We are all creative in our own right, we are pet groomers, there is a deep love for the art that is in our hearts and heads and hands that give us the ability to do the things we love to do. I am a self taught pet groomer; it is something I always knew that I would one day do.
I thought how cool it would be to do hair, I just happened to be able to relate to dogs better than people, so to be a hairdresser was out of the question.
At 15 while I was babysitting the neighbor’s child I noticed this pet matt that was in the house and as my little charge lay sleeping I got a pair of scissors out of the kitchen drawer and went to work on Misty the pet matt. I found that she wasn’t a matt after all, hiding inside I found a little white poodle. Really, I thought I had done a wonderful job of freeing her from her captor, the matt. Misty on the other hand had grown quite attached to matt and hid sulking under the couch for 3 days.
My Great Aunt Vera who lived in Tennessee, had been a dog groomer for a hundred years (a slight exaggeration) but as a small child, I remembered her little poodles and how pretty she made them.
At 19 I talked my way into a grooming shop. The owner said to me “Do you have scissors?” oh yes I replied and pulled out my big black singer sewing scissors. Oh no Honey! This is more like it she said and put a small shear into my hand and then pointed me to the grooming room. I had no clue. A lady in that room sent me to the kennel room to retrieve a dog from a cage along with the information card that I would find clipped to the front of the cage. That was about it as far as instructions would go, poof I was now a groomer. Back then I didn’t know there were things such as grooming schools.
After a few years and job changes I opened my own shop, but I still wanted to get better at my craft. I was so delighted when I heard of this Pet Fair that was going to be in Atlanta. The first few years I only went on Sunday to buy things for my store since I had to work on Saturdays, I saw the competitions going on. I really wanted to do that to improve my skills, but being the big chicken I am around people; I put it off, until I could no longer stand it. I told so many of my clients that I was going to compete that there was no way for me to back out of it. I called Ann Stafford and registered. I competed in 3 classes and brought home 3 placements! Wow. I can’t think of a better way to get such valuable grooming lessons. To do the dog right there in front of (ugh) people and then get a critique. Then I found out some of these folks are certified! I mean I had been told that I was certifiable, but I didn’t know that groomers were.
Soon I began my quest for the NCMG It gave me a wonderful feeling of confidence and pride. I learned so much along the way. Oh but then I saw a most wondrous thing at this Atlanta Pet Fair, It was a form of art like I had never seen, Kathleen Putman had turned a standard poodle into a carousel horse. I knew right then, THAT is what I am supposed to do.
On the day I took my last test for my NCMG which I proudly passed, I was given a gift that would change me forever, Seasongs Ocean Pearl, a beautiful 12 month old Standard Poodle who had been a puppy of Shirley McBride’s. The bond between us was instant. A week later she was sporting pink ears and tail. She opened up a whole new world to me. Together we experimented with lots of coloring methods and at the next Atlanta Pet fair Pearl and I competed and won a 3rd place. I found that living “Works of Arf” are addictive and began to evolve each creation into the next as I continued to compete in creative with that 1st place always just out of reach. Donna Holtzer was now so amazing to me and I learned so much from her. And then came the day she said to me, I know it’s your time to shine. And shine I did. It was so wonderful, I was in Hershey, I was on stage, and I had a big trophy and had just tied with Donna for the Peoples Choice Award too! Pearl like gourmet jelly beans, once while in full color in her Jester trim I was asked, how did you get her like that? I tossed a jelly bean and as she caught it I replied,” color seeds”
There is a creative side to all of us weather we decide to do color or not. Everything we do is a Work of Arf! As a multiple Creative winner, I have gone on to teaching classes and have judged the Creative Competition in Hershey the past 3 years. NBC’s Today Show recently flew me to New York to be on the show where I put the NBC peacock on the dog live in the studio. There is a link to see it on the Klippers website. I have a DVD set available called Creative Canine Color & Design with Dawn Omboy available directly through Klippers.com. And the 4 hour Pizzazy class filmed at Hershey 2005available from Barkleigh. Last year I was even nominated for a Crystal, it was such an honor to be nominated.
It had been 3 years since I had done my last Creative competition and 7 since I had done any of the regular classes. I felt that it was time to get back out there to work on my grooming skills again. I would highly recommend doing this periodically just to keep your skills up to speed. It was really scary for me getting back in the ring after a 7 year absence. But I needed it, I learned from it and I am a better groomer for it. My goal was to walk out of the ring with knowledge. And that in itself makes me a winner.
The Creative part of it, well that’s just me, Making the World a more colorful place, one dog at a time.
Dawn Omboy NCMG has owned Klippers in Columbus, Georgia for 24 years.