NOT too many just turned 19-year-olds can claim to be running their own business — having financed it entirely themselves.
But that’s exactly what Katie Murphy, one of Cork’s much loved quads, has just done with the launch of her dog grooming business.
Katie’s Pretty Paws is up and running in Carrigaline’s Industrial Estate and it’s been so busy, she’s barely had time to paws and take it all in!
It’s a dream come true for the smart young woman. When WOW! last caught up with the quads in June, 2019, at their home in Riverstick, it’s exactly what she said her ambition was — to be a dog groomer and one day open her own business.
That ‘day’ came about faster than she thought and she admits the speed at which it’s all happened has been “pretty crazy”.
“I saw the unit up for rent and just went for it. It was signed and sealed in two weeks, I opened on December 21, and it’s been non-stop pretty much since,” she said.
Katie financed her fit out entirely with her savings, to the tune of several thousand euro, dad Pat helped her with some of the building work and her mum Brenda is roped in when things get very busy.
Even though Katie liked school — the girls attended Kinsale Community School — she always knew she wasn’t interested in going to college. That’s the route her three sisters have taken, even if they’re currently still at home due to the pandemic. All in first year, Shauna is studying IT in CIT, while Kellie and Amy are doing Arts in UCC.
“At least I think that’s what they’re doing,” joked Katie.
Joking aside, Katie says herself and her sisters are doing fine during lockdown.
“I get to leave the house to work every day and they don’t! Although they all do work part time in various places.”
Katie, trained in Creedon’s College in Togher and worked in other dog grooming businesses before striking out on her own.
Her own dogs are Tia, an eight-year-old bichon frisé and her princess, and Bailey, a three-year-old bichon mix, the troublemaker!
She admits that her own pet pooches have been her guinea pigs over the years.
“There may have been times they didn’t look great, but the hair always grows back!”
For her recent birthday, she treated herself to a dog hair dye kit, and the pair are next in line for some creative colouring.
Interestingly, Katie says she can barely plait her own hair or do a pony tail!
Since the pandemic hit, there’s been a well reported rise in the number of people looking to buy dogs. Other people are getting to spend more time than ever with their canine pals as they work from home.
Katie agrees people are definitely taking more care of their dogs, although for lots of breeds, particularly poodles, grooming is essential for their wellbeing and shouldn’t be seen as an occasional treat.
“Some breeds will get matted very easily and this can cause them a lot of discomfort, even bruising, and result in bad circulation. But all dogs should be groomed around three times a year.”
For new puppy owners, she advises a groom in their first few months, as the older they get, the more traumatic it becomes.
Katie has been nipped a few times by nervous dogs, but nothing serious that required stitches.
“I suppose I have a way with dogs anyway so in those cases I’d just talk to them, rub them and give them lots of attention.
"I don’t think any dog is actively aggressive. But it can be really daunting for them being put in the bath and having the dryer on,” she said.
Nail clipping is probably the trickiest procedure, she says, as there’s a vein in the nail which if cut, will bleed and naturally cause a lot of discomfort. Not for the faint-hearted but all in a day’s work for Katie who could spend up to five hours working on a single dog and offers treatments including a wash and blow dry, a full groom and a tidy up.
“I really just can’t believe my dream came true so quickly,” she said, before getting back to her next client.