When Jordan Riner was around 12 or 13, he was at a friend’s house and was bitten by their chow. This was not just a nip, mind you, the guy still sports scars on two sides of his wrist and on his chest. However, the bright side of the story is that he did not let the attack shut him down with fear. After the incident, he went back over to the friend’s house, was reintroduced to the chow, and fed him a piece of cheese. He made himself be around dogs, including chows, and told me with confidence, “Mental scars can heal.” He went on to develop such a love for dogs, that by an interestingly circuitous route he became a dog groomer.
The “route” began with a full scholarship to Jacksonville State University. Jordan plays the French horn well enough to have gotten him through college, but he encountered the same thing I did when I was studying music in college, and that is, that the music world is full of people who have made it their living, but have utterly lost their love for it. Jordan did not want that to happen to him, and so after three semesters he gave up his scholarship. I am sure his decision was not an easy one, and his new path did not emerge as quickly as he would have liked. Music had always been “it,” and now he had to develop other talents, as well as find gainful employment in a sideways economy that was sufficient to “keep the wolf out the door.” He has a brother who is a dog lover and worked at a big box pet store. He told Jordan about a position for a bather that had become available in their grooming salon, and Jordan took the risk, applied, and got the job. It was there that he had to face down every type of dog, including chows, and his new passion and resulting career was drawn forth.
Jordan is a sharp guy who likes to do research, and came to understand that there is a serious need for groomers, even in a recession. The chain store sent him to grooming school in Alabaster, and in order to even get in the door, one has to have bathed at least 125 dogs. “We learned all about breed cuts and characteristics, as well as blades to use,” he said, and added, “There is careful mentoring from a experienced groomer.” To pass his tests and become certified, he had to successfully groom 100 dogs in 3 months. “I have fallen in love with it,” he told me. “Are you a dog whisperer?” I asked. He smiled ruefully and said, “Some people think so.” He went on to tell me that “grooming is an art, a way to be creative.” In Jordan’s case, grooming also made it possible to fall in love, as he met his fiancée, a fellow groomer, at the salon, and they are going to tie the knot on June 7th of next year.
“I love dogs, and I love working with them. I don’t get stressed out, and I think the dogs sense that,” he said. “I take my time with them, pet them, talk to them, become friends with them, and give them positive reinforcement,” he said. “They sense that,” and added, “Most dogs are glad to see me. “Okay, but what about the dog who might want to eat you for lunch?” I asked. “That’s where the beauty of working at a veterinarian clinic comes in,” he said. “If we have a nervous dog, Dr. Lori or Dr. Dana can sedate them for just as long as the groom takes, and the dogs “come to” most often right at the end. The big box stores can’t offer that service.” Village Vet has all the equipment to administer the sedation and monitor how the dog is doing, as well as a staff who love dogs so much that they are more than glad to pitch in and help.
“I cannot say enough good things about working with Dr. Lori, Dr. Dana, and the staff,” he said, and I could tell he meant it. Jordan works at Village Vet from 7 am –noon on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and at Countryside Vet in Toney from 7am – noon on Tuesday and Thursday. His prices are competitive, and my time with him convinced me that there is no price for the love that he and the Village Vet staff pours into our pets.
To make an appointment to have your dog groomed, please call Village Vet at 256-262-9111, or Countryside Vet at 256-859-2221.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner