Today I had the opportunity to meet Michelle Knowles, CMG at Tender Paws Day Spa, which is part of Animal Health Services in Cave Creek, AZ. I had agreed to be there by 9am to perform a working interview in order to assess my skill level so she could decide whether to hire me or not. I’ve wanted to meet her ever since I read her article about how to treat skin disorders in the grooming salon in the Groomer to Groomer magazine published by Barkleigh Productions. To groom in front of her was intimidating, I have to admit, but she was sweeter than I could have ever imagined! Even when pointing out things that I could correct, I never got the impression that I was being criticized. I could feel that she genuinely wanted to help me.
One thing that impressed me was the focus was all on the health of the skin. We were treating the skin first, and then the haircut came after that. She told me this morning, “The health of the skin is the foundation of the groom. If the skin is not healthy than nothing else matters because the foundation isn’t there.” Another thing that I learned today was that it is much better to comb out tangles, and perform any dematting after the dog is washed and conditioned with quality products. She said, “When the hair gets wet the cuticle, or hair strands, fill up and gains more elasticity. The products also repair the damaged hairs and seals them up, making the dead hairs easier to comb out. When the matted hair soaks up the water it swells, which makes it easier to demat.” Wow!! So I was wrong, it is better to wash first and then comb out the dog using quality products made specifically for a dog’s coat.
Another lightbulb moment for me was when she was explaining the different shampoos, oils, and conditioners that they use, which is all Iv San Bernard products (http://www.ivsanbernardus.com). Michelle showed me three different types of general maintenance shampoos and conditioners that are made for short, medium and long coats. I said, “Oh ok”, and nodded because that sounded simple enough. Then she added that by short, medium and long she means genetically coded lengths. I said, “What?” She explained that a Shih Tzu may come in with short hair from a recent haircut, but since it is genetically coded to be a long coat we use the “long coat shampoo” – it’s actually called Mela Verde: Green Apple. I said, “Wow!!!” She laughed and explained, “Because the three different coat types actually have three different types of skin and we’re treating the skin more than the hair. A healthy skin produces a healthy coat, and health is beauty.”
For those of you who have seen my YouTube videos, you will know that I always thought that brushing before the bath was the proper way to groom a dog:
After meeting Michelle today, I have to say that I will now be washing and conditioning the dog’s coat first before I begin any combing or detangling. Unless the dog is completely matted of course. Then I still believe that we should remove the matted coat and start over like in this example:
I’m so happy and excited to report that I got the job!! I will be working with Michelle Knowles, CMG and Dr. Cliff Faver’s excellent team at Animal Health Services beginning February 9th, 2015. I believe that this is not coincidence that we were rooted from Atlanta, GA so suddenly by a set of circumstances beyond our control. We had a successful and growing business there, but we had to leave everything to be here in Arizona to be with my wife’s family. I am a firm believer that our thoughts become our reality. Dr. Wayne Dyer says that when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. He also teaches that in order to change our lives all we need to do is change our thoughts. These are such simple ideas, but the actual practice of them is not easy. For many years now my passion has been to change the way we view pet grooming, and how the pet groomer is perceived by society. This is also Michelle’s passion and motivation, and I don’t think that our meeting today was by accident. I even wrote a book called The Art of Grooming: A Philosophical Approach to Dog Grooming in an effort to change our perspective on grooming, and create awareness on the topic of proper grooming.
Expect much more informative, and a few changes in my process in the new YouTube videos to come. Thank you all so much for all your support and encouragement! Until next week, Happy Grooming and Namaste 🙂