The Owner, Francesca Gray
A bit about me (Fran) and my beloved doggies
When I was 13, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer? 'Either an actress or a lolly pop lady.'
A far cry from a mobile dog groomer, you may say, and you'd be absolutely right.
I was born and went to school in Salford, Manchester, eventually fleeing the nest to complete a music degree at Durham University. From there, I tried out a number of different jobs, including a 2 year stint at BBC Newcastle where I debuted as the angry Mancunian voice on Points of View.
On my return to Manchester, I studied to become a teacher. I spent 5 eventful years teaching music in a special needs school in Salford, until one day I realised that it was time for a change of direction.
A bundle of fluff
Meet Leo. He is a Samoyed and it takes a lot of grooming to keep him looking this good. I had always wanted a Samoyed, so when I found out that a well-known breeder was having a litter, I was the first to put my name on the list. After an initial interview and home visit, we were deemed as responsible enough to own a Sammy.
In fact, Leo is the reason why I now own the Manchester North West branch of the Dial a Dog Wash empire.
As well as being a well-loved pet, Leo is also a bit of an exhibitionist. He has appeared at numerous shows around the country including the Northern Samoyed Society Champ Show where be won Best Puppy in 2011.
Naduska Raphael (Leo), Best Puppy in Show, Northern Samoyed Society Champ Show, 2011
A Change in Direction
On the eve of a big show, I arrived home from school and realised that I just didn't have the energy to get Leo ready. Thankfully, I had arranged for Sue Kendall (Wigan Hindley DADW) to come and groom Leo for me.
I was massively impressed with the van. Everything was so professional and convenient....I had a fully functioning grooming parlour at the end of my drive. Sue was fantastic! She made me feel at ease straight away. She was knowledgeable, funny and Leo took to her immediately. A short time later, a beautiful white Samoyed was returned to me without me having to lift a single finger. Wonderful!
And that was it.....I realised what a fantastic profession mobile dog grooming could be.
You know the saying...'Never work with children or animals'...
Well, I must be a gutton for punishment because I've done both...but, between you and me, I prefer working with the latter.
Dogs live in the moment. They don't worry about things that have past, they don't hold grudges and they certainly don't waste time feeling anxious about their future.
I decided that I needed double the dose of c'est la vie in my life, so we got a doggie companion for Leo.
Cara, the Siberian Husky, literally jumped into our lives about 2 months after we got Leo. Staying true to the breed, Cara pretty much destroyed everything she could get her teeth into. Thankfully we knew that the first year or so could be tough, but this still didn't quite prepare us for how 'high energy' out new addition would be.
Needless to say, we got through it and Cara has matured into a beautiful (if somewhat moody) adolescent who we love to bits.
In fact, I should thank Cara for the role that she played in my change of career.
Cara, like many of the dogs I groom, does not like being crated. She also doesn't like being groomed. She can just about tolerate a bath and a brush, but put a dryer anywhere near her and she's gone.
Being able to groom Cara in the van, minus the crates and any other dogs to act as a distraction, meant that I could give her the attention she needs.
At the end of the day, I want to offer your dog(s) the best possible grooming experience. I treat every dog that I groom as if they were my own and I take great pleasure in handing back a happy, clean dog at the end of each session.
Since writing this introduction, we have added another dog to our pack. Meet Indiana Bones...a 9 stone, malamute cross rescue boy.
Indiana is also a registered Therapy Dog who visits a local school on a weekly basis to take part in the Paws & Read scheme.