Life and Pets

Competition …

I’ve neglected you so long that I got a “reminder” message from WordPress that I needed to post again in order to meet my own “goal”. This was something I filled in when I moved the blog, a response to a question about how often I intended to write.

I haven’t even been too busy. Just a pleasant, steady pace in business, and a wonderful visit from Susan for a few days.

This morning, I groomed a large, elderly cat. I’ve groomed him many years in a row, always calling him by the wrong name, “Rusty” and forgetting his real name. This morning I didn’t have the nerve to ask AGAIN what this cat’s handle is, instead I chose to address him as “Kitty” or by his late brother’s name.

By any name, this is among the best behaved cats I groom. He is unbelievable! There is no sedation or secret trick: this cat just rests upon the table and appears to trust and enjoy the process. He seemed to be sleeping much of the time, opening his eyes briefly when I took his picture.

let me sleep

let me sleep

I am not Rusty

I am not Rusty

This darling old cat’s owner picked him up, paid me,  and remarked, “Soooo, you have some competition now, eh?”. I smiled and said that I was aware of some competition, and asked if the other person had actually opened a “shop” or seriously hung out her shingle. My customer said, “No, but people are saying in the coffee shop that she is CHEAPER.”. Customer said that she wouldn’t switch for a difference of $5 or $10 and asked the others why THEY would.

I expressed my appreciation for the loyalty. I used to question myself, beat myself up, wear myself out worrying, about competition. There have been times that I was the only pet groomer from Valemount to McBride and surrounding areas, and during some periods, I have simply “outlasted” the others. Now I am friends with one of the two dog groomers in the town of Valemount, and we laugh together about the fickle nature of some folks. We even recommend each other, depending on our schedules and the potential customer’s location.

The “competition” locally has been “poaching” my customers, but there’s nothing illegal about that; it’s just unethical. It wouldn’t really matter if she walked downtown naked except for a sandwich board with her price list on it. To go to my existing clients and pitch her case and try to convince them to switch from my services to hers is slimy. Funny thing, she’s not the first in the valley to do this, and sometimes it works. At other times “my people” are fiercely loyal, and if any of you are reading this, I remind you that I LOVE YOU all and am grateful. I’ve had many years now to figure out my prices, and decide what it takes to pay the bills precisely BECAUSE of returning clients and new clients. Competition is a fact of life, and as long as I’m able bodied, I count my blessings that I can “keep the lights on” doing exactly what I love to do, and with people (and pets) I love.

While my daughter was here, Susan and I revisited a “plot” we had discussed before. I hadn’t been paying any attention to real estate for a long time, but the temptation to take on some kind of “project” had been sneaking back into my thoughts. I have acquaintances/friends who enjoy snagging a deal and flipping the house and property or renting it out. Within the last season, they bought a home in town that I believed I would hear about when it was for sale (but didn’t), and then they renovated it thoroughly and have put it back up for sale.

I’m realistic about my abilities where it comes to house flipping or investing… my skills are pretty basic, and I take this into account. The property that Susan and I have looked at this week is quite “iffy” as an investment, and the home dilapidated. We have made an insultingly low offer, but in this rare case, I’m not worried about the owner’s feelings.

Now I need to shut up about that. I’ll get back to you on details if we pull off a deal. If this doesn’t work out, we will look at something else…

Today we have Cooper, Polly, Gus, Karma, Duke, Bella and Beastie boarding. I don’t have new pictures of these guests, but will go around with my camera when I have time.

Our population “in residence” consists of Lady, McKenna, and cats Smokey, Prin, Fiona, Gilbert, and Taffy the guinea pig. Not a big zoo, eh? All under control!


Prin watching me bead


Smokey watching me groom McKenna & Lady

In anticipation of my 30th anniversary of Robson Valley Pet Hostel, I ordered a hydraulic grooming table! There was some concept in my mind of buying an old barber chair and transforming it with the expertise of our friend Dale, but sometimes years go by and I don’t get a thing done. Yesterday I decided to treat myself, and my back will thank me for it. That’s the plan, anyway!


I’m hoping that the table arrives before I have to groom this large guy! He’s beautiful and boisterous, and starting to get matted. Kip is a goldendoodle, in training to be a service dog.



Must get busy for part of the afternoon.

Love, Ann

P.S. I just posted this on one of my Facebook pages; thought I’d share it here:

Many of my Facebook friends have posted reasons that they are grateful. I am usually bubbling over with gratitude: today, especially, I am grateful for loyal friends and customers in my business.

I edited the title to this post because I wrote of “competition”, but not of jealousy.  Best not to dwell on that shit. 😉



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s