Being a young college student can be rough regarding life changes and learning how to balance finances. To add to the stress, most college students like myself find themselves in need of a job and hit the closet website in search of something that can feed us on that shoestring budget. In my pursuit of a part-time job, I came across the listing for a bather at PetSmart just a few miles from my apartment. The first week was frightening with handling living animals and making sure they were safe, but it only took me a few more weeks to see the true colors of this trying job.

No, I don't play with dogs all day

One of the things I hear the most as a pet parent drops off their Dog is "Oh my! I would go crazy being around such cuties, you must love playing with Dogs all day."

First of all, understandable. A lot of the dogs in the salon are adorable and have pretty nice tempers and can be playful. However, I have been bitten hundreds of times, peed on, pooped and vomited on, scratched, pulled and pushed across the floor, and bled on by an in-heat female. I am constantly alert to keep my dogs separate from the others in the salon as well as make sure my dog can breathe, stand for two hours, and tolerate an immense amount of stimulation coming at it. There are times where the dogs are so naughty that my hands pull the strands of my hair out and my eyes well up with tears.

Don't get me wrong, I love having a dog come in that needs a total transformation, and I can use a brush, blow dryer, some water and fragrance to flip the switch, but I don't call it "playing" with the dogs. I'm bathing them.

Yes, it does take that long

Something I notice many pet parents complaining about the time it takes to wash and groom a dog.

For me, I can do two golden retrievers and a pit bull in under two hours, but I'm not cutting any hair, and that's also assuming I'm not being interrupted by walk-in nail trims. For those who cut the hair of dogs like Yorkies or Labradoodles, the time increases to upwards of four hours. Many pet parents are concerned about their babies being left all alone and become irate when they realize their dog is not the only dog on someone's schedule in the salon.

I can bathe three dogs every one or two hours; some groomers can do the same adding in a haircut, some cannot. Groomers work at a fast pace with dogs who bite and pull and fight for the entire session more often than not, and giving us the time to work on the dog without being under tense pressure assures us that we can be safe and do a great job on the work we've been given.

It's more difficult than it appears

I once had a pet parent ask me "Can it really be that hard to wash a dog?" Yes. Yes, it can. Not only is your dog in a strange new environment, but it is also with an unknown person spraying it with water, blasting it with loud air at high speeds, and trimming its nails (an activity most dogs despise).

On top of that, we are taking more than one dog at a time to keep up with the corporation we work for.

Despite it all, it is rewarding

As stressful and frustrating my job can be, it has some wonderful moments. I love seeing a dog come in with dingy, curly hair and I can use my own hands to make its fur flow straight and shine all white. I thrive off of the happy squeals of kids getting their puppies back all fresh and clean and moms who hug me for taking care of their little ones. Happy customers give me purpose and make the back pain and scars all worth it.