... has come and gone.
Groom Expo in Hershey has come and gone again.
Jess and I had a great time this year.
We were very busy at Groom Expo this year.
We arrived Thursday night and got settled into our hotel room.
I was competing with my red Standard Poodle 'Hunter' this year in the Abstract grooming competition.
As I was checking into the hotel, the manager was making small talk and was telling some stories of how some hotel guests had let their dogs destroy some of the rooms earlier this summer.
She also informed me that if a dog destroyed anything in the room there would be an extra charge of a '$150 pet damage fee' added to the bill.
I wasn't worried because we never leave our dog unattended in the room...ever.
I even wrap my dogs leash around my arm before going to bed to make sure that I wake up if my dog wakes and gets off the bed.
So, we get the card key and go to our room.
Now, let me just say, we have been staying at this particular hotel in Hershey for the last 7 or 8 years, and for the most part the stay has always been good.
Is it the best hotel?
No, not even close really, but the rooms have always been neat and clean, and they allow dogs!
While checking in, the hotel manager had also mentioned that the hotel had remodeled the first floor rooms over the winter and were not going to allow dogs on the first floor do to the new bedding, but in the end they had to, because a RV show was going on at the same time as the expo and all of their rooms were filled.
I guess my idea of a remodel is much different than the hotel managers idea.
We were given a room on the first floor.
We walked in the room and stopped.
The new bedding was all white except for a brownish section of the top cover that was at the end of the bed.
Who puts all that white bedding in a hotel?
But that wasn't what really made us stop, or what made me take pictures and then go right back down to the office.
The hotels idea of a remodel was to change the bedding and that's all!
That was okay.
I didn't really care what color the bedding was as long as it was clean.
There in lay the problem!
The room was filthy!
The floor was so stained.
The carpet had not been vacuumed.
There was spilled cereal still on the floor.
The chair and ottoman were also covered in stains like the carpet.
(The lighting in this picture is bad.)
This is the white coverlet on top of the bed.
It is a little hard to see in this picture, but there is a large dull yellow round spot that was right in the middle of the coverlet.
This is the brownish piece on the bottom of the coverlet at the bottom of the bed.
You can clearly see the stain on this cover.
I was not going to have my dog blamed for all of these stains.
I was also not about to sleep in that bed.
So, I took pictures right away and then headed down to the office.
I very nicely explained the condition I found the room and told them that I had taken pictures and did not want my dog blamed for all of the stains in the room after we checked out.
The manager apologized right away and sent someone up to clean up the room.
Of course they could not do anything about the stains on the carpet and furniture, but all of the bedding was changed.
The manager had also looked up the history of the room to see which maid was to have supposedly cleaned that room.
She also looked up the last person to use the room.
It has been a family with three children and two dogs.
There is a good chance that we will be staying at different hotel next year.
The next day was Friday.
I was competing in the Rescue Clip-in at 2pm, so Jess and I had about 3 hours to shop in the trade show before the competition.
The Rescue clip-in competition was held in the parking garage bathing area.
The lighting is horrible.
The bathing area is set up in the back corner of the hotels parking garage with only four spot lights to light up the place.
If you placed in this competition you moved up to the winners circle Rescue Round-up competition on Sunday in the main ballroom.
All of the groomers competing pick a number and that number is assigned to a rescue dog.
I picked the number three.
As I walked over to find the dog I would be grooming, I noticed that a couple was standing to the side with two very large Airedales.
They couldn't possibly be part of the rescues.
I walked over to the large group of rescuers and a lot of smaller dogs.
None of them had my number.
I turned to the couple with the Airedales.
I thought to myself; 'oh good grief, I know one of those large Airedales is going to have my number.'
Don't get me wrong.
I like Airedales, even though the ones that I have groomed over the years were not always the best behaved, and a lot of the ones that I had groomed seemed to always come in matted.
Not only that, but the couple of Airedales that were regulars got 'owner requested grooms'.
Meaning that were not groomed to breed standard.
I was having a small panic attack.
I was racking my brain going over the correct pattern in my head.
Was I remembering correctly?
The Airedales were part of an Airedale rescue.
The older couple were the people who were fostering them.
When I took the dog from the foster, she told me that he was very sweet but that he was a leaner on the grooming table.
We all love a large dog to lean on us while trying to groom it. lol
She also proudly announced that she had bathed him the day before, so he was all ready to be groomed.
I informed her that bathing was part of the competition.
She seemed concerned.
What did that mean?
The dog was not good for the bath?
He turned out to be a very sweet dog.
Yes, he leaned a little but I was able to get him to stop.
He was also in good shape with no matting, but even though he had just been bathed, he was still filthy.
The bath was quick because the Airedales hair soaped up so nicely and he was very good in the tub.
Unfortunately there were not enough HV dryers to go around.
I had to dry him with a stand dryer.
I kid you not....I have not used a stand dryer in almost 15 years!
I hate them.
With a passion!
And let me just say, after using a stand dryer to dry that entire Airedale straight from the tub....
I still hate them! lol
It did not help that three of the six legs that hold up the dryer were so loose that every time I moved the dryer around it almost crashed to the floor.
It was an experience trying to dry an Airedale that wanted to jump off the table and keeping a big dryer from falling to the floor at the same time.
On top of all that, a groomer that was behind me was having a difficult time with an elderly Poodle that was trying to bite her.
I got really tired of listening to her scold that Poodle the whole time instead of working with it.
Every time she yelled at it, she made my dog jerk.
That's a whole other story.
On top of not being 100% sure that I was doing the proper breed cut, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my thinning shears with me.
At one point the Judge was right behind me watching me scissor the face.
All I could think was; 'she is probably wondering why in the world is this groomer using scissors on this Airedales face instead of using thinning shears?'
Well, I was not surprised that I did not place.
I was sure that I had somehow messed up the pattern on the Airedale.
The groomer that groomed the other Airedale that had come with mine won 1st place.
Her dog looked great!
Even though my Airedale had more hair, her Airedales hair had a beautiful texture and finished look.
The foster couple that had brought the Airedales were very pleased with how both dogs turned out.
After giving the Airedale back, my daughter and I went back into the bathing area to clean up and collect my tool box.
As we were cleaning the judge came over to me.
She told me how she judges the competition.
She said that as she watches us groom she narrows it down to five of the top grooms, then she picks 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
She told me that I was in the running to place in the top three until she did the hands on judging.
She told me that between the two Airedales, the one that won first place had the better finished look to the coat, but that my Airedale was 'spot on'.
That made me feel good.
I had remembered the breed standard cut correctly!
Anyway, it turned out that one of the groomers that had placed in the rescue clip-in already had a spot in the winner circle rescue competition on Sunday, so as her 4th place pick she was asking me if I would like to compete again on Sunday in the Winners Circle Rescue round-up.
Of course I said yes! :-)
I am sorry that I don't have any pictures of the Airedale.
My daughter tried to take some on her phone, but the lighting in the garage was so bad the pictures look awful.
We forgot to bring my camera that day.
On Saturday it was Jessica's turn to compete in the second Rescue clip-in.
I was looking forward to just sitting with Hunter and watching the competition.
My angle was killing me.
The tendinitis in my angle decided to act up a few days before Hershey and I was once again wearing the silly boot.
While my daughter was setting up her table the judge approached me again.
She had been called upstairs to one of the classes and wanted to know if I would help out with the competition since I had competed the day before and knew how things were run.
She would be back in time to do the judging.
There was someone else in charge, I was just helping.
Jessica's rescue dog ended up being a matted Westie.
He was very sweet but very hyper.
She was able to dematt him and do the Westie pattern on him.
Jessica did not place either, but she did a great job on a dog that fought for everything.
This was one of his calmer moments.
By the time Jess returned him to the rescue, her arms and side were covered in scratch marks from him constantly trying to jump off the table and Jess holding him to keep him calm.
Right after the second Rescue clip-in was finished, it was time to get Hunter ready for the Abstract competition Saturday night.
We had about 2 hours to get him bathed, dried and ready.
No dinner for us till after the competition.
I will post pictures of the Abstract competition tomorrow.
Oh, one other thing...
I met several groomers at Hershey who came up to me and told me that they read my blog.
That was so very nice of them.
I wish I remembered all of their names but I am the worst at remembering names.
It was very nice to meet you all.
I hope you had a good time at the expo. :-)