ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– June 2013
Luke Chang, a current ABC student, resides in North York, Ontario, Canada. He has two daughters, ages 20 and 23, who he raised on his own. For the past 11 years, Luke has worked at the Mathematical Research Institute at the University of Toronto and plans on retiring from the company in a few years thanks to its excellent retirement package. Upon retirement, Luke wants to move to a smaller city where he should have a better chance at success as an owner of a grooming business.
- How long have you been grooming?
I have been grooming my own dog for about a year and a half now. I’ve clipped her nails, brushed her teeth, treated her ears; done shave downs and, of course, bathed her as needed. She is a Shih-Tzu and my first dog.
- What was the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I faced was handling the animals that came in scared and unsure of their surroundings. I overcame this by referring back to ABC’s written curriculum on how to work with scared or frightened animals and reviewed the steps I needed to take in order to make the animal’s grooming experience as calm and smooth as possible.
- What grooming technique do you hope to master on over the next 12 months?
I plan to master all breed cuts as well as advance my skills in clipping. I think of grooming as an art and would like to be the best I can be. I would also like to customize my own styles and be comfortable conducting any type of cut requested of me.
- What is one thing you learned not to say to a pet owner?
I learned to always educate pet owners instead of questioning or placing the blame on them for their pet’s condition. Some owners are just unsure of what it takes to maintain a pet and do not need to be scolded for it. Instead, as a groomer, I feel it is my job to educate them so they can begin to take the necessary steps to maintain their pets.
Not too long ago, I had a customer come in to the shop and ask for a specific breed cut for her pet. Once I begin to groom the animal, I realized he was too matted for the style she wanted. This dog needed to be de-matted and shaved down and once the hair grew back, he then could be styled as the owner requested. I came out and explained the situation and also provided her with tips on how to manage her dog’s hair. She was able to leave the shop with more knowledge than she came in with and I was glad that I could help instead of criticize.
- If you could style a dog or cat after any celebrity, who would it be and why?
If I could style a dog or cat after any celebrity, I would choose Angelina Jolie. I have always loved her style and respected her as a person, humanitarian and actress.