Tell us a bit about your work and what inspired you to become a groomer?
I have always loved dogs. I actually think that I love dogs just as much as I love humans, they are family. My dog grooming journey began with my childhood best friend Billy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. As Billy reached his final years he struggled in the regular grooming environment and needed extra support. At this time, I was working a 9-5 office job, pretty miserable but optimistic that I would one day soon find myself a job that I truly enjoyed and felt proud of. After months of contemplating for every career possible I had the idea of using my passion for dogs to fuel my own dog grooming salon to help dogs like Billy. While working in my day job I trained as a dog groomer and after qualifying I groomed Billy from the comfort of an outbuilding that my Dad built for me from recycled materials. Every detail about the space was carefully considered to create the most comfortable and calming environment for dogs. After taking a big leap of faith I decided to work for myself and have dogs as colleagues. I am now lucky enough to have a whole range of dog customers that regularly visit me for their grooms.
Tell us about Travis and Henry and how they both came into your life?
From being born and raised in the Shropshire countryside I am very familiar with the spaniel breed. Travis is a working cocker spaniel coming from a long line of working dogs however, Travis is permanently retired and only fetches tennis balls or objects from the shed. He came into our lives shortly after we arrived home from a long trip around Europe and found the house to be empty without the patter of a four-legged friend. Travis filled a dog shaped hole in all of our hearts. He is wonderful.
We would take Travis to visit family and he would play with their dogs but once we would arrive home he would retreat to his bed and sulk for his own furry friend and this is when Henry joins our story. Henry is a blue roan show cocker spaniel; he is just a few days apart from Travis in age. They are the best of friends and do everything together however they have their individual quirks. Travis has to fetch and greet us with an object, whether that be a blanket, cushion or shoe. Whereas Henry likes to hoard our belongings such as socks, shoes and jumpers. He adores attention and can be very vocal if we are busy doing other things aside from stroking him. He will quite literally attack your head by wrapping himself around your neck like a sloth to smother your face in kisses.
Appearance wise Travis has big round eyes with a soft lying coat and is often mistaken for a springer spaniel with his long legs. Henry is the opposite to Travis with a blanket of fur and the most amazing waved fringe. Being a groomer I groom the dogs regularly and like to keep their coat looking as natural as possible. Travis has a quick bath & tidy and Henry is hand stripped.
How does having two dogs fit into your general working day?
Travis and Henry are early morning risers and like to wake the house up at 6am every morning, so I see them both for breakfast before my grooming day begins and in between grooms when I pop inside for a snack. They are totally unbothered by other dogs which means that I can groom peacefully while they are playing outside, without them barking at the salon door.
When you’re not working where do you like to head out with the dogs?
Most often you will find us at a National Trust, my favourite sites close to home are Attingham Park for the wild deer and the Long Mynd for the wild horses. The dogs both love open fields with a long stretch to run about, but equally we take them for our Sunday walks around the town which always end with a coffee and pasty from the corner bakery. They are very easy company in public and so they come everywhere with us.
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk, and what do you carry them in?
First and most essential item are their leads as they have a tendency to go into their own worlds and run for miles chasing after birds so they have brought back to normality from time to time. Pockets full of biodegradable poo bags. A huge scarf as I turn into a grumpy old lady when my ears get cold. A bottle of water for the boys along with their trusty collapsible bowl. Another essential would be their fleeces as Henry is like a sponge and will absorb all puddles that he walks in. My phone to listen to a podcast and card for the food at the end of the walk. All of which is either crammed into various pockets in my dog walking coat or carried in a tote bag.
What adventures do you have planned with the dogs for later this year?
I would love to take Travis and Henry with us to Cornwall for our annual family camping trip (global situation dependent), they love being by the sea and I find it to be the perfect place to switch-off. Aside from that, we will continue with the quiet life at home with evening walks around the fields.