Candy Bourque started grooming at RVCSC mid-pandemic. Even if you haven’t seen her face this past year, you might already know her. Candy has been a customer service representative at the clinic since early 2019, but has been grooming in the Rutland area since 1993. She was the owner of Canine to Five and has groomed many of our patients for their entire lives.

Grooming is an essential part of healthcare. We will be working on a series of blogs regarding the importance of grooming, but before we do that, we think it’s important to introduce you to Candy, her background, and her philosophy, and who better to do that than Candy herself – continue reading for an introduction from Candy the Groomer.

Everyone, Meet Candy!

Hi everyone! Before we get into the nitty gritty, I’d like to introduce myself and give you a bit of history about myself and my experience as a professional groomer.

My aspirations to work with dogs started as a very young child when I was bit by a Doberman Pinscher. My response was, ‘when I grow up, I’m going to train dogs not to bite.’ I was four years old. Fast forward to 1993 when I enrolled into the Vollhard Training Academy in New York. There, I received my certification as an obedience instructor and behaviorist.

I went on to work as a veterinary technician at a local clinic. While there, I learned a lot about the importance of wellness and preventative care (but I’ll touch on that more later). After several years at the clinic, I decided to open my own business which offered dog daycare, boarding, and training. It was very successful, and very rewarding.

A year into running Canine to Five, I purchased a well established grooming shop to go into the same building, which came with a seasoned groomer and bather. Shortly after having the grooming shop up and running, my groomer gave her notice, and I had to learn the art inside and out in a matter of weeks. I took it all in stride.

Past Training Helped Tremendously

I realized that all of my training I had previously had all tied into grooming. My schooling from Vollhard taught me how to read dogs, which helped prevent me from getting bit, and helped to prevent and reduce stress in the dogs.

It’s so important for the grooming experience to be positive and enjoyable for both the dog and the groomer – after all, we will be spending many hours of our lives together! Time spent together brings in my vet tech experience; I saw a lot of things while I worked at the vet clinic, such as ear infections, ruptured anal glands, skin issues, and all sorts of lumps and bumps. Being able to identify health concerns is an important part of my job.

Ready for a Change

After eleven years of Canine to Five being voted the #1 Dog Care Facility, I was ready for a change. I shut down the main shop at the Howe Center, and moved just the grooming shop to my house, and took on the task all by myself. I would groom over 30 dogs in a week for nine years, out of my house.

Then, my husband saw an ad for a position at RVCSC (and the opportunity to FINALLY get all the dog-fur out of our home), so I made the phone call and got the job – it’s the best decision I’ve ever made!

I started here in March of 2019 as a customer care representative (with high hopes of moving on to grooming when a position became available). Boy did it feel good to be back in the vet world! My brain was flooded with the things that I learned years ago.

It’s a fast pace – you always have to be on your toes, and you never know what you’re going to encounter when the phone rings (which feels like it does 1 million times a day). While I love being a CSR, I jumped on the opportunity to groom as soon as I was able. Now I get to do both jobs, and I LOVE it!

More Than Just Haircuts and Bathing

The beauty of grooming at a vet clinic is that I can bring attention to a doctor if I find something suspicious with a dog’s well-being. You might not think about it, but I tend to spend more time with the dogs than the doctors do, which is a good thing! Here are some examples of things I might notice:

  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath
  • Hidden lumps
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Ticks

You get the idea – I put my hand on every inch of your dog, multiple times a year, and I take notes. In addition to bathing, giving the requested haircut, and trimming your dogs nails, I also check their anal glands (and express them if needed), check and clean their ears, inspect their teeth, and assess their overall health and appearance. Then, I give you a report card with my findings.

Grooming is so important for your dog’s overall health. Not only do they smell better, they feel better. I’m able to administer a medicated bath for an itchy dog, or I can shave your pooch down during the hot summer months.

It’s a bonding experience for your dog and myself, so it’s important to start the grooming routine early in order to create a positive experience for them. I thoroughly enjoy my job, and feel that I am helping your furbabies live a longer and healthier life by doing what I do.

Improvements at the Practice

Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center actually just built a brand new grooming shop, meaning we are even more efficient and can get your pet back to you in a speedy fashion.

Working with dogs is my passion. When your dog is in my care, I treat them as if they were my own, with care and compassion first and foremost. If you’ve taken the time to read through this, I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to work with you and your pup at their next groom!

Candy the Groomer