A passion for the art of grooming

Last updated 10:55 29/11/2012
GROOM
CIARA PRATT

PRETTY PUP: It takes master groomer Angela Anderson 10 hours to groom her dog Angel in preparation for a show.

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Angela Anderson, 46, lives in Massey with husband Dennis and children Tia, Blake and Damien. She talks to Ciara Pratt about her work as a dog groomer.

I started off grooming at home for a few years, just grooming dogs and cats and then I progressed on to photography and now I have a grooming school so I can train people.

It's called Angel's Grooming and Photography Studio.

I was looking for a change. Working in an office 80 hours a week and getting stressed I thought there must be more to life than this - and I've always really loved animals.

It generally takes two hours to groom your average dog with no knots in their hair.

With my dog Angel on show weekend, it's 10 hours. We can usually get through around 70 to 80 dogs a week.

It's probably the lowest paid job in the world when you think about how much goes into it but we all do it because we love it.

I think it is just like becoming a hairdresser and a skin analyst and a psychiatrist all at once.

Sometimes we get quite a few neglected animals through animal welfare and we've seen some awful sights. A good groomer will take an holistic view, it's not just about doing a dog's hair. Grooming is probably the only time where a dog will get a complete physical checkup and the only time you see the skin of a long-haired dog is when you blowdry it.

I've made a name for myself in dealing with difficult dogs so a lot of groomers now send the hard ones to me. You've got to read the dogs and earn their trust and move at their pace. That is a part I find most rewarding, having the dogs no-one else can do.

Sometimes we dye dogs, so for example we had a dog in a little while ago whose owner had died of breast cancer and the sister wanted the dog died pink for breast cancer at the funeral.

Dogs really like grooming and the physical contact - some dogs sleep through the grooming, mainly the young ones. At no other time will a dog get complete physical attention for such a long time.

These animals are people's babies and they are trusting us with them so we need to do the best by them and make sure they are comfortable and treated with respect.

They all have their own personalities. Border collies tend to be a bit mouthy but when you put a muzzle on them they calm down completely.

I'm on the New Zealand grooming team and every year we compete against Australia. Unfortunately they beat us this time.

We can groom cats but most groomers don't because they can be more dangerous - a bite from a cat can take your finger off.

I'm really excited because I'll be grooming an alpaca soon.

Even though I'm a master groomer now, I'm always learning. Grooming is definitely more art than science.

Sometimes I find myself grooming a few dogs even on my days off - it's definitely my passion.

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