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Kristin M. Cahill

Rising Star and Groom Tech Grad: Brimming With Confidence, Excitement, and Dedication To Her Craft

Meet Rising Star and Groom Tech Grad Kristin Cahill of Pet Supplies Plus in Short Hills, New Jersey! Kristin is so enthusiastic about grooming and it’s been a joy to see her succeed in the Groom Tech Program. She’s fired up about the next step, the Pet Groomer Program, and we can’t wait to see what she’ll accomplish!

Hear from her mentor Liz Thompson, who shares, “It has been so fun watching Kristin progress through level 1 and I unconditionally enjoy our communication together. Although I do not know Kristin personally, I can tell that they are an extremely determined individual who approaches everything with respect and a humble attitude. This I feel allows an enriching learning experience for Kristin. I very much look forward to watching Kristin approach the finish line for level 1 and enroll in level 2. I know she will bloom there as well.”

Why did you choose dog grooming as a career?

It was only a few months ago I found myself broke, jobless, and really down on my luck. I wanted to do something different but I had no clue what that could be. After months of applying to jobs that I didn’t really want, I went on indeed.com to see if pet stores were hiring, thinking, that at least I could get discounted dog food for my dog.

Groom student was the first thing that came up. In the past I have volunteered at dog shelters, trained as a dog trainer, and have always loved working with animals. I never thought about being a groomer, but my eyes widened in knowing that this was exactly what I was meant to do. The past couple of months working and observing groomers at Pet Supplies Plus has only cemented this knowledge, and I am willing to do whatever it takes.

What did you enjoy most during your coursework?

I enjoyed learning about the different coats of different breeds and what makes a dog a big shedder vs. a non-shedder. I understood before why certain behaviors are attributed to specific breeds, but I did not know that so many of their physical characteristics, such as their foot shape or coat type, can tell you so much about where they originated from, or why they behave a certain way. I didn’t think I could appreciate dogs more than I already did, but I am more amazed every day.

Where can we see your work?

Other than my mentor in Paragon, I hadn’t thought about showing anyone the work I do for my pups. It’s a good question though. I think a better one is “when” can I show my work. I don’t feel I am at that level yet, but I am looking forward to the Pet Groomer Program and learning all that I can! Maybe I’ll create an Instagram account once I feel more confident in my skill set.

What are your future goals?

I finally see a potential in myself that is new and exciting. Right now my future goals are just to continue to learn, practice, and be the best I can be. Long term, I would love to be successful and comfortable enough with my grooming skills when working with dogs with behavior barriers. This would allow me to combine the two teachings and groom dogs that pet parents have been told cannot be groomed. I’ve been given a lot of chances in my life; I want to give second chances. I would like to be able to direct my energy towards tougher groom cases. The first step is learning more about grooming!

Any advice for aspiring groomers?

Confidence in yourself is a huge advantage in learning and being a groomer. Whereas I am someone who carries a lot of self-doubt. It’s hard for me to show up for myself. In working with dogs, ensuring they are cared for, safe, and loved, I realized that confidence isn’t a characteristic, confidence is a state of mind. If you are hesitant or uncertain, talk to your coaches, talk to your mentors, talk to your fellow groomers – they are with you on this journey – and then you need to fake it till you make it. Remind yourself to keep going, that even on your worst days as long as you show up for yourself that you are going to be great. And if you can’t fake it for yourself, do it for the dog who put his trust in you. And with each new skill you continue to practice, belief in yourself continues to grow. Automatically and organically, “confidence builds, calm prevails, assertiveness replaces uncertainty.” You’ll find you’re not faking that confidence anymore, you are living it, and it’s beautiful.

About Kristin M. Cahill

Kristin M. Cahill graduated Paragon's Distance Learning Program in 2024. See her work at Pet Supplies Plus!
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