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  • Need advice

    I have kind of a strange question. I have a disability that prevents me from doing heavy lifting. I can't lift anything over 20-30 pounds. I have wanted to become a groomer for a long time but figured that I couldn't do it after i got sick. But I keep coming back to it because I feel no other career would make me happy. I have no expierience grooming and am afraid to try and get a job at a grooming shop because they will need me to do heavy lifting. They probably won't even hire me in the first place. I want to open my own shop either a mobile one or one in my home grooming small dogs only. I live in Buffalo,NY and most of the dogs here are small so I don't think that would be a problem. But I still have no way to learn. There aren't any grooming schools here and I couldn't afford tuition if there was. We have plenty of animal shelters but I've read that people feel shelter dogs are too difficult for a beginner. Does anyone have any ideas of any way I could persue this career? Or is it pretty much hopeless? Thank you in advance! -Lindsay

  • #2
    I feel your pain! I've been grooming since 1986 and have had surgery on my discs in my neck twice due mostly to lifting. Even though I don't lift much anymore, I still have trouble and just had my most recent surgery 3 weeks ago. My dr. said I'm still "fragile" for the next month and will have to be careful after that as well--as I've been since the first surgery 8 years ago. I had my surgery the day after Thanksgiving and was back to grooming the following Wednesday. I have a hydraulic table that goes down to about 8" off the floor, and a tub that has a ramp into it. I use vari kennels to cage the dogs and have the dogs walk into them rather than picking them up. I have a bather for 2 hrs. in the morning and a part time groomer that helps in the afternoon.

    There are ways to get around your problem! I believe that you have to be very up front about your limitations and your desire to work in the grooming industry. I would encourage you to check out the good grooming schools, even if that means taking out a loan and being away from home for awhile. It would be great if someone in your area could work with you, but that's not always possible. I know that there is at least one groomer who is mobile and confined to a wheelchair. Anything is possible!

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    • #3
      There are online courses, books and DVD's that can teach you the basics. Do you have your own dogs you can practice on, or neighbors dogs? It might be slow going at 1st, but if you really want it, there is a way. I just started grooming at the young age of 54,, didn't get a break at school because of my age, had to do the big dogs just like every one else. I work p/t at a shop and I'm expected to do what ever is on the books, big or small, but I do get help with any thing over 50 lbs. I also do house call and there I work for my self and can set my own weight limits, that may be an option for you, once you lean to groom! Good luck!

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      • #4
        Can you get tuition paid??

        What I mean is, how about something through Social Services? If you have a physical disability, aren't there ways to get paid to learn a new career? Worth checking into...

        And you can certainly groom small dogs only. Many groomers do. A common weight limit is 15 pounds for those of us who want small dogs.

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        • #5
          I bought the All about dog grooming program a few years ago, which I really liked. I just can't find practice dogs. I have a big black lab that I can bath with some help from my brother and I can brush him, clean out his ears, clip his nails, but obviously can't learn to clip on him. I had a lot of friends before I got sick but that was over 5 years ago and I have since lost all contact with them. I was 15 when I became ill and am 21 now. So since my circle is so small I don't know anyone with a dog I could practice on. I could try the social services thing and see if I could get some help money wise there. That would really help me a lot. Do you guys think it would be too hard for a complete beginner to practice on shelter dogs. There are so many shelters here and I know a lot of them are small dog rescues. It would be my easiest bet but I'm afraid of hurting one of them because I'm not expierienced enough to keep them under control. What do you think? -Lindsay

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          • #6
            You don't have to do just dogs.

            Cat grooming is a great business, too, and VERY rarely is there a cat that's ever over 20 pounds. You'd be surprised by how many folks need their cat groomed, and the training for it is nowhere near as extensive as dog grooming. Just a thought.

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            • #7
              I agree

              that you could look into help with costs of school for someone with disabilities.

              You could talk to a shelter of your choice and explain your situation. Like anything there are horrible neglected rescues at shelter that are hard to shave and scary. But there are dogs that are just needing a fresh groom before a visit.

              It might work out that you put an add on Craigslist stating you are practicing and offer a free groom for a pet that is not in too bad of shape. I'm not too sure what you'd do about insurance but at least have them sign a disclaimer that might help if something went wrong.

              Certainly this can be done and doing a few little dogs out of your home would be lovely for your situation. Keep searching.
              Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.

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              • #8
                It's funny you should mention grooming cats because I have been thinking about that. The only thing is, is it possible to make a living only grooming cats? I have two cats of my own. A domestic short hair and a domestic long hair. So I would be able to practice with them. Do you believe in clipping cats? I don't think i could ever do that to my cat. I know how proud she is and i think it would devisate her.

                I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to try the shelters. I could explain to them that i am a total newbie and couldn't groom any difficult dogs yet. But I would love to help the poor little things that need a good bath. The thing that scares the **** out of me are the clippers. The whole razer burn thing puts me off. But I know it's a huge part of grooming and i need to get over it. Maybe i could test my skills on my brother's head when he's sleeping,LOL! -Lindsay

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                • #9
                  HI there you should look into your local VESID program and see if you qualify. They can allow you to doa work to learn with a shop if they validated by NYS. I know because I did this a few years ago for someone the VESID offfice came out looked over the biz, asked me to write up a program and did a bit of background check on me and approved me to teach her. I was repaid a portion of what I paid her but they might also haveother training programs. Frankly I am looking to semi retire and go on the road working with groomers who want to be able to learn to groom or improve their skills in basic pet grooming with an emphasis on speed and correct profiles. Also see fi there is an AIM office by ou they are pretty helpfulw ith education you about your rights in relation to state laws. I'm in the Southern Tier of NYS, too bad you weren't closer.

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