by Stella Shepard
Becky Batchilder developed a love for dogs growing up in the rural community of Riverton near Lorne Valley. Her passion for canines was the foundation to becoming a professional dog groomer and to self-employment.
She now lives a stone’s throw from where she grew up, and operates a home-based certified business called Ruff Life Professional Grooming.
The business offers high quality professional pet grooming for dogs of all sizes and breeds. “Companion dogs are a big a part of my life,” says Becky. “It’s rewarding to see the progress as the dog is being groomed. I love what I do and I take pride in my job.”
Becky has an impressive resumé of academic achievement and an employment record working with animals:
- Enrolled in the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (now part of the Dalhousie campus), where she took a Companion Animal Enterprise course that guided Becky towards a professional dog grooming career.
- Worked as a Veterinarian Technician Assistant at an animal hospital for four years.
- Completed a four-month program at Brenda’s Academy of Professional Dog Grooming in Moncton, New Brunswick.
- Employed with a dog groomer in Eastern Kings
- Offered a mobile dog grooming business while working as Veterinary Technician.
- Becky and a business partner operated a successful dog grooming business in Summerside from 2016 to 2020 before branching out on her own.
“I started plans to open a home-based business before COVID-19 hit,” says Becky. “My husband Justin and I were building a new home steps away from where I was raised. We included a grooming shop in the house plan. My work commute went from an hour and half drive to Summerside to steps away from my living room.”
Impact of COVID-19 on the business
“I opened the home-based business in January and had to close two months later because of COVID-19,” says Becky. “There were panic moments for sure. But I had loyal clients and a waiting list when I officially opened in June when restrictions were lifted.”
Business has been steady since re-opening in June. “Dogs offer companionship and are an extension of the family,” says Becky. “Dogs and their owners have a very special bond. People are willing to pay for grooming services out of love and care for their pets.”
“You can make a living in rural PEI,” says Becky. “Do your research. Talk to people in the community to confirm a need and a support of the services you plan to offer.
“Word of mouth is powerful on PEI. Developing a good reputation is important to your business, and you have to earn that trust.”
For more information about Ruff Life Professional Grooming, contact Becky Batchilder at 902-326-6525, or email [email protected]. Visit Facebook and search Ruff Life Professional Grooming.