Lauren Meyers, nanny and owner of Wet Knows Style, has been fully booked for four months—for a year now—and she’s not alone.
Myers began grooming in 2017 after becoming involved with dogs through her work as a founding board member of Compassion Without Borders, an organization that provides a brighter future for animals in need on both sides of the US-Mexico border.
She started out grooming at Sonoma’s Wet Nose Pet Grooming, and now operates out of a home studio, specializing in special needs and older dogs.
I’ve made a bunch of doodles and doodles mixes, often referred to as “designer dogs”. I’ve noticed a slight increase in doodles around Sonoma since the pandemic. These dogs, and all dogs that have hair rather than fur, need to be groomed every six to eight weeks in order to prevent mats that can be uncomfortable for the dog and painful to remove or clean.
According to Myers, it can cost anywhere from $85 to $160 per session of grooming a Sonoma doodle, depending on the dog’s size, condition, and temperament.
A doodle is defined as a dog that is part purebred and part purebred Poodle. Popular doodle breeds include golden doodles (poodles and golden retrievers), Labradoodles (Labrador Retever and poodle), sheepadoodle (sheepdogs and poodles) and dozens of other combinations.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released a new date set for 2022 that revealed “…nearly one in five households have acquired a cat or dog since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, which would represent approximately 23 million American households.” Based on the 2019 United States Census. Doodle, it looks like it was a particularly popular epidemic pet.
Debra Harris, owner of My Pet Pal Grooming in Sonoma, is fully booked through January. While other groomers have pointed out a surplus of pets due to their scheduling problems, Harris looks at the groomer shortage.
“Grooms can’t afford to live in Sonoma Valley, and a new hair groomer doesn’t earn enough to open their own business space,” Harris said. “We are all in the crosshairs of understaffing.”
pointed to Recently closed Aberglen Pet Resort After the wind damage, the other supervisors moved away without anyone filling the void.
“Sonoma doesn’t own PetCo or a smart pet that usually picks up a lot of slack in the personal care industry,” Harris said.
Unlike some of the other breeders in town, Harris didn’t start booking for months until August, when she lost two of her hair groomers, moving her operation from five to three.
She knows of another nanny who is looking for help with their operations, but no one has the skill set these stores require.
“I think it’s just a flat exit – no supervisors coming in,” Harris said.
While it may seem like a dream to be fully booked, Harris feels the pressures of a short staff, and the pain of turning away loyal customers due to a lack of availability.
She has had people calling her to set an appointment who have been coming to her for their grooming needs for over 25 years, and across multiple generations of pets.
“It’s really hard to answer the phone because people were surprised with the booking,” Harris said.
According to Groomsoft, one of the industry’s leading pet grooming programs, both a shortage of pet grooming tools and an oversupply of pets are plaguing communities across the country.
“The increase in pet ownership is also driving up the demand for pet grooming services. However, pet grooming companies have struggled for years to build and maintain highly skilled pet grooming staff, and this shortage has been exacerbated,” Groomsoft said in Blog post from january.
Harris’ suggestion for people who don’t know how to get into a consistent routine with a hair groomer, is to take the first available appointment and get into a rotating schedule where the owner books every six to eight weeks during the groomer’s rotation.
Diana Barr takes care of dogs from her garage, and her operation has been fully booked since she started six and a half years ago.
“It’s been pretty much like that from the start,” Barr said.
Her business operates differently than most others in the city, and she only selectively serves dogs in her local area.
There are only a handful of nanny in Sonoma Valley, and only 22 come to county in a Google search.
Many dog owners, especially doodle owners, describe the groomer as crazy for getting their dog’s haircut before it gets out of hand. Myers tries to give these desperate callers another option; Do it yourself.
On Tuesday, November 15, Myers will host the “Groom Your Doodle,” a workshop geared towards anyone who owns a dog with his hair.
“I see grooming as a craft that you can pursue, master, and learn,” Myers said.
During the workshop, you will teach what you like to call a “bread and butter groom”, which can be applied to any doodle, or any dog with hair, of any size, to keep it clean and healthy.
It has to have nice textures vs. textures, how to turn any table into a barber’s table and the whole process of shaving from bathroom to trimming.
The workshop will take place at the Sonoma Valley Women’s Club, and the Service Club will benefit 100% of the proceeds from the chapter.
Myers will demonstrate the doodle tutorial, but participants cannot bring their dogs to practice during the seminar, either for safety or education.
“You can do it better if you know in your mind what you’re striving for,” Myers said.
Contact reporter Rebecca Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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