Sunshine State Gets Creative!

by Dawn Omboy CMG, originally published in eGroomer Journal Spring 2012

Since 1971 artificial coloring of animals has been illegal in the Florida state. The law was initially put in place to protect chicks and small animals from becoming impulse buys for children, especially at Easter time. In the end, the law blanketed all animals making it illegal for anyone to color dogs.

A few years ago the annual NDGAA Fun in the Sun Competition held a creative competition. This was about the time I was really getting into creative styling. I was fortunate to have competed with Pearl in the very last creative competition held in the state of Florida, around 1995. I went away with a first place win under Judge Michael Lamb, but we all lost something else that day.

At the end of the competition I was confronted by local animal control officers aiming to give me a citation for coloring a dog in Florida. They were not nice to those of us who competed, nor to the show producers for allowing such a competition to take place where a law was in place forbidding the coloring of any animals. I thought to myself, “What is wrong with these people? Do they not realize one of the greatest Creative Divas of all time, Donna Holtzer, lives in this state?”

I took my dog and tucked my colorful tail (so to speak) and left the state never to return since there would never be another creative styling competition in Florida.

On October 17, 2007, Gregg Docktor of the Merryfield School of Pet Grooming in Fort Lauderdale, FL got the ball rolling to reform the law preventing creative styling by pet groomers. He sent a letter to the governor explaining how this 45 year old law was outdated and unfair.ww

He explained how the law did not allow the groomers of Florida to compete in creative styling competitions, let alone practice creative styling in the state. It also prevented creative styling instruction in professional grooming schools.

To make a long story short, his persistence helped get the law stricken. The good news is that on July 1, 2012 groomers in Florida will be free join the rest of the creative styling community in a celebration of color! In honor of this milestone I have decided to sculpt a Flamingo Sunset into the coat of Birdie Jade my 4 year old Standard Poodle (see eGroomer cover photo).

In this article I am going to share with you the steps I took to do this creative style and the products I used.


Birdie Jade has a lot of coat. I am a “Fluff-a-holic” and the more coat you have the harder it is to cut in a design. The dog is always moving and so is the pattern. Therefore a shorter coat will be easier to style and will hold shapes longer. But that’s just not me. I began by drawing the pattern in the coat with the tip of my scissors before cutting it in. I used a flamingo I found at Party City as my guide.


Next using a small curved shear I cut in the flamingo outline combing out the excess hair so I wouldn’t lose my line placement.


I like quick results. I used Magic Color by Pet Society diluted in a spritzer bottle to color the bird. Spritz and brush while drying with a hand held or stand dryer.



It takes time to get a dog ready when working full time. Work in stages to give the dog plenty of time off too. While I groom my assistant Brandi will bathe and dry Birdie Jade for me. Then I can work a bit at a time.


I want to have a pretty profile instead of an extreme groom. I sprayed up her head keeping in mind what I had learned from the Sasha Riess Passionate Poodle Course. I put her in a pretty balanced trim. Then to get a good visual I added colored switches to create flowers.


To make sure I liked this look I printed black & white photos of the groom.



I then used colored chalk to draw out the design before coloring.


To create the palm tree tail I banded her tail then used sienna artist chalk for the trunk. The leaves were done with green blo-pen. I then sprayed with lots of hairspray and shaped the palm leaves with my hands. The tufts of hair that would become the purple flowers were banded at the base to help them stand off the coat after they were sprayed and shaped anything that needed further shaping was done with scissors.


The color of the purple flowers was done with Avatar weeks earlier and freshened with purple glitter over the hairspray. The green stems of the flowers were created by adding the artist chalk dry to the hair. The wing of the flamingo was sprayed up, and then detailed with darker pink. The bird was outlined with black chalk to make it pop. The sun was colored with Magic color Yellow applied the similar to the flamingo. The fiery Sunset was a combination of red, yellow and orange blo-pens with orange glitter to light it up. Pink nails finish the style compliments of Warren London.



Birdie Jade fits right in the flock of flamingos in our yard. The only thing I see this needs is a winning Florida lottery ticket. But truly I think all Florida just won the Creative Lottery! Because I won the last Creative competition in Florida I hope to be able to judge the first and continue to teach and inspire many groomers for years to come. ♦