My life, my words: April Rubley: No bad dogs |

My life, my words: April Rubley: No bad dogs

April Rubley, above, has owned The Dog & I Grooming for seven months. She said she has loved animals all her life, and working with them is extension of that affection.
Shawn McHugh


Owner of The Dog & I Grooming for seven months

— “I started at PETCO in Glenwood Springs, which is where I trained for grooming. And from there, I got offered a position at an Aspen grooming staff. I was making really good money, and then Critters R Us said they were moving from up by Murdoch’s down to the mall and they asked if I wanted to rent a space to groom a couple days a week. So I said, ‘A couple days a week? I’m in.’ But then I decided I didn’t want just a couple day, so I moved back home.

“Business is very well. I like all the other groomers in town a lot. I’ve heard a lot of nice things about all of them, and I feel like all the groomers in town should be friends because we’re not really in competition with each other. Grooming isn’t really a competition thing unless you’re actually being timed in a ring. I think people choose to go wherever they go because they like the look or how their dog is treated.

“There’s a thing called the Master Groomer’s Certificate and there’s really no such thing as a license for grooming. If you wanted to groom, all you’d have to do is get a place with a tub set up and a sink, and they’ll give you a license. Anyone can do it basically. Not that you’ll make much money if you don’t know how to give a good cut.

“The Master Groomer’s Certificate costs about $1,600 to obtain, and you get it by doing a series of different breed tests. You have to pay for each test. There’s a written test for each breed group, and then you have to groom a dog in front of a judge.

“I’ve loved animals all my life. My aunt is a dog breeder from Ohio, and I hung out with her every summer since I was a little kid. When I graduated from here, I went to school in Glenwood Springs for photography, and while I was going to school I started at PETCO. When I figured out I couldn’t afford the camera equipment for my second year, I figured, ‘Well, I kind of like working with dogs.’ I never went back to school, and I just stuck with PETCO until I got my opportunity. And there, I apprenticed under a 14-year Master Groomer. I don’t actually have my Master Groomer’s Certificate. I just can’t afford to do all the tests at one time. It’s really expensive.

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“All the dogs are my favorites. I like the little ones equally with the big ones. The problem is when I moved here, my tub won’t fit bigger dogs like Great Danes. I can’t really work with big ones as much, but they’re all the same to me. Poodles are the most fun for me because they can get a lot of different cuts and it’s a lot of scissor work instead of with the clippers.

“The one thing I’ve noticed coming back to Craig is that there’s no mean dogs. Everyone’s got really, really good dogs. I had one dog at PETCO that I’m still working on now. He’d been banned from every grooming salon from Vail to Aspen to Rifle, and they live in Eagle. I go to Glenwood once a month to do some grooming for them. It’s a complete muzzle job. I like him, but there’s no messing around when it comes to his grooming. He does not like it.

“There are no bad dogs in Craig. There was only one I had to muzzle to clip his nails. Craig has a lot of sweet dogs. There are no troublemakers, no heavy barkers, just really good dogs. At PETCO, I had a lot of jobs where you just didn’t know what was coming. For new customers, it was a 50/50 chance they would even show up. I’ve noticed that everyone in Craig either likes to show up 15 minutes early or five minutes late. But they’ll at least call you about that. They’re all really good about that.”

— Interview by

Andy Bockelman

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