For Fort Smith dog lovers looking to make Fido a little more stylish this summer, a new grooming shop promises to be a cut above.
Chris Talbot is the first male graduate of the Alberta School of Dog Grooming and recently set up shop in Fort Smith, his home for the past two years.
“I’ve always been a dog person. I grew up with a beagle,” he shared with The Journal a few days after officially opening Blues Pet Grooming on June 2.
“I never thought when I was a kid that I’d be a dog groomer, but here I am,” he said.
Talbot is a freelance writer by trade, specializing in business and technology reporting, and recently ghost authored a book on business.
That knowledge of the business world made the transition to small business owner less of a learning curve, he said. As a freelancer, he was already running a type of service business.
“I started thinking about making the minor switch and adding a new business in January,” he said. “The decision was made really quickly.”
While at first Talbot thought he might jump head first into the dog grooming industry, it wasn’t long after he picked up a pair of scissors to trim a friend’s pooch for the first time that he decided formal training was in order.
“I thought about doing online training, but very quickly realized that the best way to learn was to get some professional training in person,” he recalled with a laugh.
From there, Talbot enrolled at one of Alberta’s two certified dog grooming schools, located in Leduc.
After three months of courses, hands-on training and hours of volunteering at the school-run dog grooming service, Talbot returned to Fort Smith as a fully certified professional pet stylist to open his own in-home dog grooming shop.
His repertoire of skills includes bathing, nail clipping, advanced scissoring techniques, colouring and tooth cleaning, pending a shipment of dog hair dyes and toothbrushes.
As he chatted, Talbot was working on Patches, a shih tzu to whom he was giving a classic short round cut. The style of cut involves a careful clipping technique to ensure the hair on the dog’s head is sculpted into a perfect circle.
“It’s a challenge, definitely a challenge to learn. I had no experience, but I like working with dogs,” he shared, as sections of Patches’ over-grown beard succumbed to his scissors.
Talbot said each dog takes around three hours to groom, depending on size and difficulty of cut. He likes to take his time to make sure they are looking their best, he said.
While many dog owners are fine with simply giving their dogs a shave, Talbot said he prefers to add style to his canine clients.
When his pet hair dyes come in, Talbot said he plans to add some colour to his own dog, Taffy.
“I want to give my dog a green mohawk, just because I can,” he said with a chuckle.
For more information about Blues Pet Grooming, to get a quote or to book an appointment, call (867) 872-0822 or visit Blues Pet Grooming on Facebook.