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Dog groomers show their style, skills in Ocoee contest – Orlando Sentinel

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Trouble was patiently waiting on a table Saturday at the Woofgang Academy of Grooming.
Karma, another poodle, was nearby.
Mounds of poodle fur, some of it dyed fuchsia, covered the floor of the Ocoee academy two hours into the “First Annual Freestylin’ Dog Grooming Championship,” where 35 canine stylists went scissor-to-scissor for $10,000.
The field included stylists from nearby or as far away as Brazil and Mexico.
Trouble the poodle was unlike his name.
He stood calmly, compliantly for over an hour while groomer Jolette Generella shaped his luxurious coat.
Karma, whose full name is a sentence that includes the five-letter noun for a female dog more commonly used by humans as an insult, seemed to enjoy her more flamboyant makeover that included a pink pouf on her head and tail.
She had traveled from Oklahoma with her groomer, Lori Craig.
Cindy Volk of Ocoee came to watch the competition at the suggestion of her dogs’ groomer.
Mesmerized, she watched stylist Vanessa Pulgar shape her dog’s coat into fuchsia hearts of fur.
The poodle mix also got a mohawk.
“I think it’s amazing, all the talent is just unbelievable, and the dogs all are so calm, so patient,” said Volk while holding two Chihuahuas in her arms.
Lindsey Dicken, a decorated member of Groom Team USA which represents the U.S. in world dog-coiffing competitions, was named winner of the top prize based on her precise scissor work on her own dog, Emmett, a Bichon Frisé.
Asked why she entered the contest, she said, “My dog needed a haircut.”
Her dog’s new ‘do was relatively plain.
“The rules stated that they could color for fun but it wasn’t to be considered in the judging,” explained Jonathan David, a grooming expert on Animal Planet shows including “Dogs 101,” “Cats 101” and “America’s Cutest Dog.”
He supervised Saturday’s event, which also benefitted Poodle & Pooch Rescue of Florida.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals frowns on grooming competitions.
“Dogs are smart, complex animals, not toys,” PETA spokesperson Catie Cryer said via email. “There is no safe way to dye a dog or any other animal, as there will always be risks of toxic poisoning or allergic reactions that can prove fatal to the animal.
“Putting a dog’s health at risk by treating a companion animal like a novelty trinket is both unethical and unnecessary.”
But David and organizers said the dyes are nontoxic and safe and contestants love their pets.
Susan Gros of Pooch and Poodle Rescue agreed, saying the animal rescue group, which saved 326 animals last year, would not be involved if they believed otherwise.
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