Why Groom Dogs?

A question I tend to get a lot is, “How did you start a dog grooming business/become a groomer?” and, depending on my mood, you might get different answers.

The short of it is that I love animals and it’s what I did to pay my way through college so I just took it to the next level.  I love the feeling of accomplishment you get when, after just a few short hours, you change the way a dog looks.  You free them from their discomfort, you get them clean and smelling good, and in such little time you can SEE the difference.  Instant gratification.

The real answer to how this all started?  It was the easy option.

Ok, ok, it wasn’t easy.  But it was easier than you think and easier than the ultimatum I gave myself.

Let me start from the beginning.

I went to school for Film, Electronic Media and Film at Towson University.  The first year of college I lived with my aunt and uncle, graciously, and I needed a job.  There were a lot of places I applied, a screen printing place, the media department at my church, Build a Bear, and a few other places. I started out doing clerical work at my college and working my high school job, but I knew I needed something more, something better than that.  I was offered two different jobs and had called to accept one of them.

Then, after having had an interview at Petco as a bather, and calling them back a few times, I finally got the call back that I had the job.  I  had to call the other job back to tell them I wasn’t interested anymore, canceling my first day with them.  Awkward, but I did it.  Honestly, I can’t say exactly why working as a bather at Petco was so important to me, but it was.  It was important enough to push for it and turn down two other job offers, and quit my high school job (which I loved, I worked for my friends’ dad doing media related things).  I guess I just really wanted to work with dogs.  Dad, Mom, I blame you for never letting me have a dog 😂.

It’s strange thinking how different life would be if I didn’t take that job that day.  That simple job that lead to, thus far, a ten year career.  So I was 19, I met some amazing people, and by one of these amazing people, believe it or not, was pressured into learning how to groom.  That’s right, I didn’t even want to be a groomer.  Back then it seemed like a lot of responsibility and I just wanted to get through college, but a good friend of mine built up my confidence and said some great things about me.  With that momentum, she then taught me how to groom.

I’m not going to lie, it was hard working at Petco.  I remember having some not so kind co-workers and some not so kind customers bringing me to tears on many occasions.  Not to mention the mistakes.  There are ALWAYS mistakes- how do you think we learn to do a good job?  After two year it was clear that Petco wasn’t for me.  Let’s be honest, corporate retail jobs lie somewhere between difficult and horrible.

After Petco I worked for a few private dog grooming salons.

You’re wondering now, is she getting to a point?  Who cares about all the places you worked.  Chill dude, it’s part of my story, I promise it’s important and at the end I’ll give you my short-long answer (so please jump to the end if you’re impatient, no skin off my back).  After working for 3 small business owners I had one question that drove me- how the hell are all these crazy people running their own successful businesses?

Maybe that sounds mean and I like to believe that these people I used to work for are doing great now and have worked through a lot of their issues.  Just take a minute though, to think about all the places you worked that made your stomach churn.  The places you were afraid to ask for a day off just for your sanity or for your birthday.  The places you worked (and I pray you haven’t had this) that felt like a sweat shop and you kept your head down to keep from drawing attention to yourself.  Yes, really, I worked in a dog grooming shop that felt like I couldn’t speak without having anything I said used against me.  Man, the days that the owner wasn’t there were the best.  Let’s be realistic though, I was working for someone else and it was never going to be what I wanted.  A realization I made at 21.

As a college graduate I gave myself an ultimatum.  I said, Ellie, if these people who lead with fear and make me feel horrible can do it, why can’t you?  I gave myself a year to mull it over after college.  My two options: move to the west coast and pursue a career in Film or start a dog grooming business because if I was going to groom dogs for the rest of my life, or any indefinite amount of time, it was going to be on my own terms and not someone else’s.  That’s how it happened.  After one long year of working full time after college for other people I decided I was done.

My last straw was feeling so sick to my stomach that I wouldn’t even ask my boss off for my birthday.  I knew I couldn’t work there anymore.  Instead of asking for off, I took the passive route.  A few days before my birthday I went back to work late at night, took my equipment, locked up, and threw the key through the mail slot.  I text the owner I was done and turned off my phone to enjoy an abysmal night of freedom before the reality of starting a business sunk in.

The few months to come between May and August 12th were some of the hardest I’ve lived through.  Not working, living off credit cards, begging people to rent space to a silly young groomer determined to be a better boss/business owner than everyone she had worked for.  But everyone who needed to came through for me.  It was stressful, but I got the chance I needed.  I worked the hours I had to.  I opened a dog grooming business that’s still standing 7 years later.

So how did I become the owner of a dog grooming business?

It was easier than moving across the country and following my dream of working in film.

I know, not the most delightful way I could put it.  But remember, I’ve said before, you can’t give up on your dreams.  Writing and Film are so incredibly important to me.  I love my job, but true happiness is met with ink and paper, story, score, and screen.

Here’s to a delightful life of grooming, writing, following your dreams, and sticking it to negative bosses who make you feel like $h!!!  If you have a dream pursue it, if you don’t, find one.

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To all the lost dreams…

It breaks my heart

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Some old songs from my HS band, Mission Improbable.
I pulled out my mom’s old guitar tonight and a huge stack of songs, poems, and random writings.  When I was a kid I had four main things I wanted to be, 1 a writer, 2 a veterinarian, 3 a kick ass musician, and 4 a filmmaker.  Currently working on writer, realized didn’t want to be a vet pretty quick because I have trouble with blood (but hey I groom dogs that’s close right?), and well musician I lost that battle in college when I put my focus on being a filmmaker.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A rock star, firefighter, teacher, writer, lion tamer, actor, chef!?

When did you first think, ‘maybe this isn’t attainable’ or ‘maybe this isn’t realistic’?  They’re thoughts we’ve all had and should never listen to!

It’s been 10 years since I graduated high school and it breaks my heart seeing the lost dreams of me and my peers.  This past year I pushed to publish my first book because, you guessed it, being a published writer has been a life long goal of mine.  I love my book, The Half Life.  It’s the first in a 7 book series that has been in my head for 10 years. TEN YEARS I have been thinking and dreaming about this book, the characters, the lives they live (live in my head, yea, I know, I’m a little nuts with people living in my head).  But last year I said enough is enough and got these people 1/7th out of my head and onto paper.  This November book 2 will be released, Army of the Almost Dead.

Why?  Because I’m tired of thinking about living my life and started living it the way I want to.  My full time job might pay the bills, but it doesn’t fulfill my heart.  Even though it means lots of sleepless nights and losing time with my loved ones.  Maybe its selfish, but there’s nothing more important than living the dreams you dream about everyday.

You know what’s better than dreaming them?  Living them!

I’m writing this for anyone who has ever had a dream that they looked down and kicked their foot around in the dirt, shrugging, and said ‘I dunno what happened… I just stoped’. I stopped playing guitar or I stopped making movies on my video camera because I thought, jeez, I’ll never live up to the greats.  Or I’ll never be good enough.  Let me tell you something, you are more than good enough and you don’t have to live up to one of the greats.  You only have to live up to you.

You can’t give up and start thinking.  Thinking is poison to dreams.  You can only do a dream.  One step at a time, one day at a time, with the bigger picture in the forefront of your mind every day.

Don’t say I can’t, because I can’t just means I never tried.  And if you have tried and you failed, you have to try again.  There’s nothing worse than letting yourself believe that you weren’t or aren’t good enough.  Don’t shrink your dreams, expand your ability.

Work harder, work smarter, and above all else always do what you love even if you have to do it broke or on no sleep because we only get one chance at this life.  I mean unless we are reincarnated then you get more chances, but more chances at a different life.  So focus on this one for now 😂

Don’t lose your dreams.

Write them down.  Here are my goals for the next 4 years!

5 books, among many other personal and professional goals.  Love your life by living your life ❤️

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Dreams are what holds this world together.

 

This is dedicated to my amazing musician friend.  You talents and beautiful outlook on life are so precious.  Don’t give up on who you are.

2017 – A Woman’s Identity.

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To Mr. & Mrs John Smith.

I know this has been talked about many a times, but clearly it bears repeating.

It’s been a little over a year since my amazing husband and I got married.  We have had a wonderful first year together and of course have had to work through a lot as well.  Marriage is not easy, but it is worth it (Love you Shaun 😘).

There is just one thing that I don’t get with such a strong emphasis on feminism and women’s right in the 20-teens, why is a woman changing their last name still such a big deal?  Ok, ok, don’t everyone get all up in arms on me here.  Yes, I do get it.  Having the same last name means no confusion everyone will know you are a family because your last name is the same (unless you guys look alike, then people may get you confused for brother and sister or mother and son, EW gross! 😂).  Parents and children will have the same last name so obviously that’s easier for school, and well all the mail that comes to the house will have the same last name on it, that’s important right?   I mean except for the fact that you’ll definitely still get mail with your maiden name on it.  And of course there is the many many many years of tradition behind a woman taking a man’s last name.

Here’s what I don’t get, why doesn’t the man take the woman’s last name?  Why don’t couples choose a completely new last name?  Why not hyphenate?  Why not just leave well enough alone and let everyone’s personal decision on changing or not changing their last name be their decision?  Because who the hell has time to change their SS card, driver’s license, all their bills, car and house deeds, and don’t forget those credit cards, oh and any place you have an account like the doctor or hair stylist.  I’m not even going to mention what a pain in the ass it would be for me, as a business owner, to change my name on every important piece of paper work and tax document for my business.  It gives me a head ache just thinking about it.

Ok, if you can’t tell already, I didn’t take my husband’s last name.  This is the root of my frustration.  I have chosen to go against the grain and am constantly ridiculed for it.  Fine, I get it, tale as old as- I mean tradition as old as time.  Who likes change anyway?

I have friends who didn’t change their last name, who have hyphenated, and who both husband and wife have both hyphenated/changed their last names.  All of these are awesome and hey, changing your last name to your husband’s is totally awesome too!  I’m not here to bash, I’m here to agree we should all make our own decisions and not be chastised for them ☺️.

Here’s what REALLY ruffles my feathers, like completely and utterly I do not get it and it actually hurts my feels (ok not like hurts my feelings, I’m not a child.  But it just doesn’t feel good 😜).  What I 100% do not get at all is writing something to a couple as Mr. & Mrs. John Smith.  Literally the sound of it makes my stomach churn.  When I see this on a piece of mail it takes everything not to scream and tear that shit up.  Why?  Do you really not even remember my name, is that the problem?

Ok, maybe I’m being dramatic, I’m sure it’s a ‘cute’ gesture and I should be excited to see it because we’re a family now.  And I am excited to see our names together.  Both of our names together.  Shaun ❤️ Ellie like a tween in my school notebook.  I’ll write Shaun and Ellie 4eva on everything.  Just for the love of God, don’t take my name away and refer to me as Mrs. Shaun.  I am my own person and I am not defined by who my husband is nor is my husband defined why who I am (for real can we call him Mr. Ellie Elisabeth 😂 #sendThatLetter).

Why do people feel the need to take away a woman’s identity entirely?  Write Mr. & Mrs. Smith or Smith family.  I get that, just use the last name it’s neat, easy, saves time.  Heck I didn’t even change my last name and seeing a letter that just has my husband’s last name on it addressed to both of us does not bother me one bit.  What bother’s me is taking away my identity and making me so and so’s husband.  Oh that’s the girl who married…. Really, it brings me back to grade school and being the third of four kids and being referred to as Ruth and Zach’s younger sister.  It didn’t feel go as a kid and I’ll be honest, it feels worse as an adult.

And try to get this through to a man or woman who has been struck by the tradition stick, good luck!  Deer in the headlights look all the way.

Flat out, feeling like you don’t get to be your own person just because you’re married is not cool.  Am I the only one who feels this way?  If so, bring on the backlash ’cause baby, it won’t change how I feel.  But I’m always open minded to hearing what you guys think 🤔😊🌺

If you’re a woman, I just want you to take a moment and think about who you are- woman, mother, sister, friend, hard working, creative, motivated, what ARE you?  Take a moment and say, I am ___(name), I am ___(adjective), and I am proud to be a woman!  (If you’re a man, be proud too 😉).  Just don’t forget how far we’ve come.  There was a day when we couldn’t vote or own property.

Personally, I’m moving forward and think my husband and I should both change our last name to Madagascar.  Ellie Madagascar.  I like the sound of that.  😜

 

 

Pet Peeves

But, let’s remember that there are so many other ways to start a conversation with your neighbor who is out for an evening stroll, other than *I’m judging you for owning so many animals*. Lets try a few, why don’t we?
“Hidey-ho neighbor!”

Most recent watch: Parks & Rec
Current listen: I’m an Albatraoz, AronChupa
Currently writing: LLG Book 2, Army of the Almost Dead, 30% complete.
Looking forward to: The Walking Dead this Sunday!

WHAT’S YOUR PET PEEVE

Could it be typos like too two to, tutu??  Or listening to someone chew gum?
Ok, ok, this is kind of a negative one to start my blog on, but we have to start somewhere.  That and I have this wonderful pet peeve in the back of my head.  I was reading Opera’s O magazine for March and there was a simple little interview with Josh Gad in it, where he expressed his pet peeve being gum chewing.  You know, Josh, who play Lefou in the amazing new Beauty and the Beast movie!
Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet GO!  It was an amazing experience on the big screen and with the amazing new dolby sound system at my local theater.  Lefou and some of the other male characters have some great gay/bisexual moments that have me head over heals for this film.  Just thinking about the homophobic catholics who love Disney cringing and preparing to boycott Disney over two men dancing together and another character enjoying accidentally becoming a 1700’s drag queen, riddles me with delight.  Times are changing and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of a more tolerant generation.
If that paragraph makes you happy, you’ll enjoy my blog.  If not head out, block me, ignore me, curse my name to the Gods.  Whatever you gotta do to be you.  Anyhoo, gotten totally off topic!
My pet peeve–other than homophobic Christians–involves my dogs.  Who out there has more than one dog?  *raises both hands*  I have a total of 3 amazing male pooches (and totally hope to add more fur kids to this sausage fest).  Maybe it’s just me, but people stop me all the time.  Not to tell me how cute my dogs are, well that does happen, but for another reason.  To ask THEE QUESTION that has spurred on this blog entry.
Are you a dog walker?  ARE YOU A DOG WALKER?  Let me say it just once more, are you a dog walker?  Why is it that this simple question irks me so much?  I can’t quite pin point it, but I have a pretty good feeling it has something to do with the idiocy of the question.
SCENARIO: You see someone walking not one or two dogs, but three and all three of these dogs are different breeds, sizes, and colors.  All these amazingly handsome beasts are totally better behaved than your dog, or your other neighbor’s dogs.  Well that must mean one thing, this incredible individual walking this trip-bodied Cerberus, MUST be a dog walker.  Who else could get three dogs to act normal on a walk and I mean, who would be crazy enough to have three dogs, let alone three dogs that are different breeds AND to be crazy enough to walk them all together.
Let me just clear the air a bit here, I get it.  It’s true, “are you a dog walker?” is just a simple silly question.  But what it implies is that anyone would be crazy to have more than two dogs, no one gets such diverse dogs (short haired dogs, long haired dogs, chubby dogs, skinny dogs, small, medium, AND large dogs.  A terrier and a shepherd?? When will the madness end?!), and the small implication of why else walk dogs unless you were being paid to.
I know, I know, I’m just being negative right?  Maybe they just want to spark up a conversation and my icy ‘nope, they’re mine’, and lack of restraint from rolling my eyes, is totally not cool.  I should be kind to my neighbors and blah blah blah.  I get it.  I love my neighbors because 75% of the time they leave me the heck alone, except of course when trying to go on a peaceful walk with my buds.  BUT.  But, let’s remember that there are so many other ways to start a conversation with your neighbor who is out for an evening stroll, other than *I’m judging you for owning so many animals*. Lets try a few, why don’t we?
“Hidey-ho neighbor!”
“Morning, neighbor.”
“What a cute dog!”
“OMG, you have a Frenchie?!”
“Nice kicks.” (Ok, this is a total lie, I need new shoes.  But one can dream)
“Hey!”
“Hi.”
“Hello.”
“That’s rad you have three dogs.”
Could so go on, but you get the point.  A question like “Are you a dog walker?” to a neighbor you have never spoken to before is totes reason enough for an eye roll and a pet peeve.  Judgement dude.  Judgement.  Please, judge me on my lack of lawn care, not my love for fury beasts.
Reread, edit, check for typos?  Nah.  Thanks for the vent.  Nighty night all.  Here’s to a great weekend.  ✨🌜💫