Jodi Hyman

Jody Hymans hard at work.

After being shut down for weeks, pet groomer Jodi Hymans is back in business at Woofington’s Spa and Boutique in NDG. 

“But for how long?” she asks. “Until they close us again?. I am so over booked now and that isn’t good either. People are scared we will shut down again and this will be become a cycle. We need to be made an essential service.”

Hymans has written to Premier Francois Legault. “I know the situation with COVID-19 in our province is critical and the measures put into place by the government are necessary for the safety and well-being of all Quebec citizens,” said Hymans. “However, as a professional animal groomer, I would like to ask our government to reconsider the classification of groomers in order to class our services as essential. Pet grooming is as essential to the well-being of animals as the sale of pet food and veterinary services are”.

During the first confinement, pet grooming salons were closed for almost four months. At that time, Hymans said pets suffered the long wait for them to reopen and in turn had badly overgrown nails and severely matted fur. “As well,” she said, “pet parents tried to home groom their pets and inadvertently injured their pets, resulting to seek veterinary care that could have been avoided. The dogs were traumatized, causing further grooming to become an ordeal for them. At the time groomers were not even considered by the government and the public complained about groomers being closed. Because of this, the government changed us from being under the category of hair salons to being under the category of dentists, which allowed us to open two weeks earlier.”

This was not the case during the most recent shutdown. “I genuinely believe in my 26 years of grooming and continuing my education to better my career and the well-being of my clients that we are and should be considered essential,” said Hymans. “Groomers such as myself, who continue to better their education are so much more than just a haircut and a nail trim. We have dogs that must be treated once a week or once every two weeks with specialty baths and treatments for skin conditions and alopecia. These treatments are essential to a pet's well-being and are not done at home or offered by a veterinary clinic.”

Since the first wave, Hymans says groomers have learned how to deal with the pandemic. Some of the measures Hymans include are:

• Only one person with their dog is allowed in her door at any given time. This can also be done curb side, which lessons contact altogether.

• Masks and hand sanitizing is mandatory, otherwise the client will not be allowed through my door and their appointment will be cancelled.

• Collars and leashes are removed from the pet and taken home with the client.

• Dogs are then put in the bath immediately so there isn’t any chance the virus can linger on the fur.

• Hymans works alone with her daughter and they only take one dog or cat at a time and when they are finished with the animal, the salon is disinfected before the next client.

“It does not make any sense as to why doggie daycares and boarding facilities can remain open so pet owners can travel in an enclosed plane, but groomers who are essential to pets' needs are not allowed to remain open,” Hymans says.

Hymans is concerned about previous communications from the government about animal groomers working from home. “Whose home?” she asks. “Mine? The client? The majority of groomers do not have the equipment to do mobile grooming. These directives (would) put all of us in competition and become a fight for survival with a potential loss of clientele and income. I do not have the equipment to work outside of my salon. Grooming does not only consist of a bath, a razor, and scissors. Bringing people to your personal home or going to someone’s home to groom in their bubbles is not safe. Imagine a groomer going to 25 clients’ houses per week; this is 25 different bubbles. That risk of infection is huge compared to working in my own salon, where I can screen everyone who enters and exits. This is the only way I can be sure to keep myself and my family safe, as well as my clients.”

Woofington's is located on Côte St. Luc Road and Hampton Avenue, right next door to one of my favorite photographer's Lawrence Clemen. Hey, after your pooch looks so good call Lawrence for a COVID friendly photo shoot. Fido need not wear a mask!

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