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CPS Featured in OC Register: Fullerton Dog Groomer Passes on Her Knowledge

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Check out the article about Celebrity Paw Spa featured in the Orange County Register last week.

Blackie, a Maltese poodle, stands patiently on the grooming table at Celebrity Paw Spa in Fullerton as Hannah Rudolph, 24, of Yorba Linda, methodically shaves his curly hair.

“Some of the dogs are pretty stubborn,” Rudolph said. But Blackie is calm, making it easy for Rudolph to work her clippers around his small body.

Rudolph has just started learning how to groom. With about a month of experience, it takes her three to four hours to complete a dog. But she’s getting faster.

Rudolph is part of a private, post- secondary school administered at Celebrity Paw Spa in Fullerton. Owned by Lindell Naito-Zieg, 55, of Placentia, the grooming shop teaches students the trade in a 300 hour program that touches on all aspects of owning a dog grooming business. The school is called OC Academy of Pet Styling.

“These girls here are being trained in a school that is interlinked with my shop so that when they go out in the field to get a job, they know how it is to answer a phone, talk to a customer, listen to a customer’s request and instruction on how to groom the dog,” Naito-Zieg said.

Tuition is more than $5,500. Her program is certified through the California Private Post-Secondary Education Act and the Golden Paws Dog Grooming School.

Naito-Zieg said groomers can find work at kennels, pet supply retailers and grooming shops. Some groomers use the skill as competitors in American Kennel Club dog shows. Her goal is to give students adaptable skills that can be used with any dog breed. Students leave with a certificate and a portfolio of before and after shots to show potential employers.

“It speaks for itself,” Naito-Zieg said of the portfolio. “Every groomer should have that anyways. If they are out looking for work, they should always go in with a certificate and portfolio.”

Naito-Zieg has taught around 30 students since she opened the pet spa and school in 2007. Class sizes are small and students learn by working on real clients’ dogs. Naito-Zieg said she only allows students to complete tasks she knows they are comfortable with and is always present when they are working with the dogs.

The course covers everything from ear cleaning to bow application. The work requires firm control of the dog and a gentle demeanor.

Sometimes the job isn’t pleasant. Between squeezing glands and shampooing matted, parasite-infested coats, dog grooming takes a strong stomach.

“We don’t act as veterinarians, but we will explain to the customer, ‘You need to take your dog to the vet,’” Naito-Zieg said of animals with hygiene issues or injuries.

“I really love being around animals,” Rudolph said. She hopes to work as a groomer for a spa when she receives her certification. Naito-Zieg said some students have opened their own grooming businesses after graduating.

Naito-Zieg said she sees the dogs as people’s children and teaches her students to handle them as such.

“We have a love for animals,” she said. “Otherwise you wouldn’t be in the course.”

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