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Turning fear into a career

Groomer Cathleen Long works on an 8-month-old Goldendoodle’s coat at her grooming shop in Osakis. (Beth Leipholtz | Osakis Review)1 / 2
Cathleen Long has been in the dog grooming business for 40 years and recently opened Bark & Buzz, located at 22 East Main Street.2 / 2

When Cathleen Long was 17 years old, she told her mother she wanted to cut hair as a profession. She meant human hair, but her mother had other ideas. Because Long had a fear of animals, her mother thought it would be helpful for her to learn how to groom dogs.

Forty years later, Long is still in the dog grooming profession and has opened a grooming shop in Osakis called Bark and Buzz.

"I actually did not like dogs when I started," Long said. "It was a therapy thing. I was actually terrified of all animals back then."

Long and her mother attended grooming school together, and their first few days were eventful.

"We got bit on our third day," Long recalled. "I got bit on the back of my head, she got bit on her face and our instructor got bit on a shoulder. ... I wanted to quit and she said no, because we paid for it."

The two women completed grooming school and went on to open the Lucky Dog Grooming Shop in Bloomington. They operated the shop for 11 years, then began grooming from their home. After her mother passed away in 2002, Long went on to work in corporate settings such as Petco and PetSmart.

Before her mother passed away, she and Long went on to become master groomers, which takes an additional five to eight years of schooling.

"I scored a 92 on my test and knew the two questions I got wrong," Long said. "They were both on cats. I'd never groomed a cat and don't plan to."

In her 40 years in the profession, Long has learned a great deal. Contrary to popular belief, she says, clippers aren't responsible for most of the work when it comes to grooming.

"The scissoring is 99 percent of the dog," she said. "The clippers is just the minor work. People think, 'Oh, I can just clip the dog with the clippers and it's done,' and they wonder why their dog looks kind of funny."

Long grooms all breeds of dogs, and says the large ones are the most time consuming.

"Big ones can take up to eight hours," she said. "You have to play. I've got balls and things that are for sale, but if they're here eight hours they get to take something home. Sometimes I take them for a walk. It's the drying that takes the time."

After grooming, Long takes a themed photo of each dog and sends it to the owner when they return to pick up their pet. So far, she says, business in Osakis has been going well.

"It's been increasingly growing and that's just amazing and awesome," she said. "I've been very much enjoying it. I'm thrilled with the people; they're so kind and nice. ... This is so peaceful and so loving out here. I'm very happy with my move."

Bark and Buzz is located at 22 E. Main Street and can be reached by calling (320) 429-5529. For more information or to make an appointment, visit

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

(320) 763-1233