As I was introduced on BBC Radio Norfolk’s mid-morning show, at the start of this month, presenter Edd Smith had been laughing with listeners about being ‘in the doghouse,’ a phrase we all know as a metaphor for “oops we’re in trouble.”
It made me smile. Our doghouse is a very special place. I said to Edd, “I’m in The Dog House every day” and there’s nowhere I’d rather be.
The Dog House is a humble little building, used originally as offices by our landlord H Banham. It’s a quirky layout inside and I love it. Realistically we’ve almost outgrown the space. Pre-pandemic we had invested a lot of time in planning a move to a larger premise. In January 2020, our dear colleague and friend died tragically. Corina had been a key part in our business development plans and then Covid struck and everything stopped in its tracks.
Over a year of lockdown, in all its various forms, has forced tough decisions for many people. We all know people who’s lives have changed forever as a consequence of this pandemic. I feel fortunate that I have remained Covid free and been able to work safely but I have also faced my own share of challenges and led me to evaluate what is really important in my life.
My husband and best friend Bob and our wonderful dogs are my world. The Dog House is my place of work. But it is also so much more than that to me. The Dog House has led me along an incredible journey to where I am today. It’s been a steep learning curve with so many highs and lows but what amazing lessons I’ve learnt. From a very inexperienced unqualified dog groomer working from home, eight years on I have a fabulous team of groomers who work side by side with me. The business is small and semi rural, just 8 miles from the beautiful beaches along the North Norfolk coast but we have an extensive, loyal and trusting customer base and we also teach and assess top national dog grooming qualifications attracting trainees from across the UK. I no longer feel the need to keep striving for bigger. I have realised that what I have makes me happy and by focusing on making this better I can truly enjoy a balanced life.
We are over the moon to have been accepted as an iPET Network approved training provider and spent our time through lockdown developing our dog grooming training structure and planning to ensure we continue to strive to provide the highest standards of quality, customer service and dog care possible.
iPET Network’s founders, Fern Gresty and Sarah McKay have developed an Ofqual regulated animal specific awarding body which is to me, a breath of fresh air. These two individuals have covered every aspect of what I have come to believe a truly professional vocational qualification should be and so much more. Hats off ladies, we are excited to be working with you.
In The Dog House is a blog I have been planning for some time. We have a very well supported social media presence which is a great medium for sharing the many wonderful doggie photos we take but there are so many stories and experiences we’d like to share too. In the UK dog ownership continues to grow and discerning customers are looking for the very best products and services for their family members. The dog grooming industry is flourishing and we are extremely proud to be a part of that, offering the highest quality of welfare and styling care and helping new dog groomers to realise their potential and achieve one of the profession’s most prestigious qualifications. For a work/life balance dog grooming is the perfect career choice for any self-motivated dog lover.
BBC1’s recently aired Pooch Perfect dog grooming show, hosted by Sheridan Smith, attracted 2.7 million UK viewers and opened many eyes to the skills and creative diversity within our profession. Sixteen very experienced and talented dog groomers went head-to-head to compete for the coveted title of Britain’s Best Dog Groomer. In each episode someone won ‘best in show’ whilst the others ended up ‘in the doghouse’ and I have to admit that my competitive side was momentarily roused, could I do that?
In reality I think I’ll leave any illusions of tv fame to the next generation. Who knows, perhaps one of our trainees will become a future dog grooming star? Wow that would make me proud. I’m going to continue to enjoy ‘growing better’ alongside my lovely team, right here in The Dog House.