An Appeal for calm, A little respect and reflection during Covid-19 (dog groomers version)

We find ourselves in strange times. I know I am not the only one who has a fear of been people been dragged into the negativity surrounding this through comments on Social Media and sensationalised in the press. So I wondered about an appeal for calm, a little respect and a little reflection during Covid-19. This statement in no way should detract from the seriousness and the very real threat posed. Its about helping and supporting each other.

Corona Virus or Covid -19.

The first line of this, is for people who will be researching  reactions to The Corona Virus / Covid-19 pandemic. At some point in the future, a great deal of money will be spent in looking into its effects.

I’m not going to get into the definition the spread or the background.  You will have seen that at least a thousand times. What I will highlight is the amount of time it gave us to turn into keyboard warriors. This is something I’m afraid I will become. Here in lies part of the inspiration for this post. In the hope of allaying some of this, here’s my appeal for calm, a little respect and reflection during Covid-19

My qualifications.

So as you are still with me. Let me state, I don’t hold myself above critique. I don’t profess to be better than anybody else. As a chap I find funny states “I’m just an ordinary bloke”[1]  This ordinary bloke wasn’t always a Dog Groomer. I’ve seen my share of dead bodies. Helped picked up pieces of bodies, often after acts of stupidity. Seen enough spilt blood to last a life time, most I hasten to add as a result of everyday life. I’ve seen someone charged and sent to court for my attempted murder, along with a serious assault. That blow to my head at a young age may explain a lot.  

I’ve seen good friends hurt, injured and take their own lives as a result of what they have been exposed to. Not just through the choice of profession, but what they have been exposed to in life. 

Married, Divorced,  lost house, partner, dad, access and parental responsibility order fought for. 25th Birthday. In a nutshell after that, Health forced change of career, a good income, a TIA, the loss of very nearly everything whilst I was off ill without state assistance.  diagnosed P.T.S.D. Depression anxiety. I just hope you are not beginning to feel the same reading this far. ( this is the abridged version, if there are any scriptwriters that may want to help with a comedy TV series contact through email please)

Its not all doom and gloom

All that though led to my career as a dog groomer, two reconditioned knees, the opportunity to do my degree, a house in the country shared with 15 Dogs, my other half and kids.

I will argue I can back up my formal qualifications B.Sc(Hons)in Animal Welfare, P.G.C.E  and behaviour with experience. So now I’ve set my stall out, I can can begin my appeal for a little calm, a little respect and a little reflection, during Covid-19 

The spoken version

Some, but not all of the content of this article is in this video, that in the best traditions of Blue Peter was made earlier.

Here’s the main Gist of it.

Advice from my Dad

Two people will see exactly the same thing in writing or visually. Each will give you a different version of events. This also applies for audio, a speech, radio transmission etc

In any presentation of information, people will draw what they need to suit their needs or arguments from it. This is happening already with the emergency legislation set down in relation to the Corona Virus. If you want to read it and form your own opinion here’s the link.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020

One of the best things my dad said to me in jest, when I was going through my divorce. ” In any marital disagreement, there are always three versions of events. His version, Her  Version and what really Happened”[2]

Dad Again

If we were all to agree on everything, life would be boring. One of the hardest things to do in any relationship, is respect somebody else’s opinion when it differs from yours. The next hardest thing is to give them chance to explain their reasoning before you try to change their mind with yours.  “You have two ears and one mouth, that is the ratio in which they should be used”

Hindsight and reflection can be a wonderful thing.

I am the first to admit, if I see something inflammatory or unjust I am ready to come out both guns blazing. I was fortunate enough to attend school at a time when journalistic writing was touched on in English. Although I hated school with a passion, I did have a soft spot for my English teacher. I will however state clearly it was her professional skills that kept me engaged and led to English been one of only two subjects I passed at ‘O’ level. 

At that time we were taught journalistic writing should be a balanced view and a fair representation of both sides of an argument. In my life prior to dog grooming, this was also an important pre-requisite of incident reporting and intelligence gathering. That information was then used to assess risk and determine action. Without getting into the depths of Kolb, Schon et al, once something has happened,  we can reflect on it evaluate and learn from it.

This is where I have dropped the ball a bit the last few days. I have seen a post on FB, some comments whilst argued with passion, also deviate from the subject topic and start attacking personally the person initiating the discussion.This gets me angry at the people attacking the original poster, from both sides of an argument, and realise I am been drawn into the same boat. Whilst I don’t know a lot of the people commenting, their background, their circumstances. I am in no position to judge them.

Don’t take it personally, it’s Business

I spend a lot of time working with other Dog groomers. Every other groomer I know is passionate about Dogs. They love working with them, looking after and living with them. The Covid-19 impact has provoked fierce argument as to whether we should be open or closed. Due to the nature of what we do, its a very fine line between personal and business as we live and breathe what we do. 

The Statutory Instrument laid down during this crisis, puts us in a position where we may feel we have to choose over people and animals. I will discuss until I am blue in the face over welfare issues in relation to the dogs. I am also concerned about my community. Its like been asked do you want to be hit hard with this baseball bat, or this cricket bat. Whats the right choice? 

Our personal choice was we close, not easy, and I have discussed the reasons in the video above. Is it  the right one, time and hindsight will tell. 

Industry Advisories and a change of stance?

My heart goes out to the admin of The BIGA and PIF/BDGA advisory body’s website and facebook pages. Their opinions havn’t changed. They have both received a load of flack through FB, BIGA for sharing advice from a governmental department, that would on first reading appears to contradict BIGA’s opinion. Its this attachment that has started a debate. BIGA have not presented is as a fait accompli, but as information they feel their members should have. 

PIF/ BDGA have seen similar in a change to their wording, not their view point. I may be wrong, but I believe that change in wording may have had to be changed due to legal grounds. A horrible position to be in when you have to consider the legal implications of any judgement you have to make. Especially when you have acted with the best of intentions, acting on information supplied by government, which may change daily. Just imagine, the PPI lawyers who are now looking for new work ” Are you a groomer ? have you lost work through closing because you felt obliged to do so” or ” Are you a groomer did you stay open but experience harassment from collegues ” “then come to us, where there’s blame theirs a claim”

Likewise the Admins on all of the groups that try to help us on FB, should get a clap. They will get a notification each time you put a post on. They then have to wade through and moderate arguments. Mmm, just a thought if you see anyone been nasty admin, assign them to the page and see how they like it.

If you need to search a facebook group for a question.

The final appeal

This is going to change life for everyone in some way. There are a lot of small businesses as well as individuals, who are going to see massive life changes and are facing circumstances in life for the first time. Taking The actual Coved-19 threat from the equation. To those who have been through the financial, the exposure to risk and life’s general shit. Try and recall what it was like. Remember not everyone knows where to go to find the info. There will also be those who find it difficult to understand that info,as well as process it. If you want a starting point feel free to start here every site I had to use is listed with a link:A little calm a Little respect and a little reflection during Covid-19

A starting point for all the information you need to get through this crap

Whilst this has been written primarily as a result of what I have seen in my industry, All small businesses are going to be in the same boat. I am fortunate to live and work  in a rural area popular with holiday makers and tourists. For a lot of businesses here its not likely to be three weeks or three months for them. It will be longer. Our local community is great always has been. In this scenario they have excelled. What some will refer to as the “small” businesses, have been the big boys and girls with the help they have offered doing free deliveries for those most at risk. I hope this is remembered when this over. 

It goes without saying my hats off for the emergency services, the forces, the shop workers, care workers etc. Their role has been highlighted. However they have been exposing themselves to risk and looking after us everyday all our lives. 

The last word

Old enough, ugly enough and should know better, but still I hope to see a better world coming out of this. Im not trying to change the world, I will be content if I can make my little world a better place for people to come into. Stay Safe Stay strong, and pass that round you and I will leave you with a fable from..yep you guessed my old man:

Once upon a time, there was a non conforming swallow. He decided not to fly south for the winter. Shortly though, the weather got too cold and he decided to catch his mates up. Sadly ice formed on his wings, causing him to fall to earth in a barn yard, escaping injury he felt lucky. This lasted right up to the point a passing cow crapped on him. Cold, weighted down and tired, the swallow thought this was the end and started to fall into a sleep. After a short while he began to come round and realised the poo was warming him and defrosting his wings. Feeling quite chipper he began to chirp and sing. The barnyard cat, on hearing the sounds, investigated decided the swallow was a prime candidate for lunch and ate him.

The moral of the story ? Not everyone who Sh*ts on you is your enemy. Not everyone who drags you of the sh*t is your friend, and if you are warm and happy and in a pile of sh*t keep your mouth shut



[1] Bishop,J. (2011) The Sunshine Tour  Live ,[DVD], England: 2entertain 

[2] Elwell,M.J. (1991) 

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