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Did you know that you can see all of your appointments and request new ones from an app on your phone? Pop over to the App Store (iPhone) or Play Store (Android) and install this app:
Log in using the same email address with which you receive your Savvy Reminders.  If you haven't already created an account you'll be prompted to create a password.  Once in, you'll be able to see all your future appointments, the contracts you have signed and request further appointments as necessary.  I hope this will make keeping track of what you have booked a little easier! 
For the Girls - And now, a bit of a rant:

I've got to get this off my chest.  I really dislike taking lunch at 9.10 am.  It just doesn't float my boat.

This week I haven't had a lunch break that was longer than 17 minutes.  On two occasions I skipped breakfast (we've started GCSE season so just don't ask), was unable to grab anything at lunchtime because late arrivals mean late departures, had post-grooming afternoon commitments that couldn't be changed and so hadn't eaten for nearly 24 hours by the time dinner rolled by.

Why did this happen? Well, let me elaborate.  You might like to grab a cuppa at this point.

You may be one of the punctual ones, you know, the kind that turns up when their appointment is actually starting - but there are an alarming number of clients who have a much more cavalier attitude to my diary and this, unfortunately, has consequences.

You see I run a very tight ship here because I've to a hellova lot of stuff to complete between your start time and your collection time.  I need EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE. of the allotted three hours to complete your dog's groom successfully. 

If I stand gassing at the doorway for 5 or 10 minutes when you arrive, its because I have already spent those 5 or 10 minutes preparing everything so it runs like clockwork, however, some mornings there are exam-stressed-teenagers eating up every minute of my "spare" pre-grooming-time and I need to crack on the nano-second the dogs arrive - that is at 9 or 1.  So, should a dog arrive 15/20 or heaven forbid 30 minutes late - BOTH dogs will be leaving 15/20/30 minutes after their scheduled appointment ends. 

My good friend, Colin Taylor, used to greet late clients with the dry comment, "so which leg do you want me to leave?" - actually he wasn't far wrong... why should a late client impact anyone else's appointment? 

However, that late finish doesn't stop the 1pm clients turning up on time does it? Some turn up just 5 or 10 minutes early, undoubtedly thinking they're being helpful ... so my lunch break is inevitably sacrificed.

If anyone actually thinks I get to take a lunch break, think again! That hour is proactively used to process orders from the other business, rearrange appointments for clients who need it, answer or return telephone calls to new or existing clients, organise insurance/bills/anything else that needs doing or pack a dog-food order that's going out that afternoon (we sell food to people who don't get their dog groomed here too).  Just sitting and eating in the sunshine doesn't happen, ever.   4 pm is the time that Centre Stage closes, because surprisingly for some, there are things I need to do immediately after that too.  Between dashing to the yard to support Daisy with her riding, making ringthings and thumbthings (yes each one is handmade), packing evening-collection dog food orders, cooking dinner and prepping for the next day, I'm juggling a lot of spinning plates. So a late arrival for the afternoon shift makes everything that happens when it should have finished a bit later, and when riding lessons are scheduled, a lot more stressed. 

In addition to the above, at least once a month Jenson and I attend a Grooming Show with our Tradestand and that eats up an entire weekend (or, in the case of Crufts, an entire week). 

Without giving away any trade secrets (a lot of groomers now also read this blog - training days are available at £250 per day 😉) the process of including double shampoo, conditioning soak, aromatherapy lavender wrap, ultrasound teeth, fluff dry, clip or scissor to your request, grind nails and the application of scent and embellishments at a pace that also includes vital rest breaks for your dog, is a delicate dovetailing balance that cannot be rushed. 

I am therefore now adopting the same policy as most other groomers - that is; 15 minutes late is TOO late.  Full appointment fees will still be charged, the client will be turned away and a new appointment will have to be made.  That does not mean that <14 minutes late is acceptable, however. 

I would be grateful if ALL clients from this point forward would view their appointment time as they would a flight or a train departure, being kind enough to also let the wife/husband/child/friend-who-is-on-dog-drop-off-or-collection-duty know these rules too.

Drop off early, by arrangement, is far more easily accommodated, therefore if you're not going to make your grooming start time ask if it's OK and let me know what time you can drop off pre 9 am. 


Can I politely request that if you turn up early, you WAIT IN YOUR SODDING CAR?   Standing on the doorstep sets my dogs off (they're only doing their job) and the dog on the table then starts doing Riverdance impressions; it is impossible to finish safely so at that point all grooming must stop. If I hadn't quite finished this is insanely irritating.  However, if I have finished and I see you waiting outside in your car, I'll come and find you. Believe me.  

Rapping on the window with your keys is another BIG no-no.  The dog on the table might lose its eye.  It could be yours.  Seriously.  Early collections are a HUGE pain in the ass.  All the dogs go ballistic and get wildly excited that it could be them going home and it generally takes 20 minutes for everything to calm down enough for me to be able to resume grooming the other dog safely.  Therefore your 15 minutes early pick up generally means 20-30 minutes late pick up for the other dog.  

For the Boys - New Rules In A Nutshell:
  • If you arrive late for your appointment, your dog will be the 2nd one on the table. 
  • If either client arrives early for collection, ALL GROOMING STOPS.  
  • If you turn up later than 15 minutes after your scheduled appointment, you will be charged for it but turned away. 
  • If you cannot make 9 am or 1pm to drop off - change the appointment to one you can manage. 
  • If 12 pm or 4 pm doesn't suit as a collection - change the appointment to one that works for you. 
  • If neither of the above work call me or find a new groomer.

For Everyone

Please remember that all of the above doesn't just apply to me - most of it applies to every self-employed or small business that you make an appointment with.  We are honestly truly grateful for your business, but expecting both infinite flexibility and excellent performance is one step too far for a one-man band. 

Rant over.
As the first year of painting and drawing comes to an end, this is my progress.  Clearly, the picture on the right isn't yet finished yet but is clearly streets ahead of what I was capable of this time last year.  I'm thrilled.  I may even start taking commissions after Christmas!

This is what the next couple of weeks look like currently. 
Free appointments are in yellow text
and the complete list is at the bottom of this section

Monday, 23rd May
CLOSED - CPD Canine First Aid with Sophie Bell at 2 Left Paws, Crowthorne

There are still some spaces on this invaluable course.  If you don't know what you'd do if your dog injured itself on a walk, swallowed something totally inappropriate or had a seizure in front of you - get booked on this invaluable course.  Kayla tells me there are a couple of tickets left.  This isn't just for canine professionals - everyone who owns a dog will benefit from it. The course is run by vet (we won't hold that against her) Sophie Bell who is utterly delightful and will make the day extremely enjoyable as well as educational. 

Tuesday, 21st May 
9.00 Maggie Blundell and Bobby Ross
1.00 Teddy and Snoop Dye

Wednesday, 22nd May 
9.00 Reggie Braccette and FREE
1.00 FREE and FREE

Thursday, 23rd May
9.00 Lily and Rollo Durose
1.00 Red Thomas (Double Appointment)

Monday, 30th May
9.00 Leia Cook and Toto Pidgely
1.00 Frankie, Dixie and Domino Amabile

Tuesday, 31st May
9.00 Buster Brown and Cloggy Pelly
1.00 Amber Morris and Frankie Weaver

Wednesday, 1st June
9.00 Martha and Mabel Medlock
1.00 FREE and FREE

Thursday & Friday, 2nd & 3rd June

Monday 6th June
9.00 Socks Taylor Evans and FREE
1.00 Katie and Lexi Noui

Tuesday, 7th June 
9.00 Lily and Rollo Durose
1.00 Boris and Reg Perry

Wednesday, 8th June
9.00 Looby Jackson and FREE
1.00 Barney Chapman and FREE

Thursday, 9th June 
9.00 Patch and Freddy Day
1.00 Lucy Wilkie and Bullet Taee

Monday, 13th June
9.00 Wolfie, Cookie and Bear Kerr
1.00 Maya Hopkins and Betsy Holloway

Tuesday - Friday 14th-17th June
Closed for Royal Ascot

Monday 20th June
9.00 Reggie Bracetti and FREE
1.00 Bonnie Rizou and Coco Buxton

Tuesday 21st June
9.00 Maggie Blundell and Zavi Hamilton Andrews
1.00 Snoop and Teddy Dye

Wednesday 22nd June
9.00 Macey Player and Oakley Knight
1.00 Red Thomas, Double Appointment

Thursday 23rd June
9.00 Darcy Gill
1.00 Lily and Rollo Durose

Monday 27th June
9.00 Eric Keeble and Bobby Ross
1.00 Newt, Percy and Lily Rolls

Tuesday 28th June 
9.00 Moo Wylie and Hopper Hujan
1.00 Scruffy and Lucy Daines

Wednesday 29th June 
9.00 Oscar Kirby and Toto Pidgely

Thursday 30th June


Free Appointments 
Wednesday, 22nd May @ 9 and 1
Monday, 6th June @ 9 
Wednesday, 8th June @ 9 and 1
Monday, 20th June @ 9

And Finally!

Here's a reminder of last week's discount codes for you

Absorber Pro Dry Towels: CSAP22
Colin Taylor Products CTP22
It's available in both the App Store (iPhones) or Play Store (Android).  Just remember to use the same email address as you get your appointment notifications from! 

Looking forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

Many thanks and kind regards
Katie Rourke Dowding
International Certified Master Groomer
T: 01344 291465  M: 07767 341424 E:
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