Stylist to the dogs: Groomer brings over 20 years of experience

Kat Schmitt has over 20 years of experience working with pets, specifically with grooming, and she’s bringing that talent to Camp Bow Wow in Rowlett. The Florida native turned Texas transplant shares a home with two dogs – a standard poodle and a 15-year-old Staffordshire pit bull and four cats. Her caring heart extends beyond animals to caring for her fellow humans as well. When she was living in Florida she would take her pit bull to nursing homes and children’s hospital for therapy. She also feeds the youth and on occasion will house them as well.

What brought you to Texas?

Family. I have a sister, a brother and my mother lives in Texas.

How'd you get started as a groomer?

I was working at a vet clinic as a vet tech, and I come to find it was a little too emotional for me. I was already grooming at home and I decided to just stick with grooming because it's more artsy and I still get to work with animals. It's something I've always done; I think I started bathing animals as early as 8 years old. 

How long were you working as a vet tech before you decided it wasn't for you?

I was working to get my certification through Alabama (where I was at the time) and I was going through school to become a veterinary technician. I did it for a year and half, and I was also bathing for the groomer that they had at the time. I did a little bit of everything. 

What was the hard part for you as a vet tech?

The hardest part for me was the sick and injured animals. When someone loses a pet and cries, I cry. The sad emotional parts, it got to be too much for me because I'm not one of those people who can handle a lot of sadness. 

Have you've always known that you wanted to work with animals?

Yes, always. 

What's the most challenging part for you as a groomer?

When something comes through the door and needs a home and working on pets that have been neglected or foster dogs that need homes. It's hard to get them clean because they're usually scared; you gotta take it slow and it makes me want to cry while I'm grooming them, but it makes me feel good that they feel better. They usually get adopted after a haircut because they feel fresh, clean and they’re happier. 

What's your favorite part?

Puppies (all dogs are puppies no matter how old), the joy on customers’ faces and the dogs feeling great.

Do you have a favorite breed?

I don't have a favorite breed, but I have a favorite breed group – I love terriers. They are challenging because they're stubborn and confident, but I love them for it. 

What's been the most creative style that you've done?

Some of the grooms that I have done to my standard poodle when she was younger. I did a lot of creative grooming to her like dying her hair; she's had feathers, hair extensions, just creative stuff. I made her look like a panda one time. 

What's been the strangest style request you've gotten?

I've had a standard poodle that wanted its top notch shaped like a triangle and these big feet that look like bee stings and a short body. It's been mostly poodles. One time I had someone who wanted their dog shaved but leave the hair on the back, it looked like a cape almost. There was also this Yorkie, it had a pretty long coat but they wanted its head shaved like a Chihuahua and shaved feet. 

What do you enjoy doing for fun?

I like gardening, movies. I'm a little bit of a nerd, taking my animals for a walk in the park including my cat, and feeding the masses, and by that I mean feeding and clothing anyone who needs it. I have an open-door policy. I do take in a lot of teenagers. 

Why do you consider yourself a nerd?

When you walk into my house you see a lot of Doctor Who, Star Wars, I love IT, just the quintessential nerdy stuff. I used to collect comic books, but I'm more of a movie/TV buff now.

Marvel or DC?

I do tend to lean more towards Marvel, but that's a really tough question because Aquaman ... but the character itself and the comics, Marvel. 

What's currently on your top 5 watch list (TV/movies)?

The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, all the Avenger movies, Stranger Things and horror movies. I'm a big horror movie buff and I have all of Rob Zombie movies. 

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