UK The 'typical Manchester lad' vying to be the UK's top dog groomer last minute news
MetiNews.Com - Expert dog groomer Tom Heaton-Clarke has highlighted the importance and skill of his profession
Breaking News ! A man from Wythenshawe is competing to be crowned the UK's Top Groomer in the BBC 's new show, Pooch Perfect. Tom Heaton-Clarke, 27, describes himself as a typical 'Manchester lad', but his love for dogs and years of training has landed him a spot as one of the youngest contestants on the series. Hosted by actress Sheridan Smith, Pooch Perfect sees 16 professionals compete in a string of themed challenges to create epic transformations of beloved pets. Tom, who was scouted by producers at a dog grooming competition last year, said being on the show was 'daunting' but that Sheridan put him at ease right away. "To walk in and have all the lights on you, and to have never groomed in that atmosphere before, it was daunting", he said. "It's like going to a grooming competition but the amount of stress times 10; you have no idea what you’re in for." Read More Related Articles Netflix drama films and series to watch if you liked The Queen's Gambit Read More Related Articles Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield reveal Dancing On Ice skater suffered gruesome 'freak accident' ahead of first show Tom, who in 2018 was named 'Rising Star' at The British Dog Grooming Championships, joked: "Sheridan was the best part. "I grew up watching Two Pints of Larger and I just remember her as Janet from the show, so when I saw her in person I got a bit star struck. "She’s dead down to earth and she really put me at ease, so nice, I wish I could go to the pub with her." Tom was tasked with grooming a big fluffy Malamute (Image: BBC/Beyond Productions) Tom, who has his own pet Poodle called Badger, had two chances up against the clock to impress judges Colin and Verity on The Dogwalk: bathing and brushing a fluffy Malamute, and delivering a puppy Schnauzer's first groom. His efforts will be shown in tonight's episode at 8pm on BBC One. "I'm so proud of myself to get on the show, there’s a lot of tough competition and I know a lot of groomers in the country, so to be considered good enough, that alone was a proud moment for me," said Tom. "And so to win the show against all those tough-competition groomers, that would be a dream come true." During lockdown, the expert groomer converted his garage at home into his salon, Tom's Dogs, where he says he has clients in the neighbourhood that watched him grow up at school. 'Sheridan was the best part' (Image: BBC/Beyond Productions) He originally wanted to work in a kennel re-homing dogs, but instead fell in love with dog grooming when he was training for his animal care qualification. After volunteering for a number of shelters in Denton and Tameside, he worked his way up in the grooming business following an apprenticeship in Altrincham. Now, he's highlighted the importance of dog grooming and ensuring that groomers have the level three diploma qualification.
Tom's Poodle Badger
"If clients are moving to another area, I always tell them to make sure they get a qualified groomer so their dog is in the best hands possible." Tom says you can check qualified groomers by typing your postcode into The Groomers Spotlight website. He urges his customers to book regularly to avoid matting, which can often happen when a dog is neglected. "It's heartbreaking when you see that happen, if a dog has been left it will be feeling horrible," Tom said.
"Every time it moves, its skin is going to be pulled tight, sore, and won't be able to walk properly. You really empathise when you see a dog like that. "I always educate owners in that the dog's welfare is the priority and that they need to keep on top of the appointments." Latest research by PDSA shows that 26 per cent of UK adults have a dog, with Brits finely tuned to the needs of their four-legged furry friends. From winter coats to car seats, doggy daycare to dietary needs, dog owners are prioritising their pet’s care, comfort and wellbeing. As a result, the dog-grooming industry is booming, and man’s best friend has never been so well pampered.
Tom's Dogs at his Wythenshawe converted garage
Tom says he charges on average £45, which can leave some of his clients surprised that it costs more than their own haircut. "I don't think they appreciate sometimes that we do the full works; their nails, hygiene, even shaving the dog's bum", he added. While Tom considers his own style to be an 'all-rounder', when it comes to the more controversial styles with dyeing, he assures that as long as it's done safely with pet-safe products, then he has "no problem" with it as long as the dog is happy. On why he thinks the nation is so obsessed with dogs, Tom said: "I'm not sure what it is with the UK and their obsession with dogs, but I'm not complaining. "I just think they fit into everyone’s families so well, there’s so many different varieties that everyone can pick a dog to suit them best." You can watch Pooch Perfect on BBC One at 8pm and you can catch up on BBC iPlayer.