ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– December 2014
Kimberly Hardy has worked very hard to be where she is. She has done extremely well in the Grooming Instruction Program. Kimberly also worked very hard in her externship at Divine Doggies located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is not only a student, but also a part-time groomer and a strong supporter of animal-rescue organizations.
What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?
I wanted to work with animals all my life. I was interested in going into the medical side of the animal industry so I took an animal science course. I volunteered at Pawsitive Match, a rescue organization in Calgary, which I found while looking for a reputable rescue to adopt a new furry family member from. At Pawsitive Match, I walk the dogs, give them flea medication and put in the microchips. With the microchipping, I realized how emotionally challenging the medical side of the animal industry could be. While doing the bathing and brushing at Pawsitive Match and seeing the dogs so happy to have attention and relief, I decided grooming would be a better match for me.
What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
When I started grooming, I was really afraid of cutting and injuring a dog. The worst part was knowing how upset the clients would be that I hurt their babies. These animals we work with are so much more that just pets. They are family members. I would hate for the clients to be upset. I overcame this fear with a lot of practice and with the guidance and support of my mentors Charisma and Charlotte at Divine Doggies. With grooming, there is always a chance an animal could get hurt so you need to be confident in your abilities, listen to the advice and constructive criticism of those more experienced around you, and groom safely.
What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?
The most rewarding thing was realizing that I’m the “tail person” at the shop. If anyone needs a tail done, I am the groomer they come to. Charlotte and Charisma told me I do the “prettiest tails” in the shop. I am not even sure what I do differently, but it looks good. Clients are noticing it now too.
What one thing stands out for you in terms of knowledge and/or skills acquired from the program?
I have learned that each and every salon and groomer you meet does things differently. For example, I used to work at a different salon before starting with ABC and that shop hand-dried dogs. At Divine Doggies, they kennel-dry them. The ABC curriculum discusses the pros and cons of both methods so it was really interesting to see and experience these differences in person.
Have you started working professionally as a groomer yet? If yes, where? And are you working full- or part-time?
I have started working as a part-time groomer at Divine Doggies. I also started my own business out of my home in my small town. I am excited to continue learning under my mentors. I eventually would like to be able to build my skills so I can successfully groom a Westie without any help.