow and grow until the hair had literally sliced through the skin.

 It is abuse when you look at your dog everyday and see the painful sore under his eye and you don't bother getting him any help from your Vet.

This does not happen over night, know matter how hard you try to convince me that it did.

It is abuse when you see your cat walking around with massive mats so obviously stuck to it's fur.

This took months to get this way.

No, I don't believe you when you tell me it just happened the other day when the cat walked under your car and got oil on himself.

Oh, by the way, I didn't see any oil.

It is abuse when you are not even sure if what you are looking at is a dog.

Is that his face?

Abuse is when an owner lets their pets nails grow till the dog can barely walk.

Abuse is when you have let your dog get so matted that their bum is almost completely closed up, and they can't go to the bathroom properly.

The next picture is of a poor little dog so abused that it is amazing he is still alive.
The picture is from a news article that I saw.
When I first saw this picture, I could not close my mouth.
I was stunned.


Kudos to the groomer that saved this little guy.

I may color my dog once a year, but you better believe that she is always clean.
You can run a comb through her coat and never find a mat.
Her nails are short.
Her ears are clean.
She plays everyday.
She is fed everyday.
She is hugged more times than I can count, everyday.
And, she sleeps in my bed, and has more room then me!

Don't ever accuse me of hurting my girl!

Make sure you know what you are criticizing before you judge.

To my fellow groomers who read my blog...Sorry for the rant.
Kudos to you for helping those abused dogs feel good again!

Happy Grooming, MFF 


  1. The picture of the dog that you found from the internet....my jaw literally dropped to the floor because I don't even know what I'm looking at! I'm hoping that is the dog's butt but I'm really scared that that's it's face ;.; If that's his face then I will cry ;.;

  2. I don't want to make you cry, but yes that is his head. You can see his nose if you look close. As the after picture shows, there was a very cute little guy under all of that mat. I pray that he has a happy home now and is regularly groomed.
    Lisa, MFF

  3. My grandmother was a dog groomer for about 15 years. Is so sad to see a dog this way. My sister in law has 4 dogs, that she never pays much attention to. One of them has mats that must be at least 5 or 6 inches thick and feces stuck into his fur! It is so sad to see, and absolutely breaks my heart! My husband and I are folks of little means, and have 5 children, a cat, and 2 dogs. We have recently been talking about taking this guy off her hands, although we don't really have the means to do so. Maybe we can rehome him, is just so sad to see him with this way.

  4. this is soooooo true its incredible how people manage to put so .... explanations to things so harmful and when they see a pink dog they wanna die because they say ur harming the dog...come on people, really???? i mean are they blind!!! do they have an once of brain??? i have gotten some dogs so matted you couldnt even know where the ear leather started and finished and they dare tell me I dont know how his hair grows so fast!! am like what are you serious I dont think his even seen water in months

  5. Anonymous,
    So many people just don't get it. Letting their dog mat up all over it's body before they can be bothered to have them groomed IS abuse. A little bit of color that washes out???? Please!
    Lisa, MFF

  6. Grooming our dog is one of the best way we can share our love to them. It is a good thing to see them properly groom and properly loved.

  7. I enjoyed your blog and those poor babies that you pictured are so sad. You are so right, how can people live with these pets day in and day out and not notice they have mats, can't see or walk or go to the bathroom with them! That is so horrible. To Crystal, if you know someone who cannot take care of their dog and that dog is suffering YOU need to call your city's animal control and get that animal the help it needs before it is too late. To know about the abuse and not report it, is really unacceptable. Please help that poor dog.

  8. HOORAY! You said it! Well done - I agree with everything you said. Thanks for saying it out loud :)

  9. While I know full well the difference between true abuse/neglect and so-called "creative grooming" (I am a dog groomer myself) I do not approve of the extreme forms of "creative grooming" because the overwhelming majority of members of the general public are not in favor of it and the reaction to Poodles being turned into buffalo, ponies, bumble bees or flamingos is universally negative. If you want to put a touch of color on ears or tails, okay, fine. But when one groomer makes a dog look absolutely ridiculous, it reflects badly on the rest of us. And I don't see why I should be tarred with the same brush as the so-called "creative groomers" when I find the "creative grooming" just as offensively stupid as John Q. Public does.

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      Over the last few years creative grooming has taken a turn towards the 'more extreme'. I personally like a softer, simple, more elegant form of creative grooming. A design on the hip, colored ears and tail look really cute on some dogs.
      My argument with the public is how extremely nasty they can be over something that they don't even take the time to educate themselves about. If they don't like seeing a colored dog, that is fine, don't look at it, but don't accuse the groomer of abuse.
      The buffalo, ponies, flamingos and other extreme grooming are for competitions....for fun. Just like the outrageous hair concoctions that hairdressers do for their competitions.
      Most of the creative groomers that compete only do these elaborate creations for competition. Then they may offer their everyday customers some small forms of coloring like ears and tails.
      I personally wish that the creative would go back to a less extreme look, but it is what it is. I do not see, or think that those extreme grooms in any way reflect badly on me as a groomer. My customers know that I do the best grooms that I can on their dogs, and that I take the best care of them while I have them. That is all that is important to my customers.
      This is obviously a big pet peeve for you, but there are many things that John Q Public finds 'offensively stupid'. Some are justified some are not. It does not bother me whether you approve of creative grooming, or you don't. You are most definitely entitled to your opinions and feelings.
      I am a professional pet groomer, with a little creative touch on the side, who takes a lot of pride in what I do. I don't feel that the creative groomers out there reflect badly on Me as a groomer in any way. I'll let MY grooming talent, and customer service speak for itself.
      Lisa, MFF