Welcome to my calling

Welcome to my first blog post ever. My name is Stephenie Calhoun, I am a mobile pet groomer with Calling All Paws in Lake County, IL.I’m certified by the National Dog Groomers Association in Non-Sporting and Terriers.

Photo by fotoJenic Photography

My best friend, Nibbler

I started on my journey to become a groomer 6 years ago when I bought a sad ball of fur I later named Nibbler off of Craigslist after a bad break up. I had no business owning a dog and spent my last $250 on what I was told was a neutered, up to date on vaccinations, potty trained, 1-year-old dog. When they brought him over I knew immediately I couldn’t send him home. He was a solid matt and stained yellow with urine. After scrounging up some couch money I went to Petsmart to get a collar, leash, and food. Then I asked about the price of grooming in the grooming department. That’s when it first started to hit me how much a dog cost. I knew I couldn’t afford to get him groomed regularly but I wasn’t about to give him up. He hadn’t left my side since the moment they put him in my arms. So I borrowed my dad’s clippers he had for cleaning up his dog’s hineys and headed home to do my first ever haircut.

 

Poor Nibbler didn’t stand a chance with his first haircut

Needless to say, his haircut was not cute for a while but I got to see what a bonding experience it was for us and I got to see how much of a difference my life was because of a dog. He had changed my life forever. Things started looking up. Six months later I met my now husband who showed me that it’s ok to follow your dreams and do what you love.  This prompted a career change and I left the medical field to work as a kennel assistant at a doggie daycare nearby. This is where I met Annie.

 

Annie was the quirky, always smiling, always talking, groomer that groomed at the daycare facility.

Turns out after a couple weeks of growing out he looked scraggly but super cute

We hit it off right away and Annie eventually taught me the basics of grooming a dog so I could start grooming Nibbler and my dad’s dogs on my own. That’s when I started doing my own research and started to branch out into learning on my own via videos, online forums, seminars, and books.

 

My next step was when I was given the chance to be the groomer at a different daycare facility closer to home. The owner took a chance on me and took me on despite my lack of experience, which I will be forever grateful for. I learned a lot and got a lot of practice. I kept studying and kept pushing and eventually got my certifications.

Photo by fotoJenic Photography

His haircut continues to get better through the years

 

 

In January I joined the ranks of mobile grooming which has been such great fun. I continue to study, go to seminars, and now compete in order to keep becoming a better groomer with the hopes of eventually becoming an industry leader. This weekend I am actually competing as the Illinois team captain (I’m actually the only competitor now due to other team members having other responsibilities come up) at the  IJA National Championship in Pittsburg.

I’ve started this blog as a way to bring my passion and knowledge for pet care to the pet owner. I will be posting Once a week on Thursday evenings. Originally, I had planned to make it a very proper, super educational post every time but as I started to put together posts I realized that my need for perfection was slowing me down so much that I wasn’t getting things posted. I’ve decided to loosen my reins a bit and I will still post those very proper, super educational posts but I’m going to do a lot more short posts where I just talk about what comes to mind that week.  If you have any questions or would like me to expand on things please leave a comment, send a message via the contact page of the website, or email groomingbystephenie@gmail.com.  

 

 

 

 

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