Give it a Go Girl – Dog Grooming


I had no idea a job even existed in which you gave males brazilians, got growled at, farted on, scratched, occasionally bitten and are required to empty anal glands, until today.

I walked into The Dog Spa Nelson thinking I’d have a couple of hours of getting sudsy and slightly shaken on by some cute puppies.

But standing in front of the wash tub, what I got was a shivering wet dog that resembled a small/short but very grumpy old man.

PlaceMakers Ad Give it a Go GirlI’d never realised how hilarious dogs look when they are wet until I met Roxy, a beautiful Jack Frost/Jack Russell-Bichon Frise cross that was misguidedly put in my care for the morning.

Roxy embodied the term fluff-ball but as soon as the water hit her fur she shrunk to half her size and developed a grey old man’s beard. To top it all off, she began making a comical half-growl-half-whine.

She was not having fun and it’s all on video for your viewing pleasure on

But vengeance was her mission and shaking was her method, she covered me head to toe in sudsy water and as if that wasn’t enough she kept giving me wet hugs to ensure 100 per cent saturation, she even managed to slip out a pungent stinker while I was giving her a shampoo.

And if I thought she didn’t like me when I was washing her, she definitely didn’t like me when I was drying her.

Walking into the drying room the first thing I saw was industrial blowers and sets of earmuffs, not quite the miniature beauty salon I had imagined.

Roxy scampered this way and that, making one desperate attempt after the other to jump off the table and escape the fury of the dryers, which I swear would have snaked themselves through the air and all over the room had I not managed to hold on.

Now that would have been a sight!

Looking at Jack the dog next door who kept attempting and often succeeding in giving his groomer a cheeky chomp, I was rather glad Roxy had more of a flight, not fight response.

Despite her squirming and attempts to become Houdini, we got there in the end and while the “crazy dog ladies” laughed at my reactions to their descriptions of emptying the dog’s anal glands, Roxy pranced around fluffier than ever and happy as Larry.

I even got a not-so-pleasant ear lick as I was leaving so I don’t think we’re exactly enemies anymore.

While I was left on light duties, dogs at The Dog Spa Nelson get their nails clipped, fur shaved or snipped and leave with a treat and a squirt of doggy cologne to entice the ladies.

Much to my discomfort, co-owner Nicky Fearnley also told me they offer an anal gland emptying service which was subsequently described in exquisite detail.

And because I had to endure the step-by-step description I feel it’s only fair that you too are enlightened.

Dogs have “a wee sack by their poohole” that fills up with gunk which I am told packs a stenchy punch.

The groomers job is to locate and squeeze the sack until the gunk shoots out, however, the most important part of the whole process is to not get caught in the line of fire.

This, Nicky learnt the hard way, “I had it all through my hair, on my face, on my glasses and I couldn’t stop gagging,” she says laughing.

Over 20 dogs from Malamutes to Chihuahuas patter through the doors each day and the grooming at The Dog Spa Nelson even extends to a Doggy Daycare.