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Hair of the Dog: Groomers Becky Outerbridge, left and daughter Hannah working with family pet Jodie (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Hair of the Dog: Groomers Becky Outerbridge, left and daughter Hannah with family pet Jodie (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

At Hair of the Dog grooming on North Shore Road in Devonshire, the key word is “kind”.

Becky Outerbridge and her daughter, Hannah Outerbridge, are determined that their canine clients have a good experience.

“There is not a train of dogs coming through,” Mrs Outerbridge said. “We only take about four dogs a day. That way we can develop a relationship with them.”

Years ago, she and her late husband, Barclay Outerbridge, bred Neapolitan mastiffs in Wittersham, Kent, England. Their dog, Milton, was used in one of the Harry Potter movies to play Fang.

Mrs Outerbridge started learning to groom out of necessity.

“One of our dogs had a bad experience at the groomers,” she said. “She was nervous and they were not gentle. She was so stressed that she developed sores.”

Mrs Outerbridge never took the dog back to that groomer or any other.

“After that, I learned to groom them myself,” she said.

She and her husband returned to Bermuda to be closer to family 20 years ago. Mr Outerbridge died in 2008.

“Four year ago my daughter, Hannah, was living in Manchester, England, and was at a crossroads in terms of what she wanted to do with her life,” Mrs Outerbridge said.

“She was thinking about coming back to Bermuda. We were trying to figure out what would be a good job for her. She was working at an animal rescue in England and wanted to keep doing something with animals.”

Hannah, 31, decided to take a dog grooming course at the Riverside Dog Grooming Academy in Manchester and asked her mother to join her. Mrs Outerbridge readily agreed.

They spent five weeks in training.

“They throw you in at the deep end right at the beginning,” Mrs Outerbridge said. “We were a bit shocked. We were experienced with dogs, but they would say ‘here you go, this is your first dog and here is the clippers’.”

“But that was good because it broke the ice straight away,” Hannah said. “It was so much fun.”

Training was five days a week, and often started at 8am.

“We would see a real variety of dogs,” Hannah said. “We would have to make sure that we took a before and after photo. There would be a teacher who would come in and walk around and give us help if we needed it, or point out things.”

Training could be intense.

“We would have six Newfoundland hounds come in at one time, and they had so much hair,” Mrs Outerbridge said.

It was a great experience learning with her daughter. They work well together and are able to encourage each other.

After finishing the programme, they started Hair of the Dog, three years ago.

“It was slowly building up, and then Covid-19 hit,” Mrs Outerbridge said. “Now, we are trying to build it back up again.”

They operate out of a garage on family property near Devonshire Dock.

“We can groom them on the dog table, or on the floor, whatever they prefer,” Mrs Outerbridge said. “And we can take their dog bath outside, if the dog seems to like that more.”

They will work with canines of any age, and will also handle dogs with skin conditions.

“In Bermuda you do get a lot of problems with skin and the humidity,” Hannah said.

“If someone says they have a dog that has to be bathed every other day then we will work something out with them,” Mrs Outerbridge said. “Keeping up the medicated washes can be very time consuming for people. We are more than happy to do that, too.”

Mrs Outerbridge said one of the advantages of regular grooming, is that the groomer can look out for any unusual lumps, bumps or skin related health issues in the dogs.

For a basic cut, blow dry and grooming, it is $65 for a small dog, $75 for a medium sized dog and $85 for a large.

For more information see Instagram @Hair_of_The_Dog or on Facebook @hairofthedog, call 732-0900 or e-mail beckyko7@hotmail.com

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