Sometimes, grooming gets a bad rap...
But, grooming is so much more important than just making dogs look "pretty." Removing mats, trimming fur, clipping nails, cleaning ears, and other grooming measures are all essential in keeping them healthy and comfortable. This extra care and attention can also help reveal hidden medical issues (i.e., abrasions, masses, etc.) that need to be treated.
And, although we know to look deeper for their true beauty, basic grooming also helps dogs put their "best paw forward," which can mean they find their forever homes sooner. Or, at least we hope so.
Sweet and lovable Ziggy getting a bath.
He was adopted a few days ago.
Thankfully, Upland Animal Shelter has been extremely lucky over the years to have long-time, dedicated lead volunteers who spend some of their time bathing and grooming many of our dogs. Dedicated volunteers who don’t mind being splashed with soapy suds by wagging tails, showered with a post-bath shake, or covered in fur. Caring volunteers who talk calmly to the dogs who are fearful and scared maybe because they've never had a bath…and don’t want to…all to make sure they are clean, healthy, and ready to go home. We heartily thank you!
At times though, some of our dogs, like Debbie, are in such poor condition when they enter the shelter they need professional grooming that just can’t wait. Just for starters, Debbie had layers of mats that we knew would take a long time to remove.
For those difficult cases, we have been going to Scrubby Puppy at 1125 E. 16th Street, Suite 3, in Upland or Alta Pet Center at 659 E. 15th Street in Upland for professional grooming for many years. We also started a Grooming Fund to be able to pay for expert assistance. In Debbie's case, we sent her to Scrubby Puppy and she came back a new dog. We even made her our Grooming Fund mascot.
We knew it was just a matter of time before Debbie found a good home. The “New Family” photo is our favorite kind of “after” photo.
Debbie "Happily Ever After"
Because we know the importance of good grooming, imagine our delight when we got a call from Chris Jackson of West Coast Grooming Academy saying he wanted his students to start grooming our dogs on a regular basis.
If you haven’t heard of them, West Coast Grooming Academy has established a unique niche in that their students learn to groom in shelter environments. It's is a win-win situation since it ensures a steady supply of animals for students to groom and increases the number of animals who are groomed - more than would otherwise be possible with our dedicated volunteers and limited funding. West Coast Grooming Academy believes in giving back to the community and their motto is,
“Where compassion, dedication, and true style is born!”
Being a local, Chris was familiar with Upland Animal Shelter and thought the shelter would be a great place to train his students. We thought so too. We started the program in September. Now that it’s been in place for a while, one of Chris’s head groomers and trainers, Amanda, is heading up the program.
Every other week on most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Amanda brings students and equipment to the shelter to groom as many animals as they can. Luckily, the shelter has a room in the back with a large bathtub and enough space to set up grooming tables where everyone works together.
The Big Tub
Portable Grooming Table
Typically, Amanda and her students try to groom anywhere from 6 to 10 dogs every time they come to the shelter. The number varies depending on how much each dog needs - just a bath or the “works” – a bath, clipping, brushing, nail trim, ear cleaning, etc., plus how much experience the students have gained, and how fast they can work.
Just like a professional salon, they handle all shapes and sizes of animals with all types of coats and personalities. Here are some moments during a recent day at the "salon."
Thank you, Chris, Amanda, and West Coast Groom Academy for these wonderful transformations. This is exactly the kind of arrangement that not only helps students gain skills but also helps abandoned animals stay healthy and have a better chance at their second chance.
If you want to learn all the expert grooming techniques from start to finish, West Coast Grooming Academy offers both professional and personal classes. Visit their website to learn more.