THERE’S no conversation about holidays or nights out as you walk into the salon at Derby College’s Broomfield Hall campus – the clients here are of the four legged and waggy-tailed variety.
Tink is Sue Oliver’s cocker spaniel and is used to being groomed so a good starting point for someone who always ends up more soaked than the dog whenever it’s dog washing day.
Sue, a lecturer in dog grooming and animal management, shows me how to comb her coat and brush out knots, then the clippers come out. After a quick trim Tink is ready for the bath.
Sue explains that there are different things to look out for when bathing the animals, spaniels have sensitive ears so I have to hold them closed while the water is running near them, this will stop Tink shakng and soaking everyone in range.
After a shampoo it’s time for the dryer, which requires goggles. A quick blast and Tink is ready to be groomed.
Using a comb and a brush we use a dog hairdryer to make sure she’s completely dry and brushed through.
After some finishing touches she’s good to go.
Sue said: “Obviously with different breeds there are different looks, there are people who show their dogs so need them to look a certain way and then there are others that want the fur cut right back to stop the dogs getting dirty on walks.
“We do whatever the owner asks. We’ve been known to dye dogs’ coats before and put nail polish on if it’s a special occasion.”
The salon is open to paying customers and run as a normal dog grooming parlour with one exception – staff are students on the college’s animal care courses.
“This seems to be a course that people always really enjoy.
“It’s hands on and they get great experience of working with paying customers and we have a brilliant facility here,” says Sue.
“People drop off their dogs and leave them here and we teach students as they work. It’s the best way to do it because we get a good variety of breeds in and dogs with different temperaments too.”
As well as dog owners and animal lovers Sue has entrepreneurs enrolling on the courses.
She said: “It’s a great way to earn a bit of extra money, especially if you work as a mobile dog groomer.
“After you’ve bought all the equipment there’s not really any overheads, all but one of my former students have gone on to take it up.”
Ilkeston student, Megan Morse, 18, said: “The dog grooming part of the course is great fun.
“It’s really hands on and we get the chance to work with customers’ dogs which is really good experience.”
Course fees vary from £70 - £850 and last anything from one day tasters to 15 week programmes with exams and certificates. There are still places left for the dog grooming course which starts on January 9.
Visit www.derby-college.ac.uk or call 0800 028 0289 for more information. To book an appointment for your dog call 07976 987818. Prices range from £10 for a small dog to £30 for bigger breeds.