Our Story

Hi, I am Sophie and I am the owner and Head Groomer at Fifi’s Holistic Dog Grooming. This page is about how I came to be a dog groomer and how I had the idea to set up my own salon.

I have always known that I would work with animals from a young age. My idol is Sir David Attenborough and I wanted to be just like him when I grew up! I wanted to work with and help animals as much as I could.

My education has always centred around animal based science. I started with a National Diploma in Animal Management, then moved on to my degrees: FdSc in Wildlife Education and media, BSc in Applied Zoology.

When I finished University, I managed to get a job in a private Veterinary Practice as a Veterinary Care Assistant. I loved my job there, I learned so much about common illnesses, diseases, nutrition, behaviour, you name it!

It was whist working at the practice that I discovered my interest in dog grooming. The Vet used to get her dog groomed at the practice and I used to watch the groomer and be mesmerized! I decided to do my City and Guilds Level 2 & 3 in Dog Grooming and Styling at The College of Animal Welfare in Leeds.

Soon after I started my course, I managed to get a job in a grooming salon/kennels as a grooming assistant. This was amazing because it meant that I could finally get my own dog! That is when Fifi came along <3

Whilst working at the grooming salon/kennels I picked up lots of tips and tricks from my colleagues and soon became a full time groomer there. The salon I worked at was a busy salon with a large turnover of dogs per day. This meant that the salon was set up so that the dogs would come in on an hourly basis, be put in a cage/crate and the grooming assistant would bath and dry the dogs for the groomer to finish. Then the dog would go back in the crate until the owner picked them up. There were often lots of dogs in the salon at the same time.

We also dealt with nervous and aggressive dogs in the salon. These dogs were usually muzzled and just forced to be groomed regardless of the fear and aggression they were showing.

These dogs broke my heart. I could see that they were desperatly trying to show us that they were scared and yet we still carried on. These dogs inspired me to do more research on dog body language and behaviour.

I have completed a few seminars and courses now on dog body language and behaviour. These courses have taught me so much and have made me become a better groomer. I can now understand how to make the grooming experience better for fearful and aggressive dogs.

I was not able to implement what I learned at the salon/kennels due to the busy environment and set up of the salon.

So, I decided to leave and set up my own business! I would create a home from home salon, where dogs can feel comfortable and only have one dog at a time to create a less stressful environment. I wanted to focus on grooming for the dog and not just “to get it done”. To me, it is so important that the dogs are comfortable and tolerant of the grooming process and not scared. After all, they will be coming to be groomed every 4-6 weeks for 10-15+ years of their life!

Little did I know, there are other groomers who also work this way! It is called Holistic or Dog led grooming. Using modern, scientific, positive reinforcment based training methods to ensure that the dogs in our care are as happy as possible being groomed.