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Sycamore High Students, Community Benefit from Dog Grooming Program

-Micca Terrell

You can get your pet groomed inexpensively and help support local students’ education.

Sycamore High School Dog Grooming is an integral part of the school’s agricultural program that includes about 45 students per year, according to Toni Hawley, SHS Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor. Due to the increase in coronavirus cases, the service had to close from Nov. 9 until Nov. 30, but those who booked appointments during this time will receive a message from SHS Dog Grooming about the cancellations.

“This has been crazy for all of us, but we will come back strong,” Perrin Lane, SHS Dog Grooming Student Manager, said on the service’s Facebook page. “Thank you so much for your cooperation and understanding,” Lane said.

The grooming services began with a grant from A.O. Smith four years ago, according to Hawley.

“Our Agriculture program purchased clippers and supplies and began the process of setting up grooming services. We started slowly, mostly with students’ animals and staff members. Students have been growing the school-based business each year. We have a dog bath in our school greenhouse and a hydraulic table in our animal lab, along with several mobile grooming tables,” she said.

While dogs of all sizes from chihuahuas to Great Danes are washed and groomed, Hawley said students have also groomed cats and rabbits. The four-legged friends are tended to for the entire day before pickup in the after. Clients set up their appointments and learn about the specific drop-off and pick-up procedures through the service’s Facebook marketplace page, a new addition this year, Hawley said.

“We accommodate 1-2 animals a day, four days out of the week. Students have been managing bookings since things started and have gradually built the program up to where it is today. Due to COVID, payment is all handled electronically, and the ag teacher is the only one who greets dog owners for drop off and pick-ups,” she said.

This work is very rewarding for the students in the SHS agriculture program, which focuses on the veterinary and animal science program of study, Hawley explained.

“Setting up this hands-on skill was one way to prepare students for careers in the field as well as learning how to better care for their animals. The students receive training from the ag instructor with a vet tech certification curriculum program. We cover safety, proper restraints, and basic pre-bath and bathing procedures,” she said.

The community has responded well to the program, Hawley added. “Our students have been happy to provide a service to the community. Students find this very rewarding and get excited to see who has been booked in for appointments,” she said.

Be sure to check the SHS Dog Grooming page on Facebook for availability. Their services are in high demand.

“Our services have become popular and with COVID we have had to learn to be very flexible with how we book appointments. We are currently already booked through the year of 2020 but would be happy to add anyone to our cancelation list if appointments become available,” Hawley said.

Basic grooming packages start at $15 for dogs under 100 lbs., and over 100 lbs. are $25. Animals arrive in the morning and stay with the students throughout the day, she said.

“We have crate systems to keep pets in, in our animal lab. We take great care of all our pets that visit our program like they are our own,” Hawley said.

For more information, visit the SHS Dog Grooming page on Facebook at


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