Budding beautician bathes bunny

Rabbit turns guinea pig for wannabe stylist

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 08:09 22/11/2013
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ

PAMPERED PET: Courtney Tait, 16, practices her grooming skills by bathing her pet rabbit Smudge.

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Courtney Tait knows great careers don't happen overnight, but they do happen.

Her pet rabbit Smudge is proving to be the ultimate guinea pig in the 16 year-old's aspirations to develop a dual career as a hair stylist and pet groomer.

The four year-old mini lop rabbit has become a truly pampered pet with her three-monthly bath which is not only shampoo and blowdry experience for Courtney, it helps keep Smudge blowfly free during the hot summer months.

The Nayland College Year 11 student has had her sights set on a career in hair and makeup since she was about five years-old. Her sister Rochelle is regularly practised on, rather than the usual line up of dolls with increasingly fried and frizzy hair. Lately it's been a set of mannequins bought off TradeMe, long-haired ragdoll cat Petal [who sports an unevenly chopped mane] and six year-old next-door-neighbour Hollie Trowbridge who loves having Courtney do her hair before she "goes out".

Mother Sharyn Tait said Courtney got her first rabbit at age seven, and Rochelle got a guinea pig.

"Over the years they have washed, bathed and blowdried the pets and put little clips in their fur."

Courtney said the pets' beauty regime started out with her clipping their nails. Pretty soon the neighbours got to hear and began dropping by with their own pets. She said the art of pet pampering was first making them comfortable with being held.

"The hardest part is when the rabbits kick water everywhere," she explained while holding Smudge over her small bath, while her nose twitched suspiciously. Petal placed herself decidedly out of reach in a quiet corner of the courtyard.

Courtney aims to develop a whole new business venture in hair dressing and pet grooming; perhaps even offering a dual benefit of combining a salon service with pet grooming.

"I enjoy doing makeup as well. I don't know where it comes from as no one else in the family is a hairdresser."

Mrs Tait is equally mystified: "I hated doing their hair when the girls were young dancers."

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