10/05/2012 12:03 EDT | Updated 12/05/2012 05:12 EST

Grooming Gets Creative at the Paws for the Cause Gala


One of the most exciting parts about organizing this year's Paws for the Cause Gala is collaborating with so many different dog lovers, and hearing their unique stories about their work with animals. Erica Chou works for the National Association of Professional Creative Groomers (NAPCG), and holds the title of being the first Professional Creative Groomer in Canada. She is also a certifier for NAPCG. I met with Erica to talk about how the NAPCG became involved with Paws for the Cause, and asked her what we can expect to see at the upcoming event.

What is The National Association of Professional Creative Groomers and what is your role there?

The National Association of Professional Creative Groomers (NAPCG) is the first professional grooming organization dedicated to the skill and science of creative grooming. The NAPCG strives to set professional grooming standards within the industry by educating groomers on the use of safe products, and safe techniques. The NAPCG has designed the only creative certification program within the industry. I am the first Certified Professional Creative Groomer in Canada and a Certifier for the NAPCG.

How did you get involved with Paws?

This past summer, the members of Paws for the Cause originally approached me at Woofstock because my dog's unique styling caught their eye. After we met that day, they reached out to me to ask if I would be willing to help with the grooming and dog show portion of the Paws for the Cause gala event. I took this opportunity one step further and suggested having the NAPCG sponsor this part of the event. It was important to me to include the NAPCG because they always strive to promote safe creative grooming.

What are you going to be doing at the Paws gala this year?

I will be doing some very cute and stylish designs on the dogs, from hair colouring and extension to tattoos. All of which will be customized to each individual dog.

What is your grooming routine?

When doing a creative groom, the dog's health and temperament must be taken into consideration. I will first assess the dog to see if he or she is a suitable candidate for creative grooming. Then I will determine which type of creative method is best suited for the dog. If the dog is getting their hair dyed, I will conduct a patch test to make sure they aren't allergic to the products. Only then will I proceed with the creative groom.

What is the wildest grooming design you have ever done?

I am not an extreme creative groomer. I do most of my creative grooming with the average pet. However you may be seeing some very interesting designs walk onto the stage at this event. We're not giving any secrets away!

Want to participate? Tickets for the third annual Paws for the Cause Gala taking place at 99 Sudbury in Toronto on October 11 at 8 p.m. are still available. Visit and get your tickets today!

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