“What brings you to Elko?” This is a question often asked by a local whenever they are introduced to somebody new to the area. Common answers to this question are ones related to employment, family, or outdoor recreation. However, many other circumstances could result in someone making a move to our community. For example, today’s guest, and her husband, were brought here as a result of tragedy and disaster—a wildfire that laid waste to their hometown of Paradise, California. If you would like to know the details of this heartbreaking ordeal, you can read more about the event here: Paradise California Fire
This week, we’re joined by nationally certified master dog groomer, Shawn Gaddini! On top of being an active professional in the industry for over two decades, Shawn is currently working on a second certification with ISCC (International Community of Canine Cosmetologists). She also acts as a seminar teacher to other groomers around the country.
Shawn and her husband are new to the area as a result of the aforementioned fire; however, Shawn has wasted no time setting up shop. You can currently find her sharing space in Nikki Hyde’s Critter Cut Pet Grooming, working on lighter weight dogs through her business, Super Pups Dog Grooming!
Thank you for joining us this week, Shawn! Before we talk about your work, I’m sure many of our readers would like to hear of your unfortunate experience of losing your home to a fire. Can you please talk a little bit about that and how that led to you moving to Elko?
“I have a video of my husband and I leaving Paradise while flames are tearing up on the right of us. It took us an hour to get about one mile; all the cars were deadlocked. I’m one of those weirdos who never went back up there after the fire; I never saw our pile of rubble. That community is going to take years and years to rebuild. We came here to Elko because we needed to get away from the continuous sadness, which turned into apathy. We just had to get out of there. I still have a bit of PSTD from it all; every time I smell smoke, it’s going to bring back some memories.
“I wanted to move to Texas, but my husband said no! One day, he was looking for places, and he asked me to take a look at Elko. We researched it and came here a couple of times to visit. I became open-minded about it, and in August, we made the move after buying two and a half acres of land, sight unseen!”
Well, despite the circumstances, we’re glad you’re here, Shawn. Now, please talk to us about your dog grooming! What’s your history in the field? How have your ventures been going in Elko so far?
“I went to dog grooming school when I was twenty-four. After that, I was asked to be an instructor, so I taught at a beauty school for five years; I loved it. After I went through a divorce, I moved to Napa, California. One of my former students and I created a grooming shop.
“After twenty-eight and a half years of grooming, I’m hoping to find my niche in “foo-foo” dog grooming.
“When I first moved here, I called all the groomers here in Elko. Of the ones I’ve talked to, I’ve met nothing but nice girls! I met Nikki at Critter Cuts by just calling and leaving a message. When I moved here, she told me to come in to meet so she could tell me about Elko and what I could expect. When I went in, I brought in my standard poodle, and she said to me that maybe there was a reason we were supposed to meet. She had a lot going on outside of the business, but she didn’t want to lose it, so I put my foot in my mouth and told her she should let me squeeze in a corner and pay half the rent! She talked to her husband about it, and they agreed to it!
After years of experience, what would you say has become your philosophy for your work, Shawn?
“’Humanity before vanity’ is my motto. I don’t care if people like me, but I really care if your dog likes me. I was never blessed with children; it was just never in the cards. So, when I was twenty-four, I realized that I really like dogs, sometimes even more than people! I want to do what’s best for the dog.
“If I were in it for the money, I would put on a full-body brace and groom every dog that came in. When I had my shop in Napa Valley, I did take on every kind of dog that came in for the money, but now I’m more interested in being proud of my work. I’m not a grooming machine anymore. I don’t promise the moon, but I will do what’s necessary to make the dog comfortable. Even after all these years, I still go to at least one dog grooming seminar so I can give these dogs the best care. I promise to care for your dog the best I can.”
If you would like to set up a time to bring your pup down to meet Shawn, you can find her information here on her Facebook page
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See you around, Elko!
Written by: Anthony Crosby
Edited by: Nadara Merrill