I have three of the cutest dogs, in my opinion, of course, and unless we keep their coats very short, the shedding covers our floors with never-ending hair balls. We used a brick-and-mortar dog salon, but the pups were actually having panic attacks after a few visits. So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to groom them myself. Luckily, my sweet three trusted me and didn’t understand they all looked as if they had barely escaped death by weed eater when I finished. The next discovery was the perfect solution as we found mobile grooming, and not just any mobile groomer, but Sirius Dog Star Grooming and Healing owned by April Estes.
April got started in dog grooming because of her dog, Tobey. After his groomer moved away, she didn’t know whom to trust him with for grooming. She trained in a big box store for a couple of years before she decided to work with anxious animals after her experiences grooming at that national retailer. “Dogs are a lot more sensitive than humans — particularly if they’ve experienced a trauma,” she says. “To them, going to a big box store or private grooming shop is an overstimulating environment.”
Estes made me realize so many reasons my dogs were so anxious. There are new noises (talking, music, barking), strange scents (other dogs, grooming products, groomer’s lunch), different lights (unnatural fluorescents) and unfamiliar people and dogs all happening at once. Adding to that sensory overload is the prospect of being kenneled for hours, balancing on a table on three feet and having head movements restricted by a slip leash.
All of those issues are removed when April offers the service in owners’ homes. “When I come into the dog’s environment,” she says, “I feel like I have an ability to understand what’s going on and make the dog comfortable during grooming. I have been referred to as ‘The Dog Whisperer’ by a few of my clients.” A certified reiki practitioner, Estes incorporates the Japanese technique for relaxation to decrease anxiety in her canine clients. I am thankful that now at my house, the weeds are the only thing that look like they have been hit with the weed whacker.
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