ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month– March 2013
Karen Carr lives in the Upper Marlboro area in Maryland. Aside from her full-time job as a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Department, she also works alongside her ABC Mentor, Nikki Lee, at Gentle Touch Groom & Go. With her mentor/co-worker’s assistance, Karen keeps expanding her knowledge in order to perfect her grooming skills.
- What animal or person most inspired you to pursue a career in the animal industry?
My police dog Cody changed my life forever. We worked together on a regular basis and some of my responsibilities were brushing and washing him. Unlike most police dogs, Cody had an all white coat. His hair was thick and coarse, and he constantly needed to be groomed. I was doing such great work that the other officers started asking me to keep their police dogs clean as well.
- When and how did you know that you’d be a success in the pet industry?
After I received Cody, I was grooming coworkers and friends dogs frequently and it became apparent that I had a natural gift not only for grooming but also working with dogs. I started to hone my skills on the police dogs in my unit, and later went on to groom the personal dogs of the officers and their wives. The more I worked with pets, the more I realized I could not go on without working with animals in my daily schedule.
- What services do you offer as a groomer?
I offer full-service grooming. I do not want to turn any dogs or cats away. ABC’s externship taught me that in order to become a successful groomer one must know everything about grooming: the good and the bad. My grooming and scissoring skills are combing, clipping, undercoat removal/care, trims and/or shaping. I also include anal glands, ear cleaning, nails, undercoat removal/care and teeth cleaning upon request.
- What was the biggest challenge you have faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was working full time and attending classes each day. It was very difficult at first, but then I settled into a nice routine that worked for me. I paced myself and made sure that each day I learned something new. I loved every part of my externship and am so happy I made the time to work with the girls at Gentle Touch Groom & Go.
- What knowledge and experiences have you gained from becoming an ABC certified pet groomer?
Patience. The most important thing when it comes to grooming and handling a pet is patience. When you and the environment remain calm, your dog will tend to follow. Grooming is difficult work and ABC prepared me for every wonderful part of the career I have in front of me. My experiences in the shop were all pleasant and I have grown as a groomer by watching and asking lots of questions.