ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month– August 2013
Sara Uhalde lives in Red Bluff, Calif. She began her path toward becoming a professional groomer in May 2012, when she started the grooming program at Animal Behavior College. Sara did very well in her externship and even though she has not graduated yet, she was hired on as a part-time groomer at Rub A Dub Dog Grooming and is loving every minute of it.
- Was grooming your first choice for a career?
I admit grooming was not part of my career plan; however, I feel everything I did led up to it. I have always loved working with animals. And I am very lucky to have had many animal-related career opportunities and employment experiences, including being a veterinary assistant. However, grooming is what I feel I have the most passion for. It was actually my mother, who was once a groomer herself, who inspired and encouraged me to pursue a career in grooming.
- What knowledge and experiences have you gained from becoming an ABC certified pet groomer?
I have yet to take my final exam and become an official certified ABC groomer; however, I have learned so much from this program. I found the videos to be very inspirational.
All my studying and chapter work gave me excellent knowledge and a strong foundation as a groomer. The externship was definitely the best part of the program. I loved getting the hands-on experience, tips and direct feedback from my mentor, who is a successful groomer and shop owner. I also found the Externship Evaluation Form to be extremely valuable and looking over it at the end made me confident I had successfully accomplished all of the grooming techniques and thoroughly experienced every portion of the business.
- What was the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
From the beginning, I was trying to decide if the shop I was performing my externship at was a place I would like to start my career as a groomer. Once I decided I really wanted to be hired at Rub A Dub Dog Grooming, I was faced with the challenge of figuring out all the ways I could make that happen. I let my mentor know early on I was serious about learning everything I could and about becoming an awesome groomer. I made a point to practice all of the tasks necessary to keep an efficient, clean and safe shop. The last day of my externship, I gave an updated, thorough resume to my mentor and at the end of that day I was welcomed on as an official groomer at Rub A Dub Dog Grooming.
- What is one thing you learned not to say to a pet owner?
When speaking to the pet owners, you do not want to use vague or elusive language. I learned how important it is to use descriptive and quantitative language with the pet owners, particularly when determining what exact style they would like their pet to have. It is important to use our tools, such as rules and pictures, when determining what style they would like their pet to have. This way, as a groomer, you have listened and understood what the pet owner wants.
- What are your plans for the future?
My future plans include continuing to build my career at Rub A Dub Dog Grooming and achieving my ABC Certification.. In addition, I want to learn more about cat grooming. I am excited to work more with cats and learn about this somewhat uncommon service. I also plan to continue my education by attending as many grooming seminars and workshops as possible. Lastly, I want to volunteer my time and skills to help cats and dogs waiting to be adopted into a loving home.