We’re excited to welcome Ruthie to our fear-free grooming team. Ruthie has joined the team as our new Fear-Free Grooming Stylist & Salon Mentor!
Ruthie grew up in DC surrounded by animals. As a child, she had ten fur babies—three guinea pigs (Hercules, Xena, and Jeffery), four rabbits, one ferret, and two love birds.
When asked how she started working with animals, Ruthie says she has always felt like this industry chose her. “When I first started grooming, I found a grade school paper in my mom’s basement, who is the parent who keeps everything, and it said, ‘When I grow up, I want to work with animals and do art.’” When Patrick heard that he said, “that’s exactly what precision grooming should be considered: art on a living breathing canvas – animals. And it should not be painful or frightening for anyone involved. But it’s hard work and takes tremendous patience and skill.”
A few months ago, while she was working at Harmony Animal Hospital as a Fear-Free Certified Groomer, she met a former employee of Patrick’s Pet Care who highly recommended it as a great place to work. So when Ruthie saw an open position, she decided to apply.
“Of all of the business owners that I have met in the DMV, Patrick comes across as the one who I feel really genuinely wants everyone to grow. And I see that he backs what he says,” explains Ruth. “It felt like it was the right move for me to make at the right time in my career.”
Ruthie says she has seen first-hand how Patrick’s Pet Care is different from other grooming places. “Patrick’s brings a level of customer service that I have not seen, with a level of respect to the employees and what they actually do that I have not seen across the board in DC at all. It’s not just that he cares about the client or about the dog or about just the staff. He tries to really care about all of it as a whole versus these individual pieces,” explains Ruthie. “The staff alone is different than any staff I’ve worked with. The environment is different than any environment that I’ve been in, and I’ve been in this industry for 14 years so that’s a big thing for me to say.”
This is a career, it’s not just a moment – it’s a career that can really change your life.”
In addition to being a fear-free certified groomer since before it was cool, Ruthie has 14 years of professional grooming and pet care experience at well-known businesses around the DMV.
Although she came from a fear-free environment and experience, she says Patrick’s Pet Care has already helped her grow even further as a groomer. “How everything is done here, it really is done with the idea that we’re giving these dogs the best service that we can. It’s not just let’s hurry up and get you through this. It’s coaching. We’ve spent 30 minutes trying to get a dog into a tub, coaching him with peanut butter and meatballs and cheese. It’s not rush, rush, rush. It’s ‘he needs this time, let’s give him this time, and it’s okay.’ And I think that’s a great thing that’s not in this industry nor seen all the time.”
The fear free approach also pays off. As the dogs are desensitized to their past negative experiences at other grooming establishments, the efficiency of each groom dramatically increases, and so does the quality of the result. Patrick says, “if you can show the dog they do not need to be afraid and that they can be a willing and consenting participant in the process, they don’t fight, they stand still, and they are patient with us as we are patient with them. The key is having a Salon Mentor like Ruthie to show the staff how to do it and earn a living because I can’t be there every day. That’s what I count on Ruthie for.”
When asked if there’s anything she would like all dog guardians to know, she said she really wants pet parents to understand that “grooming isn’t just a bath. Finding a good groomer is as equally important as finding a good vet.” It’s the human equivalent to finding a dentist– you don’t want just anyone doing that work.
Ruthie has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a certification in aesthetics, and is presently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration. Her personal dream for the future is to really revolutionize the grooming industry in the DMV. She wants people to see grooming in a different light. “This is a career, it’s not just a moment – it’s a career that can really change your life.”
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