by Carolyn J Douglas
I began grooming dogs in 1984. I started training as a bather and brusher for all the large Shepherds, Goldens, Labs, Newfoundlands and Samoyed at Candlewick Kennels in Glastonbury, which became my second home for 13 years. During that time I eventually worked my way up to scissoring and trimming of these breeds and then started to work with Poodles and Cocker Spaniels.
My best friends mom was a Poodle breeder. She helped me to hone my grooming skills by allowing me to practice with her pets. After two and a half years of study and practice, I was able to groom most dog breeds. Candlewick Kennels housed over 200 dogs so I had seen just about everything. After 5 years I was managing the grooming room with 4 assistants. I eventually got overworked and tired of the dangerous commute in the winter.
After moving to Meriden and enduring a 25 mile one way commute for some time I thought to myself "I can start my own business, I can do this." My family and I got together and came up with the name For Your Paws Only. I then looked for the perfect place with ample parking and plenty of room. Location was a key factor. I had looked at 222 East Main St for a while and the for rent sign was always there. Eventually I looked into it and low and behold it was purrrrfect. Did I mention we groom cats too?
In November of 2000 I was open for business. I really didn't know where to start with marketing and advertising so friends and family of mine helped me send mailings and post flyers around town. I was able to get a press release story about For Your Paws Only into the Meriden Record Journal, which was very helpful and I visited local business venues to pass out information.
December came and I was not so busy. I was feeling a little discouraged, so I sat and did some cold calling as I had plenty of time for that and mailings. I received a call from a former customer at Candlewick Kennels. It was about Quincy Robinson, my favorite standard poodle.
The voice on the phone said "Carolyn?".
"Yes?" I answered. "I went through all lengths to find you. I even went through the Meriden Chamber of Commerce."
I made an appointment for Quincy and after hanging up I started to cry tears of joy. "They found me!" I thought to myself.
I called my sister and I was so elated I couldn't contain myself. Things have been great since then. I've always felt it is very important for people to enjoy their work. I love mine, and it shows in the attention I give my clients.
I am very happy with the work we do at For Your Paws only. I really feel that my animals love coming here. I think the dogs and cats like to get all fancy and clean (and see us of course).
All the dogs and cats leave here with a nice trim, fresh bath, great smell, a custom collar cover, and a bandana or bow to complete the new look. They leave For Your Paws only proud and happy!
By Dianne Burke
After 20 years of experience training, grooming and presenting a variety of breeds of conformation and performance show dogs as a hobby, I decided to make grooming my profession.
I graduated from the CT.School of Dog Grooming and have been working as a professional groomer for 5 years.
When I am not working with the dogs, I enjoy my spare time spent with my horses, and other animals on the farm, as well as raising English Lop Rabbits.