ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– April 2013
Shawntel Heidebrecht, of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, currently works along side her ABC Mentor at the Kingston Mills Veterinary Hospital, where she grooms all types of dogs and cats. Shawntel also hones her skills at home by offering grooming and bathing services to her friends, neighbors and family’s pets. After completing her ABC schooling, she plans to open an in-home grooming business.
- What animal or person most inspired you to pursue a career in the animal industry?
My dogs, of course; one in particular is my rescue puppy, Angel. She is the true love of my life ever since I first set my eyes on hers— but don’t tell my husband. Angel came into our family a little more than four years ago and she was in the worst possible condition. Being a puppy mill dog, she was pretty on the outside but sick on the inside. My favorite days were when she came home from the groomers; she would act 10 years younger for the whole week. I wanted to make her feel that way forever and make others feel the same way.
- How long have you been grooming?
I have been grooming my own dogs for a little more than two years. Animals have always been a passion in my life, even before I considered making it a career. I have been working with my ABC Mentor for two or three months. I love every minute of it and the hours just seem to be flying by.
- When and how did you know that you’d be a success in the pet industry?
I will never truly know until I have learned everything there is to know and more—and since grooming never stops changing, neither will my learning. How does one define success? If I make a dog look great and the owners smile from ear to ear, then I know I’ve done an awesome job. To me that is success; beginner or experienced, we can all be successes.
- What was the biggest challenge you have faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
Although I love working in an animal hospital because I am exposed to so much, it is sometimes hard to see dogs in horrible conditions. This is very tough for me. I do get to groom several pets, and I hope I make each one feel at least a tiny bit better.
- What knowledge and experiences have you gained from becoming an ABC certified pet groomer?
Working alongside vet techs has given me a lot more knowledge than I would have received if I was working at one of the larger chains. Not only am I learning the skills of my trade, I am getting to see what really goes on behind closed doors.