Career has gone to the dogs. . .and cats

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Jill Herman shampoos a canine client at her business, Pampered Pets Grooming based in Elkader and Guttenberg.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


Jill Herman’s career has gone to the dogs—and she couldn’t be happier about it.

Jill is a pet groomer who shampoos, trims and styles both dogs and cats, which helps ensure pets not only look good but feel good, as well. She sees her four-legged clients three days a week at the Elkader Vet Clinic where she rents a grooming room. Two days a week her business—Pampered Pets Grooming—is open in Guttenberg.

“Dogs needs regular baths just like we need regular showers to keep their hair and body not only clean but healthy,” Jill explains. “Also, just like us, pets need to have their nails trimmed to keep them at a good length. If nails get too long, they can add pressure to other joints in the paw or leg, which can change the way they walk.”

Jill trims nails whenever she bathes or grooms a pet.

A career working with animals was always in the cards for Jill. After graduating from Ed-Co High School in 2002, the Colesburg native attended Kirkwood Community College where she earned a degree as a veterinarian technician. She married her high school sweetheart, Brad Herman, and they moved to Elkader where Jill soon had a job working as a tech at the Elkader Vet Clinic.

“I got interested in grooming shortly after I started at the vet clinic,” Jill said. “I would watch Karen, the current groomer, work her magic and I loved seeing the way pets looked when she was finished, The owners of the clinic asked if I would like to learn more about grooming and I jumped at the chance!”

At that time, the clinic had a Garnavillo office, which is where Jill started her solo career as a groomer. When that branch closed, she came back to the Elkader office and worked there for five years as a vet tech.

“In the fall of 2012, I decided to leave the clinic and start my own grooming business in Guttenberg,” She explained. “I was asked to come back and join the Elkader clinic as a groomer last January.”

Each grooming session has its challenges and rewards. Jill admits that grooming cats is tougher since they move quickly and have shorter attention spans. “Some cats love to be groomed but others wish it never had to happen,” she added. 

There’s plenty of humor in the work Jill does, too.

“I asked a smooth collie named Rory if she wanted a bath as she came through the door,” Jill recalls. “She got so excited she made a quick circle around me and then jumped right up into my tub where she sat waiting for me to bathe her. My tub is waist height for me so it was a good leap!”

Occasionally, Jill will get an unusual grooming request like leaving a mohawk on a shih tzu but most clients want to keep their pet’s look consistent to the animal’s breed. 

Jill advocates regular grooming but she also reminds pet owners there are things they can do between grooming sessions to keep their animals looking and feeling good.

“It all depends on the type of animal you have,” she said. “If you want to keep your dog’s fur at a longer length, for example, you need to make time every day or every other day to brush them out completely to keep them from knotting up. If you don’t have time to do this, you might consider having appointments closer together to keep them knot-free.”

Jill’s love of animals is shared by her family. The Hermans, which includes the couple’s children, Staci, age 12; Brandi, 10; and Luke 7, live on a acreage near Littleport with a Labrador retriever, three beagles, five horses, a cat, ducks and a rabbit.

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