ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
Barbara Messino lives in Ocean City, Md., and owns Tails of the Town Grooming Salon, which is located in Pittsville. Although she knew it might be risky, when the opportunity presented itself to own her own shop she couldn’t pass it up. Barbara uses the skills she learned in her externship every day and she reports that her client list keeps growing. She is always learning and having fun.
What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?
I really wanted to do something that made me happy and I was passionate about. I volunteer at shelters and the humane society and have had many different animals in my life. I can’t ever imagine my life without animals in it. There were many times I wasn’t happy with the groomer who worked on my dogs. In addition, I wanted to be able to offer people a place where they could bring their dogs and know they were being cared for like they were my own. I wish I had done this a lot sooner.
What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge for me during my externship was learning all the different breeds and how to do their faces. Each one had little differences, and people want their dogs cut in very specific ways. It was a bit overwhelming. I watched all the training videos over and over again, and once I felt somewhat comfortable, I asked the groomer at the shop I was at to let me clip the complete dog. We decided that she would do one side of the dog and I would do the other. This way I had something to go by and match up; from there I got to the point where I would do the whole face myself.
How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?
I did a lot of research about dog grooming, schools and programs that were out there for training. I went to a few salons and asked about on-the-job training, but after checking all of these things out, I felt it was important to be certified. I also liked the idea of being able to do this at home, except for the externship. All the course work I could do at my own pace and I needed that flexibility. The ABC Grooming program was the best match for me.
What has your experience been like in the ABC Grooming Instruction Program?
The ABC Grooming Program has been great. My program coordinator and externship coordinator were very helpful, answering any questions and assisting with any problems I was facing. The curriculum is very thorough, and the DVDs are great to see some of the grooming steps put into practice. I have had a great experience with ABC and I am very glad I chose to go through the program.
What grooming skill(s) or technique(s) do you want to master during the next 12 months?
The skill I would like to master in the next 12 months is to perfect the faces.. Since that is the first thing pet parents look at when they pick up their baby, its important they look great. I am learning new techniques all the time, using my thinning shears and scissors along with the clippers. I am going to perfect those skills and learn new ways to be creative in my styles.