On The Job – Brooke Danforth

woman standing in front of wooden background holding two medium sized dogs

Brooke Danforth

Dog groomer

Brooke Danforth is a dog groomer and owner of The Dirty Dog in Amherst.

Explain your job.

Anything that goes into grooming dogs: bath, blow dry, brush them out, do a haircut or trimming if it’s required, clip their nails and clean their ears. Then, I always take a picture of the dog at the end.

How long have you had this job?

I’ve been grooming for seven years, and I just opened my own business at the beginning of October.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

I’ve always wanted to work with animals. … When I was 17 I got a job grooming, and due to unfortunate circumstances, [the business] lost a groomer, so I was kind of thrown right into it. I picked it up really fast. I was grooming completely by myself after about six months of working there. … Going into business on my own has always been something I’ve wanted to do. … I felt like it was finally the right time, so I did it.

What kind of education or training did you need?

There are no [training] requirements, but the company I used to work for would [participate in] grooming education classes, where we learned a lot about the different types of skin and coats that different dogs have and how shampoos affect them and things like that.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

I wear scrub pants and a grooming smock. For shoes, I have tried, like, 15 different types of shoes, and waterproof sneakers are the best.

How has your job changed over the course of the pandemic?

Not much changed as far as the actual grooming [process], but we did stop allowing people who weren’t employees to come inside the building; we’d go out to their cars to get their dogs and take their payment. … The pandemic was actually good for us business-wise, because a lot of people were getting dogs. We were overwhelmed with the amount of clients we had.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

When you’re starting out in grooming, it can get very discouraging. You’re watching another groomer who has been doing it for years, and they make it look super easy, but then you go to do it and you’re like, ‘Ah! I just made a giant line in the dog.’ But you do get better. That’s why I always take pictures [of the dogs]; you can look back and see how much you’ve grown.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

When you say you’re a groomer, people instantly say, ‘Oh, you get to play with puppies all day long,’ and that’s only somewhat true. Yes, you get some really cute, really friendly dogs, but you also get dogs that hate you and just want to eat you. I’ve had really aggressive dogs that try to attack the clippers, and dogs that have bit me several times, but I actually enjoy grooming the difficult dogs; we just work through each issue and try to figure out what their triggers are.

What was the first job you ever had?

I’ve only ever worked with dogs. When I was 15 and a half, I started a job working as a kennel attendant, cleaning up after the dogs and feeding and watering the dogs.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

Some weeks will be amazing, business-wise, and some weeks will be slow. The first week I opened, I had 20-something dogs, which is insane. Then another week I only had 13. You just have to keep pushing through it, and it will always get busy again.

Five favorites

Favorite book:
Marley and Me
Favorite movie: Bridesmaids
Favorite music: Country
Favorite food: Chocolate, brownies, cookies, cakes all desserts
Favorite thing about NH: I love the constant change of the seasons, and I love that all of my family is here.

Featured photo: Brooke Danforth. Courtesy photo.

Author: Angie Sykeny

Angie Sykeny is a Hippo staff writer covering local arts, theater, music and pop culture. She can be reached at asykeny@hippopress.com.

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