Pet grooming at Cascade and Breton is a cut above
Grooming is an essential part of your pet’s overall health – that’s one of the reasons we offer it as a service at both of our clinics. It’s more than maintaining their coat and trimming their nails. Depending on the breed or lifestyle of the pet, it can include a bath (sometimes with medicated shampoo), brush-out, dematting, ear cleaning, ear plucking, and more. To make the most of your pets’ time with us, we do things a little differently at Cascade and Breton than other grooming facilities.
Pet Care Supervisor Tiffany oversees bathing at the Cascade Hospital for Animals and has extensive experience in the grooming department herself. For her, the biggest difference is that, forthe most part, bathers give the pets baths before the groom, not the groomers (although groomers do step in and help with baths and drying frequently). “It means the pets are getting extra time and attention and not being rushed through to get to the next station,” she says. “The bathers are able to spend time with them, go a little bit slow if they need to, just get a little bit extra care there.” Because the bather is able to spend time with the pet, the groomer can focus her attention on the grooming tasks. “Rather than going straight from the bath to the grooming table, the pet gets a chance to rest and decompress a bit. Plus, they're building relationships with the bathers and the groomers and they're getting the full experience.”
Bathers are Pet Care Assistants, members of our team dedicated to care and assistance with pets, whether it’s in the Crate Escape Doggie Daycare, throughout the hospital assisting nurses and vets, or ready to get a little soaked in the bath area. “We get quite a few daycare pets who also come in for grooming,” says Tiffany. “When they see the bathers, they recognize them as their friends and it puts them at ease.”
Bathing can be a tiring and messy but rewarding job. A veteran bather herself, Tiffany has lots of stories of small pets trying to jump out of the bath, large pets sitting in the corner trying to make themselves small, and coming home with clothes (and a car) full of pet hair. One of her favorites involved a Golden Retriever. “She was just so excited to be here that her tail was wagging the whole time,” she says. “She just kept spraying the whole bathing room with soapy water everywhere. She just could not control her tail.”
Working in harmony
Everyone involved in the grooming process loves their job and works together well. Not having to rush to get in a bath and a groom means the groomers get to spend more time with the pet on the table and develop more of a bond with the pet. “Sometimes the pets get so excited to see their groomers they'll run from the bath to the grooming room door just to see their groomer” says Tiffany.
That bond also helps throughout the bathing process. “Groomers are able to step in and help if the bathers are having difficulty with one of their regulars,” Tiffany added. “Once I had (Groomer) Brittney come and talk to a pet so I could clean the pet’s eyes. She was having none of it with me, but just having Britt there, she calmed down and became a different dog and let me do what I needed to do.”
“The groomers also let the bathers know if the pet is a ‘first-timer,’ and that means the bathers will ease them into it and make sure they’re as comfortable as possible,” says Tiffany. “The communication between the groomers and bathers is a big part of why it’s such a positive experience.”
Always learning and growing
Groomers have a passion for their job and love learning new ways to make the grooming table a more comfortable place for pets to be. “They attend pet grooming conferences and expos to stay up to date on techniques and learn more about their jobs,” says Tiffany. Recently, a former staff groomer who is also a trainer gave a talk on handling reactive pets during grooming sessions. “They liked that and had lots of questions for her,” says Tiffany. “They’re always looking for ways to improve how they work.”
For both groomers and bathers, the job can be taxing on the body. “You have to restrain,” says Tiffany. “It's lifting the dogs up into the tub, up onto the table, and then it's a lot of repetitive motion. You're holding the sprayer and then scrubbing the dog, and some dogs will fight it more than others.” At the end of the day, it can be very tiring. But it has its rewards, says Tiffany.
“Especially if you get a white dog that comes in just super filthy, and to get them as white as possible, that's rewarding. Then just seeing the matted dogs before when we're bathing them, and then seeing them after the groomers have worked on them. The difference is huge.” She adds, “Some of them, you can even tell, will go in kind of mopey, and then when they're done grooming, they just can't stop dancing.”
Enjoy some of the highlights of "a day in the life" of our amazing groomers and bathers!