Every dog needs a bit of pampering: What it's like to be a dog groomer

From dachshunds and dalmatians to labradors and lurchers - every dog needs a bit of pampering.

Angela Warrington and Clare Pace opened Stinky Paws Pet Parlour 18 months ago
Angela Warrington and Clare Pace opened Stinky Paws Pet Parlour 18 months ago

Grooming is an essential part of caring for our canine friends, helping to ensure their coat and nails are always in tip-top condition.

Two people who love looking after dogs of all sizes are Angela Warrington, from Penn, and Clare Pace, from Broseley.

They first became friends while studying for their dog grooming qualifications at South Staffordshire College's Rodbaston Campus near Penkridge.

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Then 18 months ago they opened Stinky Paws Pet Parlour based at Baggeridge Craft Village and have been making tails wag ever since.

"Clare and I wanted a change of career. We kept in touch after college and I was grooming my friends' and family's dogs for free and Clare was volunteering at a place in Cannock to get experience.

"We decided to go for it and open our own business. I was in Baggeridge Country Park and saw the units advertised. It's a lovely spot, especially in the summer.

"Being a dog groomer is really hard work and you've got to love the job to do it. We enjoy it because we love dogs," says Angela, aged 42.

Dog groomer Angela Warrington grooms rescue dog Lola in a calming cradle

They see a wide range of different breeds with their canine clients ranging in size from the smallest - a chihuahua - to the largest - a giant schnauzer.

During Weekend's visit to the pet parlour British bulldog Rufus was enjoying a nice bath and blow dry and bichon frise Lola was booked in for a trim.

They were both happy customers with Rufus more than happy to be pampered and rescue dog Lola lapping up the attention as she was being groomed.

"They've all got their different personalities. Bichons are quite talkative and like to sing when they are having a blow dry. People seem to either love or hate flat-faced dogs like bulldogs and pugs but I love them. They make great noises," says Angela.

"The bigger the dog the softer they seem to be, it's the smaller ones that can be snappy. You get some grumpy ones, some hyper ones and some that just want lots of kisses," adds Clare who has a 10-year-old cocker spaniel named Hugo.

They offer one-to-one grooming sessions to ensure their clients get their full attention which can also benefit some dogs who may find the salon environment a little stressful.

"The dogs don't understand what you are doing or why you are doing it so it can be stressful," says Angela.

The friends met while studying for their dog grooming qualifications at Rodbaston College

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It can take between an hour and two and half hours to complete the washing, drying and grooming depending on the size of the dog.

"I think people are surprised about how much work goes into it. We like to make sure our dogs look and smell their best," says Angela.

"I think people like that it's one-to-one and we haven't got 10 dogs in here all at once. It's also open so they can watch them being groomed if they want to," adds Clare,45, who also works as a carer.

The friends,who also sell a range of accessories, food and treats, run puppy introductions to help younger ones get used to the different sights and sounds in the salon so it's less frightening.

"By the time they are ready for a full groom they will not be bothered by the different noises," says Clare.

The hairdryer can have mixed reactions with some dogs loving the hot air and others probably hoping that part of the appointment is over as soon as possible.

Most dogs enjoy being washed

"I've got a pug that sits on his bum against the wall and goes to sleep. He loves it," says Angela, who also works in customer services at Nationwide.

Some dogs take a bit of persuading - using with the help of biscuits - to get in the bath but once the water starts running they are quite content being washed.

For the dog groomers there are, however, some unavoidable hazards that come with the job such as getting splashed with water by dogs shaking themselves in the bath or nervous pooches leaving puddles - or something worse - on the floor.

"It's definitely not a glamorous job - you can't nip to the pub after walk because you stink," says Angela, who has eight-year-old cocker spaniel Harvey and five-year pug Bella at home.

But despite it being a somewhat smelly occupation at times, they are both loving every minute of their dog grooming venture.

"I'm quite a people person and I've worked in customer services since I left school. I love meeting new people and I love animals so it's a win-win job for me.

British bulldog Rufus gets ready for a bath

"The customers are lovely and have been so supportive. It's great when we get recommendations and seeing that both the dogs and their owners are happy," says Angela.

"I like seeing the transformation. A dog will come in looking all fluffy and will go out looking beautiful. Some of them you don't recognise when they are finished. I like seeing the end result and hearing the customers say they look gorgeous," adds Clare.

The friends are now looking forward to their annual trip to Crufts on Thursday and seeing all of the different breeds on show.

"We love going to Crufts, it's the highlight of our year," says Angela.

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