The Mobile Dog Groomer & Her Inspiring Story
Introduce yourself to us Kimberly.
Hi, I am Kimberley, just a little over 4o, although I like to think of myself as 21 plus VAT. I live with my partner of ten years, Dean. When I first came to Tenerife, I moved in with him. This was just as ‘somewhere to stay’ while I found a job and a new home. I never moved out, he’s a little greyer these days!
Our family is comprised of a son, five years old (going on 15) called Lucas and a small, but ever expanding zoo! The first two dogs, Mya and Lucy we found inside a bin aged around five months old. Number 3 dog is Perdi. We think, judging by his injuries had been thrown from a car to fend for himself, luckily he chose our doorstep to turn up on. It took me two weeks to get anywhere near him but he and Lucas are now inseperable, they even sleep together.
Then there is Millie who is partially deaf, we think due to being hit as she is petrified of sticks. We rescued her because as she is so small she was at risk of being attacked by the other dogs and, well, I just couldnt leave her could I! Next, our completely deaf rescue kitten Molly, again Molly just turned up on our doorstep a few weeks ago. Molly was very very poorly but thanks to Sharon and Theresa at Cats Welfare she pulled round. She is now a happy healthy four month old loveing nothing more than annoying our dogs by attacking their tails as they walk past. Lastly, our five fish, Ryder, Chase, Marshall, Skye and Olaf. We all live happily together at “Casa Doolittle” on The Canary Island of Tenerife.
What was the inspiration behind training to become a dog groomer and how did you go about getting trained?
I have always loved animals, as you can tell by my first answer and I have always wanted to work with them somehow. At the time we had just the three dogs who’s hair just seemed to grow so fast I couldn’t keep up. A trip to the groomers, always ended with me tangled up in three leads and swearing, a lot. So, I gave it a go myself. I absolutely loved it and discovered I had a knack for it so thats when I decided dog grooming was the career path for me!
Having researched becoming a mobile dog groomer by studying here in Tenerife, I couldn’t really find anything and the courses I did find, you had to be fluent in Spanish. I speak Spanish quite well but I still struggle with understanding. I looked at online courses and found Open Study College, NCFE certificate in Level two dog grooming was ideal. It meant I could study whilst living here as there were no exams. I completed the course, getting a Distinction in every essay. Well done Kimberly we say!
The practical side of training I had to take on myself. I watched Youtube videos, I read books, I practiced on our dogs and friends dogs. When I felt confident enough I decided to take on ‘real’ clients. I love the job so much, I get to spend every single day getting wet nosed kisses and seeing cute little wriggling bottoms! Each time I groom a dog I learn something new. It really is without a doubt the best job in the world, I just LOVE it!
Tell us about your time working as a volunteer at the shelter
I contacted a few refuges and explained that I was training to be a dog groomer and I would like to volunteer to groom the dogs. Here I could practice my skills and the dogs would look more presentable to potential owners. Sadly a lot of people overlook “scruffy” dogs as they cant see whats underneath, which is really sad. I started volunteering at Tierra Blanca which is an amazing refuge with great staff and a wonderful vet. There are over 600 dogs here with more coming in everyday so they are always absolutely desperate for volunteers.
The first time I went I just sobbed, it was just heartbreaking. Every single dog there cried out in the hope someone would choose them to take home. A heartbreaking experience but I managed to groom a dog who had the saddest little face I had ever seen. I made sure to take lots of before and after photos. We posted his little face on social media and within a few hours got a queue of people wanting to meet him.
He now has a loving home where they spoil him rotten, thats the moment I knew I had to put my feelings aside and become a true professional and carry on what I had seemingly just started. I learnt to keep my tears in check until I got into the car. I focused on giving each dog lots of love, cuddles, affection and playtime, Then I made sure I posted their photo and details online. The dogs I tidied up started finding new homes, a few of which I still have contact with as their groomer. It’s amazing to see how much they progress, from sad, unloved, unwanted dogs to a beloved, happy, playful member of the family.
The story of a little lady named by the staff as Muneca always stands out to me (I called her Dolly). Dolly looked like a bag of rubbish, so completely matted, so much so she couldnt go to the toilet properly. She smelt horrendous, it clung to my skin for days. I gave Dolly a haircut and underneath was the most beautiful little pup. Dolly was so happy to be mat free she was skipping around like a little lamb, the happiest of little dogs. As always I posted her little face and her details on social media. Incredibly and wonderfully, less than 24hours later her owners came forward. Amazingly Dolly had been missing for over a year. The next day, the family happily reunited and a much needed lesson about why your dog needs a chip learnt.
One thing I learnt for myself, refuge dogs are amazing. We adopted one from Tierra Blanca, little Millie. They are just the most loving loyal, sweet dogs who never forget who saved them. A lot of people wont adopt a refuge dog as they consider them ‘damaged’. I find this not necessarily true. They have just experienced more life than other dogs and they all deserve a chance, they just need someone to give it to them.
Why did you decide to be mobile as opposed to a shop or working from home?
I decided to be a mobile dog groomer for a few reasons. Firstly, I can work my appointments around Lucas and school. This means I get the luxury to balance my work life with my home life. Many dogs dont particularly like to go to a salon, maybe because its similar to having a trip to the vets. I have clients who had a very bad experience with previous groomers that scared dog and owner alike. This is fully understandable, four legged children are not ‘just dogs’. Being mobile I go to my clients home, I groom their pets, not only in the comfort of their own home but I groom in front of the owners. If need be, the owner can be right there next to them to hold their paw.
Another reason I prefer to be a mobile dog groomer is I get to know the dogs really well. Careful scheduling meaning I never need rush my appointments. I get to know their character, their little quirks, their likes and dislikes. I notice all their lumps and bumps, I am also able to pick anything out of the ordinary. The dogs also get to know me, although I think they mainly see me as ‘the chatty lady who brings treats’.
I also get to know their owners really well and have become friends with a few to a point where Dean & I have the honour of being invited to a wedding in April.
What are your favourite types of dog to groom?
I have to say my favorite type of dog to groom are the rescue and refuge dogs. These dogs are just so grateful that someone is taking the time to pay them some attention. They really appreciate a show of love, affection and feeling a whole lot better.
This is especially true of dogs who are absolutely covered in mats and probably have never been groomed. Some are a little scared at first, not being used to the noise of the clippers plus the confusion over what is happening. The look on their faces when they can see for the first time in months, can give themselves a good scratch or are finally able to feel a gentle human touch is just an amazing feeling.
At the refuge I groomed one dog with a really matted coat and once groomed found his tail very confusing. This tail seemed to be following wherever he went. He had so much fun chasing it, I dont think he had ever seen it before. Of course i do have a few favourite clients but thats a secret between me and them. I love each and every one in their own little quirky way. I very often come away from my appointments with a dog hair beard where I’ve handing out kisses. On occasions I have only just remembered my face needs a wipe before I make an appearance in public. I do think I was gaining a reputation in our local supermarket as the English lady with the beard!
What do you do when you are not dog grooming?
When I’m not dog grooming I just do the usual ‘mummy’ stuff. I spend time with my little boy, who is the absolute love of my life. We love snuggling up on the couch with our four legged babies to watch a film with a big bowl of popcorn. I love spending time with my friends, usually on playdates with Lucas.
Not having family in Tenerife to help with babysitting can be tricky. But Lucas is now at the age now where he can go off and play while I can catch up on all the Tenerife gossip. Theres a lot of boring stuff like housework to do. I often liken housework to trying to dig a hole in the sea and repeat the words “I give up, I give up, I give” like a mantra. Family days are my favourite but sadly are fairly infrequent as we juggle a ‘one in and one out’ schedule. However, when we do get a day off together we make the most of it will a full family day out.
Favourite holiday – Beach or City?
Its ten years since I’ve had a holiday but my I have two favourites. Firstly a seaside holiday, in a private cottage on the beach somewhere. Not one for crowds of people, I prefer being able to relax and just go with the flow. That said, my dream holiday is Disneyland, Florida while Lucas is at an age he will love seeing all of his favourite characters. I will have to groom several thousand dogs first, please form an orderly queue!
What are your top tips for owners before they decide to get their dog groomed?
My top tip for owners is to start the grooming process as early as possible. Get your pet used to a brush and have them professionally groomed while they are still a puppy. They then realise grooming is a part of their life and nothing they should worry about.
Brush your pet regularly, especially if they have a long, or curly coat that tends to mat easily. It can be difficult for a groomer to give your dog a longer style if there are mats to remove. Plus it can time consuming and even painful for your dog. A quick brush once or twice a day keeps your dog mat free and used to grooming. Cut the coat short and start over if your dog has become very matted.
Where can we find you?
Being a mobile dog groomer I am always on the go! You can find me on Facebook under Kimberley Holdsworth or you can call me on +34 628 850339. I never answer my phone when grooming as my full attention must be on my client. Just text me or leave me a message, I will get back to you pronto!
Kimberly made a little wish list of goodies that she loves from the Pepeloves Shop!