From the Editor
Hair of the Dog
Welcome to the Grooming Issue. We’ve got lots of good reading for you, whether you groom just your own conformation and performance dogs or offer your services to the pet-owning public.
More and more of us are finding ourselves in the position of changing jobs at some point in our working lives. Others wait until retirement to explore the options out there. Professional grooming is a career path being chosen by increasing numbers of dog lovers. However, the possibilities can be endless, and intimidating as well. To help us make sense of all those choices, we invited Melissa Verplank to share her expertise with us. Verplank is a Certified Master Groomer with more than 25 years’ experience in the industry. She is a noted speaker, author and grooming contest judge. Read her feature article “Back to School” (page 38) to choose the best option for you.
Why is it that novices still learning on their first would-be show dog seem to own a disproportionate number of expensive, state-of-the-art tack boxes? No doubt it’s done in the most optimistic, dress-for-success tradition. Buy those gleaming tools, show the world you’re a player, and the big wins can’t help but follow. An equally large number of old pros get by with their ragtag assortment of stuff hauled around in a gym bag. Writer and groomer Babs Land has words of wisdom for both groups in “Upgrading Your Tack Box” (page 42). Land is a firm believer in periodically weeding out your supplies, recycling and regifting. Most of us have been guilty, at one time or another, of lugging around toothless combs, rusted scissors and dull clippers because we procrastinate about taking periodic inventory. Don’t put it off any longer, Lands exhorts us. It’s time to lighten your load, quite literally.
It’s fascinating to observe how trends in grooming have evolved over time. As tools and techniques have grown more sophisticated, talented artists have showcased their skills, with dog hair the perfect canvas. Snip, strip, tease and carve to your heart’s content. Best of all, if you botch the job, hair grows back! From massive manes to more tailored trims, enjoy the visual transformation in Paul Lepiane’s “Grooming Styles Through the Decades” (page 32).
Healthy coats begin with healthy skin. Holistic veterinarian Dr. Randy Kidd discusses how to keep it that way in “Natural Skin Care” (page 46). He reminds us that health of the skin depends on a healthy and balanced hormonal input, and many skin conditions can be traced back to hormonal imbalances.
Some of our columnists, too, have tackled related issues. In her “Breeder’s Notebook” (page 14), Caroline Coile addresses problems such as seborrhea and demodicosis, whose source is not to be found in your grooming but rather, in your dog’s genes. Dr. Dunn investigates the sources of shedding in his “The Doctor is In” column (page 12). And Sue LeMieux’s “Showstoppers” this month (page 16) are the talented breeder/handlers Paul Flores and Tray Pittman, who together make up the successful PaRay partnership.
We hope you enjoy the issue.
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