Grooming a new skill for vet tech at Vandergrift’s Tiny’s Fur Family Shop
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Amber Phillips has seen the good and bad side of the animal world.
A former vet tech at Kiski Valley Animal Clinic in Allegheny Township, Phillips watched people decide not to vaccinate pets or give them medicine, decisions that harmed the animals.
Some people would want to euthanize healthy, young dogs as opposed to bringing them to a shelter, Phillips said.
“It weighs heavy emotionally on you,” she said.
Those experiences led Phillips to leave that job to work as a vet tech and groomer for Tiny’s Fur Family Shop in Vandergrift.
The shop offers full dog grooming services and does nail trims on other animals like cats and rabbits. All proceeds benefit TinyCause, a nonprofit foster-based animal rescue.
“TinyCause gave me the opportunity to have the positive aspect of the animal world as far as the grooming end of it and the education to owners. It also gives me the chance to help the unwanted be wanted again,” said Phillips, 36, of Vandergrift.
Most services offered at the shop aren’t new to Phillips, who frequently did nail trims and ear cleanings for dogs and cats at the animal clinic. Cutting hair, however, is new to her.
“The biggest transition for me was learning how to do haircuts so that they look good when they leave and not like they walked out of a vet’s office,” she said.
TinyCause President Darla Held said Phillips is one of the main reasons the rescue has become so successful.
Held said Phillips takes the time to talk with every pet owner that walks in the door about the importance of grooming and will refer people to a vet if she thinks something is wrong with their animal.
“Especially for our small, financially hurting town, it’s been a huge asset for Amber to step in when and where she can,” Held said. “Amber gets all the credit in the world. We wouldn’t be here without her.”
Held said Phillips is one of the people who encouraged her to open up the shop. Both women have a good sense of humor on how far they’ve come since it opened last July.
Customers have always said they love the haircuts, but Held and Phillips know better.
“Our first month we were so proud of our cuts, but looking back, we probably should have paid all of the owners for what their dogs looked like,” Held said.
“They looked awful. There’s still a lot I got to learn,” Phillips said.
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter .