It’s a dog(groomer)’s life

Annette Cooper first wanted to be a dog groomer when she was 8 years old. She had a neighbor with an Akita that she occasionally played with. It was this neighbor that got her interested in grooming.

Cooper has been working for seven years now at Almost Home Pet Resort in Valrico. The owner, Betsy hicks, even paid for her schooling at the Academy of Animal Arts in Largo. During the 16-week program Cooper said, “you have to learn how different shampoos affect the skin, how to clip nails properly, the basic anatomy of a dog, and the patterns of each breed.”

Cooper herself has six dogs at home along with three cats, bald rats, and a snake.

“Love of dogs is extremely important,” she said.

Cooper said they aren’t your typical get-in-and-out-in-an-hour kind of groomer. “We rotate the dogs,” she said. “We do the medically needy first, puppies next because they get restless or need to out to the bathroom more often.”

She has two bathers there to help her. They do the nails, ears, bathing and brushing.

“To be a dog groomer, you must have a lot of patience; if you don’t have patience, you don’t belong in the business,” she said.

Although Cooper said she has been bitten a couple of times, she really has no horror stories.” I’ve been pretty lucky,” she said.

But she has had a run-in with a cat. “I literally had a cat hanging from my arm, all of it’s body weight hanging from it’s claws.”

Cooper said there are some things dog and cat owners need to be aware of: “The state of Florida has no regulation requirements; no licenses are required to groom dogs.”

She also said it’s important for people to realize their dogs should be groomed on a regular basis (which differs from breed to breed).


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