ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
Jennifer Antonacci lives in Hoboken, N.J., and came to ABC by way of the financial sector. After working as a vice president recruiter on Wall Street for several years, she decided to change her career path and become a certified dog groomer. Jennifer’s dogs—Charlie, a chocolate lab mix, and Sweet Pea, a Chihuahua mix—are both rescues. They inspired her to become a groomer and help other shelter dogs. Jennifer continues to work at her mentor’s shop and perfects her skills every day.
What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?
There were a few reasons. I wanted to incorporate my love for animals in my career and knew working as a groomer, either professionally or volunteer, would let me do that. Both my dogs are shelter dogs and I love being able to help other shelter dogs who are waiting for their forever homes.
What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
I am still learning everyday and know I will continue to do so. To be able to read a dog’s body language is definitely a challenge I faced. To be able to tell if they are in distress or need a break; I’m not sure I can ever learn enough about different dogs’ temperaments.
What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?
A couple weeks ago I was scissoring and it just hit me: I knew exactly what to do. I felt much more comfortable and didn’t doubt myself. I learn best when I am forced to do something on my own, I don’t over think what I need to do and eventually just know what needs to be done.
What grooming skill(s) or technique(s) do you want to master during the next 12 months?
I am constantly learning. My goal would be to know exactly what to do when a dog comes in. I want to be able to look at the dog and know which tools I will need and not second guess myself. My mentor, Erica, doesn’t ever turn away a dog; she is a phenomenal groomer. One thing she told me was “Even I’m still learning”. I want to be able to groom as well as her.
If you could work style a dog or cat after any celebrity, who would it be and why?
I would choose Ellen. She is a huge advocate for rescue dogs and her love for animals is something I know we both share. She seems like she would be a lot of fun to work with.