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Bradley, New York Dog Spa & Hotel

What would you save from a fire? If you ask Bradley from the New York Dog Spa & Hotel, it would be his 13-year-old, first edition of Melissa Verplank’s award-winning “Notes from the Grooming Table.” Over the years, he has painstakingly attached “finished” photos of champion grooms to each breed page of the tome to form a clear and concise guide for pre-groom discussions with clients. What a great idea!

Bradley stopped by the Paragon booth at the Groom Expo in Hershey to get a new copy of the second edition of this groomer’s bible, with more than 50 new breeds and even more great content. This time, though, he plans to have an apprentice add the finish photos.

Do you have a well-loved first edition of “Notes from the Grooming Table”? If so, stay tuned. We’ll be announcing a special “trade-in” promotion!

Don’t have a copy of this grooming bible? Find one here.


Joe: All right, I’m with Bradley here. Oh, well he’s Bradley. I’m Joe. This is Bradley. Bradley, tell us who you are or where you’re from.

Bradley: My name is Bradley. I am a lead groomer at New York Dog Spa in Manhattan on 23rd Street. I use this book for every dog that I don’t know by heart. When I was training, my trainer had me go through a huge stack of show magazines, and I had to cut out pictures of Scottish Terriers, Russell Terriers, Parson Russells, all these different breeds, and I taped them to my actual book, so I had a reference, as long as the great drawings and all of the really great advice they have inside these books.

Bradley: So, if I were to have to save one thing from a fire, it would be my book, because it’s absolutely invaluable. I use it every single time there’s a breed that I don’t know. The instructions are also right on. In addition to that, I’ll say that I bring my book out when I consult with clients, and I have a client that’s apprehensive about, “Well I have a Sealeyham Terrier, and I’m not certain if you’re going to give him the right haircut.” I just flip to the book, and I say, “This is your dog. This is exactly what the instructions are, this is what it’s going to look like after it’s done.” And then they can actually see a visual representation of what I’m going to do. It makes the customers happy to make sure that I always groomed consistent with breed standards, and it’s invaluable to me.

Joe: So Bradley, tell us about the condition of your book.

Bradley: Oh, my book is-

Joe: How long have you had it?

Bradley: I started grooming about 15 years ago. I made my book about 13 years ago when I started my apprenticeship.

Joe: So, it’s the first edition. So it’s the blue cover book.

Bradley: It is the blue cover. Yeah.

Joe: All right, yeah.

Bradley: Yeah, it’s pretty beat up. Because every time I do a dog that I’m not a hundred percent familiar with, the book is on the table with me, and I’m always checking with my pictures and these sketches to make sure that my dog is coming out as close to the breed standard as possible.

Bradley: So the dogs drool on it, the pages get stepped on, and it still works great. I haven’t had actually a single page rip out, which is the first thing I was worried about when I bought it, because of the wire binding, but it’s held up great. Even though it looks terrible, it’s still very functional.

Joe: We like to say that those were well-loved, right?

Bradley: Exactly. Well traveled [crosstalk 00:02:26]

Joe: What you’ve done, is you’ve taken the book and you customized it. You talked about pasting all of the different color photos from the different magazines and things in there.

Bradley: What I did was, I actually used tape, and I taped them to one corner or a side or a bottom, so I can move the actual picture out of my show magazines away from the sketches.

Joe: Very good.

Bradley: Because the sketches are really helpful, but having a page that I can flip out and flip back and I can see a real dog. Because the sketches are wonderful, but having an actual champion dog, so you can actually see exactly how the eyebrows are supposed to look on a Westie or exactly how the tail is supposed to look like on a Standard Poodle, it really helps you get a visual representation, what you’re doing and where your scissors are.

Joe: Now, so you had your first edition for 13 to 15 years, right?

Bradley: Yeah, it’s been a long time.

Joe: So you’re going to get a new second edition today.

Bradley: I am. I’m going to buy it.

Joe: You’re going to start, you’re going to have your original well-loved book, right? Then you’re going to start kind of shaping and molding a new book. So that’s got to be exciting.

Bradley: I’m probably going to get one of my apprentices to go in and actually do the pasting for me, so that I don’t have to do it. But it’s a really great exercise for an apprentice groomer to do, because they’re going to actually have …

Joe: Yeah, great.

Bradley: It’s not like they’re just going to flip through, and they’re going to use it as a reference. They’re going to look, this is a Parsons Russell terrier, and they’re going to have to go through a show magazine. They’re going to find one, “Oh, this is one,” cut it out themselves and take the time. And they’re going to actually pay more attention to all this detail, because that’s the most important thing, is that all this information is there for you, but you’re the one that has to actually read through it and pay attention to all the details. The more you customize it, the more you make it yours, the more you’re not going to forget this.

Joe: Right. You may or may not know this, but do you know that the new version has 15 additional breeds that your blue, that first edition doesn’t have?

Bradley: Every once in a while, a breed comes in that isn’t in the book, and I’m always shocked. I’ll have to go online, and I’ll find somebody else’s pattern. It always makes me say, “Gosh, the next time I go to a convention, I’m going to have to pick this book up.”

Joe: So, and today’s the day.

Bradley: Today’s the day.

Joe: All right, man. Thank you so much. All right.

About Bradley, New York Dog Spa & Hotel

Bradley at New York Dog Spa has used Melissa Verplank’s “Notes from the Grooming Table” in an innovative way. He attaches images of finished grooms to each breed page and uses it to discuss intended grooms with customers.

See his work at New York Dog Spa & Hotel!
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