Valpo Groomer puts a shine on clients
Westminster 'star' has a local touch
by Gloria Reed
|VALPARAISO - Imagine this. You work with 25 to 30 clients a week.
You are going to New York to meet with some of those clients. In your luggage are 20 different shampoos, 15 pairs of scissors, nail clippers, combs, a hair dryer, a stack of towels, static guard, spray bottles, fluff sprays, electric extension cords, plastic bags, a bucket, a table, an assortment of collars and leashes and a substance called "Tacky Paws."
Your clients are dogs, and you are going to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
That was the scene for Penny Shubert this past week as she made ready some of the top dogs in the Westminster ring. You saw one-Champion Pouch Cove's Jack's or Better-the best of breed Newfoundland winner.
And what does Shubert think of the surprise win-a Scottish Terrier-at Westminster this year?
"The Best of Show judge did an excellent job this year," Shubert said. 'Peggy Sue was the best dog in the ring, and she did extremely well. She asked to be the winner more than any other dog."
Grooming the top dogs is nothing new for Shubert. She's been in the business for 27 years. It all began with her Newfoundland. "I watched others groom for show," 'she said. "There are no schools for grooming. You become apprenticed to people who know how to groom," she said. "I went to a grooming seminar a professional breeder gave."
From there, Shubert learned more by watching and helping the dog handlers.
More and more Newfoundland owners began asking Shubert to groom their dogs.
And those dogs became winners.
From there she began grooming dogs all around the country. "I have one lady who drives up from St. Louis for me to groom her dog," Shubert said. Another comes from Grand Rapids, Mich., for his regular grooming.
|Shubert has an advantage. She sees
what is being done with dogs from coast to coast and around the world.
She has been to England, Italy, Switzerland, and to the top dog shows in the U.S.
In addition to grooming Jack's or Better; she also groomed the Best of Opposite Sex in the Newfoundland breed-Skimeister's Patience.
Making a dog look like a winner isn't easy. The initial grooming takes about six hours.
The dog gets several baths to make sure it is clean right down to the skin,
The ears are cleaned, the toenails are clipped, conditioner is applied to the coat; feet and hocks are trimmed.
Then the dog's coat is thinned with shears.
The next day, more work is done on the dog for the show ring. "You fluff the dog with a blow dryer and use assorted water sprays on his coat."
The water spray is to help his coat fluff.
Next comes static guard to keep the coat from flying and standing up on end. Then the dog is dried and the coat straightened.
"You comb the coat out after the dog has been sitting in his cage. Sort of like you do to your own hair after lying on it for awhile." Then the dog is ready for show.
Westminster is no picnic for the dogs, the groomers or the handlers. The work room for the groomers is too small, and the tables are end to end. "You have a 36-inch table for a 58-inch dog," said Shubert. "We work elbow to elbow and shoulder to shoulder."
The dogs are up all day among the noise, the confusion and the heat.
When they do get their chance in the ring, they have to contend with a slippery floor.
The dogs are allowed to wear Tacky Paws, a substance like bank tellers use to keep the money from slipping, to prevent them from slipping.
Wednesday, April 4, 2001
"PAW-SING" FOR A TRIM: "Nova," a 2-1/2 year old Newfoundland, waits patiently as groomer Penny Shubert of Valparaiso, Indiana prepares the dog's coat for this week's Newfoundland Club of America National Special Show 2001 inside Heritage Park's CEC Building. "Nova's" owner is Christine Gorsuch, left, of Westminster,
Maryland. Some 530 "Newfys" are in Frankenmuth for the show, which opened April 3 and will wrap up on Saturday, April 7, in Heritage Park. The public is invited to view the show, which includes obedience competition, draft tests, cart and wagon exercises, judging and other scheduled events.
"Newfys" invade Heritage Park
A large but gentle breed of' dogs has invaded Frankenmuth and Heritage Park. The Newfoundland Club of America National Specialty Show is being held in Heritage Park. Activities, began yesterday (Tuesday) with obedience competitions and draft tests. This morning, opening ceremonies were held for the 5-day event, which wraps up on Saturday.
Shubert will have groomed 100-plus dogs.
Christine Gorsuch of West- minister. Maryland had her Newfoundland "Nova" in for a hair cut. She praised the work that Shubert does to make the Newfoundlands ready for the shows.
breed emerged at the end of
the 18th century in the Canadian
province.Shubert said it takes 1-2 hours to properly groom a Newfoundland, which includes the bath, combing out the hair, trimming the hair and nails and puffing the coat for the shows. Hair cuts come once every six weeks, with toe trimming once a week.
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