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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Abstract Grooming 2013

I am finally getting around to posting the pictures that I have from the Abstract Runway Contest at Groom Expo.

I have been busy every night working on a Newsletter to send to my customers with the scheduling forms that we send out every year.
I usually send a cover letter, with any new information, with next years scheduling forms.
The last two years I found that most of my customers were not even bothering to read the cover letter.
They have become so used to filling out the appointment form for booking their appointments in advance, that I guess they feel they don't need to read the cover letter that explains how the form works.
The problem is, the letter also contains new information for the coming year that they were not reading.

So, I turned my form letter into a (hopefully) eye catching Newsletter.

I am hoping that their curiosity will get the better of them and that they will read the entire Newsletter.

I tried to keep all of the news short and to the point.

I also tried to add a little humor.

So, with that done, hopefully I will now be able to catch up with the things I want to blog about.

On to the Abstract Contest.

I was planning on competing with 'Hanna' my white Poodle.
A couple of weeks before Groom Expo I noticed some irritation on her skin.
I took her to my Vet only to find out that she had a skin infection.

I decided to try to my black Standard again.
I say again, because I have tried to compete with her before.
She is a sweetheart with family, but some strangers scare her.
She is great to groom, but can not stand it when the Judges try to touch her for judging, so I stop competing with her a few years ago.
I thought that she would be good for the Abstract contest, because the Judges do not touch the dogs.
You just stop in front of the Judges, let them look at the design and then move on.

Now I had to come up with a design.
I was not able to do the design that I had planned for 'Hanna', because I did not have the time to work on the complicated design that I had planned for her.

So, I started to play with some designs on pictures of 'Lily' in Printshop.

This is a design that I came up with and liked, so I decided to try it.

The only problem was, I forgot to take the picture to work with me the day I planned to put the pattern on her.

It was the Saturday before Groom Expo and we would be leaving Thursday after work.

So, I decided to put the pattern on her from memory.
I had also decided to invest in a Tattoo clipper.
I thought that that would help make it easier to clip the pattern into her coat.
What a waste of money!
Thankfully the clippers only cost around $40.
Those clippers may be nice for peoples hair, but they don't have close to enough power to clip through a dogs coat.

At first I was kind of stumped on exactly how to etch this pattern out of her coat.
I didn't want to use a regular blade, because I wanted the line very thin and narrow.
So I used my scissors, and cut on an angle. (sorry I forgot to take pictures)
Once I got the line cut into the coat, I used my Bravura clipper, with the blade set on #30 to carefully scoop out the hair.

I did end up cutting the lines a little wider than I wanted them.
Because the lines were too wide, I had to alter my original design a little.

A few hours before the contest, we gave Lily a bath in the grooming area that was set up at Groom Expo.

The lighting was terrible, but what can you do?

Actually I had my son hold a battery operated light up over 'Lily' as I worked on her. lol

Then we went up to wait in the hallway, outside the dinner room, for an hour.
That freaked my 'Lily out a little.
She does not like other dogs coming up and sticking their noses in her face or back side. :/
I tried to go around an get everyone's pictures.
The only problem was that everyone was arriving at all different times.
Some dogs showed up as we were being placed in line.
Since I was close to the front of the line, I was not able to get pictures of some of the dogs that walked up later.

So I will show you the ones that I did manage to get.

Oh, also, the lighting was awful.
Half of my pictures did not even turn out.
All of the pictures that I took of 'Lily' in the hallway were bad.
Luckily I took a few pictures of her outside the next day.

I have to say, there were some fantastic designs this year on some of these dogs.
I knew in the hallway that night that I didn't have a chance with my simple design.
Nothing against the winners, but the person that I thought had the best design didn't even place.
I am not going to say who I thought deserved and award.
This particular contest is definitely personal opinion of the Judges.

Anyway, here are the pictures that I did get.

This Schnauzers design was hand stripped into his coat.

Sorry, I didn't get the names of  some of the groomers.

This design was groomed by Cindy Oliver.

This was a horseshoe design.

This dog arrived after I was in line.

My son quickly tried to get a picture.

Sorry the dog was not standing to show off the entire design.

 This is the best picture that I had of this little one.

This dog was groomed by Cat Opson.

I loved this one.

I was certain that I got a good picture of this cat.

Obviously I didn't.

This cat a was groomed by Beth Cornell Rex.

Such a sweet and beautiful cat.

I wish that I had gotten a better picture.

I really liked the design on this cat.

This was one that I really liked.

This dog was groomed by Adriane Pope.

I really liked this one too.

That is a sea turtle on this side of the dog.

The design on this side was a stingray.

This dog was groomed by Julie Pantages.

 This was one side of Angela Kumpe's dog.

She was still working on her dogs design in the hallway while we were waiting to go in.

Angela is a speaker and competitor.

I don't know how she manages to do half of the things she does.

This is the other side.

She was using a blow pen to highlight her design.

This was the Third place winner.

This is Lori Graig's design.

See the square pom-poms and tail too?

Lori's dog decided to chill out while waiting to be called in for the Judging.

This design won Second place.

This was the First place winner.

I am sorry that I do not remember the groomers name.

Well, I guess I have to show you my girl 'Lily'.
My design is so basic after looking at all of the other designs, but I will show you anyway. :)

I knew going in, after seeing all of the other designs, that I was not about to win any award for my design.

That being said, I was not happy with the Judging.

I understand that they are under a time restraint.

They have the dinner, the Best in Show awards, and the Abstract Runway to get done all in one night.

They had us walk the dogs down the runway towards the Judges, stop and show your dog to the Judges, and then walk back up the runway and off the stage.

The Judges only looked at each dog once.
They did not take any notes.
In my opinion they should have walked the dogs by a second time, picked out 5 or 6 that they really liked, look at those dogs again, and then pick the top three winners.
At least make it look like you really took the time to seriously consider each dog to help make the groomers feel like they did not waist their time and money entering the contest.

Sorry, that was just my little pet peeve.
Other than that, I had a nice time and really enjoyed seeing everyone's designs.

Once 'Lily' settled down and got used to all of the people, she chilled out and watched Jessica during her competition. :)

I don't know if I will compete with her again.

I could not let anyone pet her, because it freaked her out when someone would raise their hand to pet her.

I know that some people wanted me to stop so that they could look at her, but it was best to keep moving.

As long as she was not the center of attention, she was fine.

Other than that she was a very good girl the whole weekend.
She loved all the extra attention from me.

I'll be working on the Creative pictures to post soon.
I have a ton of them. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I just found your blog and it is amazing. I've been grooming dogs for about 2 years now and am just getting into the creative grooming part of things. Have a great day!!

  2. Beautyfull! Greetings, Claudia.

  3. Ps: can you please email me the newsletter, I love to read groomers info ;-)

  4. I, also, just found your post. Your dog looked beautiful! I hope you are proud of your work. I have found that one not only has to have a good design, but the dog must also like to compete to enjoy these types of compeitions/shows.

    Judging these is very subjective and novice, intermediate and advanced groomers are all judged together in the runway competition. This competition usually has so many entries that I think that it should be broken into levels/classes. But so far, it is not given the recognition it deserves...I think it is still in development.

    I can relate to your "pet peeve" feeling...been there. Hope you are not too discouraged. If you really want to pursue this type of competition do it and know that no matter what the outcome, you'll have a dog that will turn heads and be admired. You don't need a ribbon from a judge to prove that!