Running a dog groomers and pet shop with a love of dogs can sometimes be very frustrating and I feel we are often misunderstood.
I have had an innate love of animals since the day I was born…. My parents bought me my first dog when I had chickenpox aged 4, I can remember that day like it was yesterday my mother getting me out of bed to see what my father had brought me home.
I went into the hallway and there was a funny box with lots of holes in it… they coaxed me to open it, I can remember seeing the excitement and glee in their faces, having no clue what it was about… then I opened the box…… there she was a beautiful golden cocker spaniel puppy, the love was instantaneous, and she was my best friend through a turbulent childhood, and country moves, I learnt the love of a dog is pure, constant, forgiving and unconditional.
I got my first dog as an adult in my late twenties, having left a career in the fashion industry to work for myself , one of the motivating factors was that I traveled a lot which I felt didn’t work with having a dog.
Fast forward a couple of decades and running a business around dogs…. I absolutely love what I do, and everyone who works at Woofs To Kittys shares this passion for dogs.
The challenge is that it is a business, and unlike many businesses the customer isn’t always right, as the welfare of the dogs is number one to us, this sometimes puts us at loggerheads with clients when they bring in a very matted dog, and insist on the dog being de-matted. Its very simple, we will not do it, we know the reality of how this impacts a dog. Even with the great tools we have its uncomfortable, the bottom line is if you get a non shedding breed your dog has to be brushed regularly and groomed every 6-8 weeks, this is a source of huge frustration, people say ‘its expensive’ or ‘I don’t have the time’ if that’s the case get a short haired dog that is low maintenance, don’t make the dog suffer for your lack of research before you bought the dog.
The other thing that many don’t realize is that even if you clip off a dog there is a greater risk of nicking a dog when you are shaving off a ‘pelt’. Areas like the armpits and the sanitary area are very sensitive, if you have to shave close because of matting it can cause ‘shaving rash’ , between the pads the hair if left a long time can become hard as rock, and its really uncomfortable for a dog to have someone digging out the hair between their pads. We had a dog absolutely screaming this week when we were trying to get rock hard hair out between his pads…. You should also think about how uncomfortable this is for them to walk.
Of course we want our clients to be happy, and as I’m sure I speak for many groomers when I say we don’t like shaving off dogs, we much prefer to have them looking gorgeous and fluffy. This isn’t always the best thing for the dog and that always comes first at Woofs To Kittys.
Our love of dogs also applies to what we stock, we only sell products that we feel are 100% ethical for the welfare of your dog…. Focusing on quality and style, I don’t sell anything that I wouldn’t give or use on my dog.
We are not about bling or accessories that humanize dogs… I know in this day and age this sets us apart as dog clothes are all the rage, but I can see dogs even hate just a basic coat to keep it warm and dry, let alone things around their heads or frilly clothes that bother them.
We only stock harnesses that fit a dog correctly and sit below the soft tissue on the neck and behind the front leg so they don’t cause chaffing in the armpit.
If you knew how often I get a roll of the eyes when people come in wanting a ball for their dog (see previous blog) I sometimes think I’m a bit crazy standing by my beliefs but losing sales, but it matters that we do the right thing for dogs, as they cant speak, and I hope that we give them a voice.
We are constantly trying to improve and expand our range with fun interactive toys and activities, and lovely chews, which if you give a dog a choice is the first thing they would go to.