Downeast Dog News

There are no stupid questions

By Phoebe Mendes | Apr 19, 2013

I've noticed as a Groomer that quite often I hear the phrase, 'I know this sounds stupid but how can I...?'  It occurred to me that, as usually is the case, people's lack of information was leading to their frustration while caring for their pets. So I started a Facebook Page called Ask the Groomer. I wanted to generate a dialogue with people about their pets in an environment where they would be encouraged and never feel like they were asking something 'stupid.' The fact is that so many people adopt or buy dogs without any idea what kind of care that breed needs. What I see the most is the ever popular Shih Tzu. When they are puppies they resemble nothing so much as a tiny ball of fur that simply wants to be held and give kisses. By the time they reach 6 months they tend to start looking like, with the proper application of a long stick, a floor mop. I can assure you that when you bring me your 6 month old dust mop and cheerfully inform me that this is Diddum's first hair cut- it takes an extraordinary amount of control for me to NOT throw myself on the floor and throw a tantrum. It's not that I dislike working with puppies, its that it is incredibly unfair for that puppy and its future groomers that its first grooming experience is not going to be entirely pleasant. However it is not the owner's fault if no where along the line did somebody tell them, 'You should bring that puppy to a groomer as soon as it is 12 weeks old.' The sooner I can start working with a puppy the less fear they will have about grooming and the less the chances are that I will have to shave it down to the skin.

There are no care instructions printed on a nice tag on the collar of your dog’s coat. It’s up to you as a new owner to research and ask questions and find out what it takes to care for this creature you want to make part of your family. If you are looking to get a dog from a breeder then make sure to ask as many questions as possible and if they can’t give you the answers then you probably ought to look for another breeder. However the fact that they are a ‘breeder’ doesn’t mean they are an infallible authority on dogs. There is A LOT of misinformation out there! It’s taken me almost 6 years of working in the dog industry to learn everything I have and I KNOW that in another few years the information I have will likely change. It is up to us as individuals to keep educating ourselves. After I finished my grooming internship I thought I’d been taught everything I’d need to know. After a few years working with people from different schools of training I realized I’d barely begun to crack the book on Professional Dog grooming. However I love to learn! What better to do with an education than share it with others? Why simply grumble quietly every time I am handed a matted puppy when I can try and educate my friends and clients BEFORE they adopt a dog that will need monthly coat maintenance when they already work 50 hours a week and have a baby on the way?

So I invite you to find me at and please ASK me questions! If you are looking at making an addition to your family but are uncertain what breed is the right fit for you I am more than happy to help! With flea season on the way and tick season already in full swing I am more than happy to give you tips on how to fight them! I would love to take the time to answer your individual questions and help you avoid frustration. There are NO stupid questions but there can be very stupid consequences for a pet if you don’t take the time to do the research. Dogs end up in the shelter every day because people didn’t understand the commitment they were making when they brought home the cute fluffy puppy not knowing it would become an 80 pound fur factory. Preventing matting and hotspots is the small picture for me. The big picture is helping people find a dog they can give a Fur-ever home to and knowing how to take care of it the very best they can.