Liana Maloney, Posh Paws Pet Spa owner, is a champion. Or at least her dog is.
Her and Caffrey — a young Shetland sheepdog — returned home to Sooke last week after venturing to Surrey for the All Breed Championship Dog Show for dog groomers.
“Our 10-month-old puppy completed the Canadian championship — he won best puppy in a breed and best puppy in a herding group,” said Maloney.
This wasn’t, by any means, her first success as a groomer. About a month ago, Maloney and a handful of her client’s dogs went to the Island Grooming Event in Victoria.
“They had groomers from Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, and the Island — basically western Canada.”
She said it was the first big dog grooming show on the Island, and was basically a “scissoring competition” where the goal is to have the dogs trimmed as close as possible to the breed’s standard pattern which is a predetermined international standard. While some of the other entrants brought dogs from kennels, she chose to use those belonging to her customers.
“Some of these dogs are coming in every week for six weeks to get their coats in shape, so it’s a lot of work for them.”
In the competition, Posh Paws took second place in sporting dog class, fourth in mixed breed, second in toy poodle, and first in terrier with a Welsh terrier from Sooke named Dillon.
Maloney said she loves to enter such shows, but they’re very time consuming and take a lot a time away from her business which she opened five years ago. And while the shop is relatively new, she was involved in the industry long before that.
Growing up with an exceptional affinity for canines, she already knew what she wanted to to do even as a student at Edward Milne over 30 years ago.
“My first client was my English teacher’s sheep dog,” she said.
After high school she attended a grooming school in Vancouver where she graduated in 1982. Maloney said her parents were supportive of her unorthodox career choice and laughingly told her to “go for it.”
She is now a certified master groomer with the professional association, and her career has taken her to high places — she was training employees across Canada at the pet store chain Petcetera for a decade before realizing she missed the Island and decided come back and open her own business.
The next big challenge for Maloney is to compete on a global scale. By doing well in competitions, she accumulates points to eventually reach the level where Posh Paws is eligible to join the Canadian grooming team.
“Next year we’re doing it seriously.”