I am sitting here on a rock so cold,
Listening to the sounds of new and old.
The new sounds-technology-sound so bold,
The old just whisper till your heart is sold.
Do not ask me why I sit here,
For I will not answer, just wipe a tear.
The sounds of old will disappear,
Killed by the new, as I fear.
As time will slowly weave its mist,
I find myself tightly clench my fist.
One day this rock will not exist,
Remembered only from a list,
Of things, that were in the past,
Even that list will not last.
Setting now, the die is cast,
Unless broken now it will hold fast.
Copyright 1995 (At Waters Edge)
Why I Stay a Groomer
Why a Groomer? It's a question I get asked a lot. I know my family thought grooming was an easy
way out, a non-ambitious career choice for me. Yep, those were things they said behind my back and yes it hurt, a lot. People
tell me grooming is an easy job, anyone can do it. Well, I see and hear about a lot of dropouts from the industry, people
who found it too physical, too exhausting, just plain too hard! So why am I a Groomer? Because for the ones who stay, the
ones who love it more than any other job, the ones who get satisfaction in a groom well done, it's more than just a job, more
than just a career, it's a Calling.
Why a Calling, you ask? Because it's something that comes from deep within me to do, I just can't
walk away, I keep coming back. I have suffered groomer burnout, birthed 3 children, held other jobs, but grooming remains
my art, my passion, my love. It was only when I was faced with the total loss of it that I realized how precious this gift
was. How much being a Groomer was a part of me.
In July 2000, I was in a car accident in which I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. In a matter
of moments my life was changed, only we didn't know at the time how much damage was done-that we were to learn about later.
In the months that followed, we went from doctor to doctor trying to get me back together. All I knew was I had problems with
my balance, speech impairments, shakes, the list went on and on. We wanted an explanation, a place to start so I could go
forward and try to reclaim my life. It was months before we got a proper diagnosis and explanation. In that time my business
was closed, then reopened, with another groomer doing the work, while I was trying to figure out the puzzle that was now me.
Which we did eventually, and with that knowledge came acceptance and with acceptance came closure. At that time I was advised
by one neurologist to consider grooming a past part of my life, sell my business, move on and get well. Which I did, since
it was a source of much stress and pain at not being able to perform as I had in the past.
I always joke "Old groomers never die, they just keep on barking up the wrong tree", well, this
old groomer couldn't stop. I continued to groom my own dog (Standard Poodle) and 15 months after my car accident I placed
him into a creative groom for Halloween. It made me realize how grooming would never be out of my blood, and despite being
in the process of selling my business, I knew in my heart I would never leave the industry altogether. So after moving to
a new home and spending the next year recuperating and getting myself back on track, I decided to see what time had done for
my body and soul and ventured back into a grooming salon in April 2003. To my delight I found myself not only able to groom
competently but able to make a living wage! I have my limits and know how far I can push them without a danger to my health
or mind. I stick to them as any Groomer should.
I didn't pick grooming as a career, it picked me. I cannot leave it behind nor can I go forward
without it. It is a part of me and I cannot change that. I examine every dog I meet or see and figure how its groom was done.
I give of my knowledge freely to those who ask (and those who don't!), for I feel deeply in my heart that what I have learned
must be shared, so others can walk their path a little more lightly. If I can make a difference today, then tomorrow will
be a little easier for someone else. To me, I am not just a Groomer, I am an educator, an artist, a business person.... a
friend to someone in need. If grooming was just a job, it wouldn't follow me home, inhabit my dreams, run my life or influence
my future. It is my Calling and it keeps bringing me back no matter where I go.
It is Who I am.
Copyright Annette Bamper 2003
Runner-Up www.petgroomer.com Essay competition