Over the past four decades Red Lodge pet groomer Sue Dildig has lost track of the number of dogs and cats she has washed, brushed and trimmed and made fur-bulous for their owners.
But on Wednesday, the team at the popular pet grooming parlour in Heath Road will be handling their final appointments as Sue, now 72, and her long-time helper Sheila Salmon, who is 80, have decided its time to hang up their brushes and combs and retire.
“Sue was going to retire two years ago when her husband Malcolm died but after three weeks she was back at work because she couldn’t bear not having anything to do,” said Sheila
“Sue had started by just doing her own dogs, but then friends asked her to do theirs and she quickly realised she could earn a good living from doing something she loved,” said Sheila. And the business has been very successful washing, drying, grooming, clipping and trimming up to 16 dogs a day. Well-known clients included the late Sir Henry Cecil.
Trends have come and gone but Sue and Sheila have never gone down the road of ‘extreme grooming’, which has seen owners asked for dyed fur and painted nails for their pets. “We would never dye a dog’s fur,” said Sheila.
Other regular helpers at the parlour are Ann-Marie Fleet and Sally Lister . “We are all friends and we are all very sad that things are coming to an end,” said Sheila.
“There have been some tears from our customers who are devastated the business is closing. Some of them have been with us, with different pets, for 30 years. It’s the end of an era for all of us and we will all miss what has in effect been a labour of love.”