Listen up, bitches. I like puppies as much as the next chick. But my latest job has left me broke and wanting to become a cat lady.
Until today, I worked for a chain pet store who offers grooming services (I am not naming names). I was a “bather”, meaning I, well, bathed dogs. It would appear, on the surface, that this would be a fun job. Well, it’s not.
First off I would like to point out that maybe at a different business, this job would be satisfactory. However, where I worked, it was hell.
I guess I’ll begin my tale at the beginning.
When I went in for my first interview, the store managers made it seem like they didn’t just want me, they needed me. They were so desperate for someone to fill a position that they were practically begging me. So I, naively, thought I would become a respected employee.
I was highly mistaken.
Throughout training, your actual job responsibilities are a mystery. There are groomers, and then there are bathers. But your duties are hidden behind evasion. After being cross-trained for the entire store, you begin your training in the salon. First, you shadow a bather for a few shifts, then you’re on your own. When I first started, I thought bathers washed groomers’ dogs, and then groomer’s would groom the dogs. This isn’t what happens.
The Lowdown Of “Professional” Bathers:
Job responsibilities – Washing dogs that only come into the grooming salon for a Bath&Brush. Then, bringing the washed and dried dogs out onto a groomer’s table and proceed to clean their ears, trim and grind their nails, and brush them out. Bathers do not wash groomers’ dogs, and groomers do not groom bathers’ dogs.
Seems easy enough, right? Well, you’re soooo wrong. Have you ever tried to cut an uncooperative dog’s nails? It’s hell.
And here’s why:
- Not all dogs are nice dogs. Many are scared, anxious, nervous or downright aggressive. Ever had to get a scared dog out of a kennel?
- Lifting them into the chest-high tubs when they are squirming can be dangerous, to both you and the dog.
- All dogs hate the high velocity drier. Many will try to bite it. Or worse, they’ll try to bite you.
- Most dogs do not like eye drops. You risk getting your fingers bit off when doing this.
- Many dogs are like cats. They freak out when they get wet. It isn’t fun to try to calm down a wet, struggling dog.
- Dogs shit. They don’t care where they do it, or when they do it. They’ll shit in the kennels, in the tubs, after you have just bathed them, while they’re on the groomers table…
- Dogs constantly try to jump off the groomer’s table, but they are attached to a groomer’s helper. This is a lead attached to a pole that keeps their head elevated and them standing during the grooming process. Well, when they try to jump off the table, they could hurt themselves greatly.
- There is no sure-fire-way to keep a squirming dog still.
- Dogs try to bite at you while you clip their nails. This is a fact.
- Quicking the nails happens. A lot.
- Dogs will lash out unexpectedly at you while you are bathing and grooming them. They aren’t humans. They do not considered this to be a “spa” experience. For dogs, being groomed is a scary process. Scared dogs are more likely to bite you simply out of frustration.
- Dog owners often times do not believe you when you let them know that their dog was difficult. They actually get offended and may even call you names.
Now, every day you go into work and face various hazards. You can get bite, scratched, and shit on, and there is no way to accurately gauge when or to what degree these can happen. Dogs are unpredictable.
So my pay was minimum wage. And I had three-hour shifts. What the hell is this crap? Do you know how much gas costs? I spend more money on gas to get to the job than I get paid for my three-hour shift at minimum wage! The occupational hazards that come with this job are not worth minimum wage.
So I quit. And now I am, once again, without a job. But I was spending more money when I had a job then when I didn’t.
Listen up, bitch scouts! If you were considered applying for such a job, think twice! Yes, you get to handle cuddly puppies during your shift, but think to yourself: is it worth it?
If you really think dog bathing is something you desire to do, then take this advice. Try starting out with a small business first, like a local dog grooming salon that has one or two employees. You may have to shadow and apprentice for a while, but they can offer you a more personal job experience where you can learn individualized techniques. And you have a slightly better chance at getting higher pay.
However, there are disadvantages. If you work for a big name corporation and decide to advance from bather to groomer, the corporation will pay for your “schooling.” You’ll get a pay that is based on commission, plus a salary and tips. Also, if you get hurt on the job, or (God forbid!) you hurt a dog, the corporation will pay all medical and vet bills. If you work for a local business, getting hurt on the job means you’ll have to use your own personal insurance to pay your medical bills. And if a dog gets hurt on your shift? Well, you’re at the mercy of your boss, who probably doesn’t have the kind of insurance or resources that a large corporation does. Therefore, your boss has every right to ask you to pay for half the vet bills, if not more.
All in all, this career is for those who wish to either work as a dog groomer for their entire life or own their own business. For someone looking for a job to pay bills, this isn’t really it.
So keep the job hunt strong, bitch scouts! Someone day we’ll find a job that will support our lifestyles. Until then, this is one job you might want to bypass.