So, it’s 12am on a Sunday morning and you’re neck-deep in the bottomless abyss of TikTok. At this point, you’ve already hopped three rabbit holes and found yourself on carpet shearing TikTok—later dipping your final brain cell into sheep shearing videos before you land on one of the most wholesome realms housed on the platform.
Enter dog groomers in all their pawsitive, fur-flying glory. With each appointment, you’re introduced to a new furry client as you witness them holding onto their dear lives in the tub and eventually warming up to the groomers on the table. Coupled with obsessive storytime narrations, each clip enlightens you about a unique breed as you soon realise huskies are the Karens of the dog world while nothing under the sun is chonkier than a Corgi’s butt.
But while you fawn over flawless tran-fur-mations, the experts at the helm are backed by their own mission—dishing the ins and outs of the profession with mental health and personal wellbeing in the forefront. And one of the creators leading this movement is none other than Logan Rago.
Based in Illinois, Rago’s dog grooming journey started when he was just 14 years old. “I walked down to my local dog grooming salon with a little bowtie on and asked if they were willing to hire someone as a dog bather. I got a workers permit and was bathing up until I was around 16 when I finally got a pair of scissors in my hand,” he told SCREENSHOT.
“My coworkers [and] boss taught me the basics of grooming and I applied those techniques to create my own style.” While Rago has come a long way over the course of the four years that he’s been working in the field, garnering 1.7 million followers and over 63.4 million likes on TikTok, one of the most valuable pieces of wisdom he’s gained is that dogs are able to read your energy and body language.
“At the end of the day, we work with dogs, and you have to make sure to bring your best self forward and the dogs will notice that,” he added.
If you’ve been a Rago regular on TikTok, you’d have noticed that the creator has forged his own signature style—both in terms of content and styling. Whenever a new furry client comes in for their appointment, Rago gives a quick rundown of the breed while easing them into the experience and making sure they have a good time on the table.
Head rubs and hugs are showered and, at times, nail clippings and scissorings are even faked for the dogs to get used to having tools around them. The process is heartwarming and the vibes are immaculate. But what is the entire experience like from Rago’s end? Have there been times when the expert’s patience has run thin with the companions before?
“Most of the time, clients are great—especially recently because of my social media, lots of people have trust in what I do and how I treat my doggy clients. Dogs in this day and age are practically considered our children, and some people do get very cautious and nervous about where the dog is going to get their spa day,” Rago said.
“However, I completely understand it—my dogs are my everything. So when people ask lots of questions and are very clearly worried about their dogs’ wellbeing, I reassure them that their dog is going into good hands.” It seems that I was indeed barking up the wrong tree. “Honestly and thankfully, I haven’t had any experiences where the client was being so unreasonable that it bothered me,” Rago admitted in this regard.
Silly cats, funny cats, angry cats, lazy cats, grumpy cats: ever since the conception of the space-age technology called the internet, felines have ruthlessly ruled hearts and feeds alike. As netizens spent their nine lives downloading a cat video on a 56k modem, each increase in bandwidth readily pushed them into the fingertips of catnipped internet users.
In 2022, however, it’s safe to say that the feline demigods have witnessed some competition over the years. While the swamps of Reddit pushed capybaras to the forefront, sheep and emus floored TikTok. Meanwhile, COVID-19 led to the parallel rise of pandemic puppies, majorly fronted by the isolated hours we spent on the internet.
According to a report, more than 23 million American households—nearly one in five nationwide—adopted a pet during the pandemic. Heck, even President Biden adopted a new dog called Commander. As puppy parents spent the pandemic indulging their companions, their return back to life in-person was hard, to say the least, on the furry beings.
Having created a generation of dogs who are emotionally co-dependent, often on a single individual, pandemic puppies were suddenly subjected to extended periods of isolation when their owners returned to offices. This, in turn, paved the way for separation anxiety and other behavioural challenges.
“Working with dogs that have had built up traumatic experiences or just have not been socialised enough is definitely a task,” Rago explained, adding that trauma sticks with dogs for a long time and takes certain training to help them cope.
“What I recommend for people with dogs that don’t enjoy going to the groomers is to buy a small grooming table at home and practise with the dog on the table—brushing, combing, and even doing the nails if they can. This will make them more comfortable when they come to the groomers since there is a common ground.”
As for separation anxiety, the creator admitted that it becomes difficult, given that some people don’t like dog parks or dog daycares. “So, in these cases, I ask my clients if they have any family members with dogs and if they could help. There are also basic training classes which usually have a small group of dogs you train with and that can help tackle two birds with one stone,” he recommended.
While you can binge-watch Rago explaining at length about the unique breeds, their antics on the grooming table, and eventually deciding which bandana to bestow the clients with, the creator’s storytime narrations hit different. From rightfully attacking owners who allow matting to recalling the times when people took the wrong dog back home, Rago’s gen Z takes are unrivalled.
At the same time, however, it makes one worry if storytimes about ‘bad’ owners have landed him in a pickle before.
“When it comes to talking about owners and their dogs, I usually bring up experiences that happened a while back or I change up the details a little bit so it wouldn’t bite me in the butt later,” Rago admitted. “So, I haven’t had any issues with owners being upset with what I say—most of the time it’s all in good fun and the owners know my sense of humour. However, if I did have an upset client, then I would have no issue taking down the video and apologising!” Hear that, TikTok? It’s time to heave a collective breath of relief we’ve been holding all this while.
Along with Rago’s iconic outros, one of the most common features in his videos is stray fur. Be it on the grooming table, in the bathtub, or flying like a Christmas miracle everywhere during the blow-drying process, the amount of fur the expert is exposed to on a daily basis continues to raise concerns among viewers in the comments section.
This is where the dreaded condition called groomers lung comes into the conversation. It goes without saying that having any foreign object in your respiratory organs is not exactly a good thing. Groomers lung is a chronic disorder that can affect your lung function when tiny, sharp fragments of hair get deep into them, leaving inflammation and scar tissue behind.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the symptoms of the condition include chronic coughing, frequent chest pain, and general inflammation of the airway. Many groomers have also reportedly experienced other lung-related issues like bronchitis or pneumonia.
“Groomers lung is a very serious thing—not only fur, but nail dust, skin particles, and more are basically everywhere in a dog grooming salon,” Rago mentioned, adding that a mask is important to protect your lungs in such settings, much like construction workers for debris in their workforce. “I do wear a mask when blowing out dogs (that’s when hair is quite literally going everywhere) and when I’m not recording for content. So, please groomers, wear a mask!” the expert urged.
Rago also went on to explain how the profession is not all roses as it might seem on social media. “This job is all about prevention and there is a very large toll on our bodies—such as our hands having carpal tunnel, which currently at 18, I need a break from scissoring sometimes because my hands are aching and burning from the constant repetition. I also go to the chiropractor every single week to help with back pains.”
Let’s admit it. The worst part about furry companions is having to say goodbye, and that goodbye always comes far too soon. While groomers lung, carpal tunnel, and routine trips to the chiropractor are some of the physical tolls dog groomers are subjected to, the loss of a client is one of the biggest emotional detriments they are left to deal with.
“In one of my recent videos, I talked about a friend’s dog passing away and how it was really hard for me,” Rago said, adding that the client has been with the creator since the start of his grooming journey, way before his rise on social media. “He was blind and had a difficult time warming up to new people. I built a strong connection with him and always made sure to give him the most comfortable experience I could. Every appointment I had with him, I was reminded about how far we have come together.”
“Obviously, it sucks,” Rago continued. “We never really know when it’s going to be that time with our doggy clients—so with this recent loss I learned that, when they start getting older, to really cherish every minute you have with them. Say goodbye to your heart’s content because, when we do get that sad call from the owners telling us the news, all we can think about is how we wish we could have said a last goodbye.” Rest in peace, Chico.
Over the course of four years, Rago has dealt with countless—excuse my unsolicited puns—hairy paw-ters, labra-thors, Winnie the Pooches, and arf Vaders. However, one of his favourite breeds to groom is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
“Honourable mentions to Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers and Standard Poodles (the two breeds I have),” Rago said. “Cavaliers are known for having amazing loving temperaments and their haircuts are simple and fast! However, I am a strong believer in [the fact that] the breed doesn’t make the dog! Some of my favourite dog clients are ones that have bad reputations for their breed.”
At the end of the day, know that there are no ‘bad’ and ‘good’ breeds. All dogs are essentially just a little ruff on the edges—which is bound to be overlooked with the amount of love and care shared with their bonds. So, hopefully you take this article as a sign to go downstairs and place a big, slobbery kiss on your furry friends today. Now everyone say 👺 BYE RAGO 👺
Being stuck at home, whether alone, with your family or with flatmates, means two main things: we’re bored most of the time and can feel pretty lonely as well. This explains why at the beginning of April, New York saw all its animal shelters empty after residents decided that the COVID-19 crisis was the perfect time to adopt a pet.
And what if we told you that you, too, could adopt a cute puppy without even leaving your flat? Sounds dreamy, right? That’s exactly what the dog food brand Pedigree is working on right now. The initiative, called Dogs on Zoom, is simple: if you wish to adopt a dog, join a Zoom call for a specific shelter in order to meet different dogs on a video call and get to know your potential next pet, virtually…
If you end up falling in love with a special pooch, you can adopt them online through the Pedigree website and the brand will even pay the totality of the adoption fees. Dogs on Zoom sounds like the best Zoom call you could ever have if you ask us.
This week, Pedigree is working with the Nashville Humane Association but has indicated that more shelters based in the US will be participating soon. The next and last Zoom call for the Nashville shelter is Wednesday 12 May at 5 pm local time, so don’t miss it if you live nearby and are interested.
If you are lucky enough to end up finding the pup of your dreams, the shelter will deliver your new best friend via curbside drop off in order to maintain social distancing.
You can sign up for one of the Zoom meetings right here. What are you waiting for?