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Unconventional Self-Care For the Ambitious Groomer
The Long Haul: Achieving Longevity in Your Grooming Career
Massage for Groomers Not Just a Luxury But a Necessity
Creating a More Peaceful Workspace
March 2023
“The Grooming Industry’s Trade Magazine”
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Contents | March 2023

by Jonathan David


Chelsea Ward: Prioritizing Self-Care and Mindfulness While Still Doing it All, photo by Elliot Ralph Photography

by Jen Phillips April


Editorial Staff
Todd Shelly
Chief Operations Officer
Assistant Editor
Gwen Shelly
Managing Editor
Rebecca Shipman
Luke Dumberth
Laura Pennington
Brandi Aurelio
Cassidy Ryman
Allison Smith
James Severs
Karin Grottola
Britany Smith
Kathy Hosler
Daryl Conner
Mary Oquendo
Jonathan David
Deborah Hansen
Dr. Cliff Faver
Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins
Blake Hernandez



Groomer to Groomer March 23 Cover
Copyright March 2023. Groomer to Groomer is published monthly by Barkleigh Productions, Inc, 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. Postmaster: Send change of address to Groomer to Groomer c/o Barkleigh Productions, Inc., 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. Annual U.S. subscription rate $25. Outside U.S. $79. year, surface rates. Groomer to Groomer is free to current Barkleigh Productions, Inc. customers. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. Editorial offices: 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. (717) 691–3388 FAX: (717) 691–3381 Email:
Grooming Gab
Don't Believe Everything You Hear (Or Think)
by Kathy Hosler

Can you imagine hearing constant criticism like this all day, every day? Some groomers don’t have to imagine it—they live it. And, the worst part is, all the demeaning, belittling comments and put-downs come from themselves!

Comments like these are called self-criticism and they can be psychologically devastating when a person is constantly subjected to them. Self-criticism is when you harshly evaluate yourself, focusing on the perceived flaws and shortcomings in your behavior, abilities and personality.

For some, it begins with negative comments and criticisms they receive while they are growing up. Those childhood experiences lead to feelings of worthlessness, a poor self-image, anxiety, guilt, self-doubt and more. As adults, these individuals struggle with a continuous internalized dialog of toxic self-criticism.

But Why?
Highway overhead sign with title "The Long Haul: Achieving Longevity in Your Grooming Career" on it
I’ve been in the pet grooming industry for 34 years, and the longer I’m in this profession, the fewer lifelong groomers I seem to come across. I remember all those years ago when I would meet people for the first time and we’d exchange basic information about ourselves—things like where we lived or what we each did for a living—and I had the occasional experience where somebody would say, “Oh, I used to be a dog groomer…”

I got stuck on the words “used to be,” because upon entering the grooming profession, I hadn’t thought of an expiration date on my career. I invested myself wholeheartedly into this profession and put all my eggs in one basket; this was it, this was the plan. I never once thought about it being temporary nor had I thought about a completely different career path down the road. So, I had to ask them, “Why did you stop?”

The answer was always the same: “I couldn’t physically do it anymore.” I remember the first time I heard that response, it really went to my core. I remember thinking to myself, Will this be me? I didn’t have a plan B; there was no back-up career waiting for me down the road, so I had to make this work for the long haul. I had to figure out a way to avoid having my career become too physically exhausting.

Derm Connection
What Does Holistic Mean to You Title Image
by Dr. Cliff Faver
Aometimes we take for granted the effects that marketing has on what we think and believe. We hear some of these terms so many times that we start believing they are important…whether we know what they mean or not.

I am commonly asked at tradeshows for a holistic shampoo. My question is always, “What is your definition of holistic?” Some typical responses are “all natural,” “scent free,” “chemical free” or “preservative free.” However, what most don’t realize is that all of those are also marketing terms. There are no laws or regulations that apply to pet grooming products which standardize those terms. They are all terms we hear commonly and believe them to mean something.

So, what is the true definition of holistic? In simple terms, it is a matter of taking care of the whole, not just the individual parts. In medicine, we simplify it to mean taking care of the mind, body and soul…and I am still looking for that product that affects the soul of the pet.

Groomer Story
woman standing face to face with a horse
Prioritizing Self-Care and Mindfulness While Still Doing it All
by Jen Phillips April
Feature Photo by Elliot Ralph Photography
Chelsea Ward is a dog groomer, yoga teacher, birth and postpartum doula, an equine Hanna somatic practitioner and a homeschooling mom. She’s juggling a full schedule, but still manages to prioritize self-care and time management like an Olympic athlete.

“The vast majority of my self-care comes in the form of drinking water, going to bed early, working out, and cooking a healthy meal when it would be easier to eat out or skip it entirely,” Chelsea shares.

There’s science beyond these basics of self-care, which Debbie Kralik, RN, PhD, defines as, “The process of adapting to changes in life and learning ways to deal with all the physical, social, and lifestyle changes and disruptions.”1

Grooming Matters
Creating a More Peaceful Workspace
by Daryl Conner
Most pet groomers I know spend 40 hours a week or more at work. And since we invest such a sizeable chunk of time in our workspace, it is a kindness to ourselves to create a work environment that is as pleasant as possible. Working in a place that supports our physical and mental comfort makes our workday more enjoyable, and the positive effects are likely to spill over into other aspects of our lives.

To start, take your senses into consideration when trying to create a pleasant workspace.

Groomer’s Guide
Massage for Groomers: typography
top view illustration of woman getting a back massage
Not Just a Luxury But a Necessity typography
by Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins
I am a true believer in the science of massage therapy as a self-care tool, and it is extremely beneficial for the very physical job we groomers do. In addition, published studies support the medical science benefits.

According to the Mayo Clinic, massage benefits can include: reducing stress and increasing relaxation; reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension; improving circulation, energy and alertness; lowering heart rate and blood pressure; and improving immune function. While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia related to stress, low back pain, myofascial pain syndrome, nerve pain, soft tissue strains or injuries, sports injuries, temporomandibular joint pain, and upper back and neck pain.

Of course, the Mayo Clinic advises that, despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care, and you should let your doctor know you’re trying massage and still be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.

Unconventional Self-Care for the Ambitious Groomer

by Denise Heroux

“Self-care is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation”
– Audre Lorde

It’s no secret that our society has evolved into a highly fast-paced environment. We see it everywhere we look and experience it every time we leave our homes or need to schedule an appointment.

We live in a world where technology allows us to have everything we could possibly need right at our fingertips. It allows us to access answers to questions within seconds of asking, keeps us connected to our loved ones easier than ever—and who doesn’t love getting what we need delivered right to our doorsteps within a matter of hours?

I know my time is extremely limited, so every little thing I can do to alleviate those burdens is a huge asset to me. However, the downside of this constant access is that my business is right at my fingertips. My work emails, social media notifications, scheduling software and the ability to run my business is right there in front of me— all the time. The pressure to stay on top of the never-ending to-do list, the high (and sometimes unrealistic) expectations put on us by being a part of the service industry and the demands of running a business with employees stretches any entrepreneur or groomer extremely thin.

Mary’s Musings
Not as Efficient as You May Think
by Mary Oquendo
illustration of women multitasking with multiple limbs

ou’ve got a dog on the table, you’re answering the phone and also checking that Facebook notification…all at the same time.

Sound familiar?

You think you’re being productive, but, in reality, it’s an inefficient use of your time. (Unless you’re in the two-and-a-half percent of the population that can actually multitask.)

There are two types of multitasking: The first type is trying to do two things at once. For example, you’re grooming a dog, then you stop to answer the phone, you go back to grooming the dog and then stop to text another client. Or, maybe you’re updating a client’s file and you stop to answer the phone, then your groomer informs you they’re out of ear cleaner, so now you need to place an order to a vendor before they close for the day, and then somebody walks in to ask if you’re taking new clients. But, it’s all related work.

The second type of multitasking is referred to as context switching, meaning you’re distracted by something. For example, you’re grooming a dog, then your phone dings and you check out the latest drama (The post is up to 253 comments, this is getting good!), you go back to grooming the dog, then your co-worker asks to borrow your scissors and you stop to give precise instructions on how to care for your tools.

Elevate Your Grooming
Maximized Miami Trim with Some Solitaire Spice typographic title in orange and red
by Blake Hernandez
A portrait photograph of a dark black colored Poodle dog sticking tongue out posed on top of a pedestal
A portrait photograph of a dark black colored Poodle dog posed on top of a pedestal in a left side perspective with the finished Miami Solitaire patterned variation trim
The Miami trim is one we know all too well; short and manageable with all the quintessential Poodle grooming details like bracelets and a topknot. This article will detail how to spice that up with a “Solitaire” Poodle pattern variation.
Yes, Dear…
Stirling title typography
by Anjie Coates
Professional headshot of Stirling with a St. Patricks background
Photo by Anjie Coates
Stirling is a Furloughed Favorite Lab from the National Education for Assistance Dog Services organization. She wasn’t meant to be a service dog because her favorite things are eating and sleeping. She’s a monthly regular in the salon and loves spa day.
  • Scissors
    I open the door and Stirling trots in off-lead with her brother Ajax, another Furloughed Favorite.

    “Hi guys! Head on down to your beds and we’ll get you in the tub in just a bit,” I say.

    Ajax shoves the half door open to go greet everyone before retiring to his bed.

  • Dog
    Stirling yawns and leans against me: “I love spa day.”
  • Illustration of golden retriever standing at the fee of a person
  • Scissors
    “I know, honey. You’re going in the tub in just a minute,” I tell her.
  • Dog
    Stirling saunters up the ramp and lays down in the tub: “I’ll wait here.”
Show Schedule
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4 Day Conference, 3 Day Trade Show, Groom Team Sanctioned Competitions, & More!
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Central NH (Lakes Region) well established Grooming shop for sale. Looking for an ethical, exceptional individual with a minimum of 3 yearsof full time experience. Currently a one groomer schedule, but could easily be more as I haven’t taken new clients for years. Located in a standalone building. Building owner would consider selling also. Email a detailed resume to for consideration and more information.
Call (717) 691-3388 ext 224 to place a Classified.

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Groomer to Groomer
Thanks for reading our March 2023 issue!