As dog pampering is becoming more popular, a dog groomers in Bristol is seeing more breeds coming through their doors.
We went behind the scenes to see the magic that happens when your dog is pampered, and to get stuck in with washing, drying and brushing the Gem’s own dog, Biffy.
With the help of her husband and an assistant – who has the job title of bather – Gemma Pocock, who has been a dog groomer for six years, grooms around eight to ten dogs a day, varying in size and breed, from short haired like a Frenchie to long haired like a Cockapoo.
Arriving at Gem’s Groom Service, owner Gemma introduced me to the first step of dog grooming – client forms.
She said: “We ask every new customer to fill in a client form. It gives us the chance to get to know the dog straight away, their likes and dislikes, any health issues, allergies, or behavioural issues that we should know about.
“This is not only for our safety but the dogs safety too. If we know in advance a dog is perhaps sore somewhere, we know to be extra careful ahead of time.
“The client form also enables us to identify any new lumps and bumps, as we can cross check with the form and notify the customer of any new problem areas.”
Once Gemma had finished stressing the importance of client forms, a friendly face popped out from a pen beneath the reception desk.
It was Biffy, the springer spaniel belonging to Gemma and her husband Dan, who I was shortly going to assist bathing, drying and brushing.
After I finished cuddling and making a fuss of Biffy, Gemma guided me into the ‘mucky’ room, where all the cleaning, and splashing, was due to take place.
Handing me an apron, which I’m very glad I wore, we scrubbed the ‘Christmas cookie’ scented shampoo into his fur and gave him a relaxing blueberry facial. We made sure he was completely lathered up and then rinsed him through.
After a thorough wash, we then used a high velocity dryer to begin the drying process. The dryer helped to remove a large amount of water and dead undercoat from him at the same time.
We then finished off the drying process in their drying room with another high velocity dryer and a stand dryer to make sure he was completely dry, whilst combing and brushing him through to make sure there were no knots or matts.
This took around 40 minutes.
Once Biffy was dry, we moved him to the styling area, where Gemma checked and trimmed his nails, clipped out the fur from between his pads, and trimmed his tail, whilst talking me through these processes.
She said: “Once he/she has been bathed, dried and combed, I take them out onto my styling table where I will use different clippers, depending on the thickness of hair, to cut their fur.