21 May 2022

Maghera teenager uses the lockdown to launch her new dog-grooming business

Fairy Tails has been inundated over the last few months since starting up in Maghera.

Maghera teenager uses the lockdown to launch her new dog-grooming business

Cliona and four of her six dogs.

Business has been booming for a County Derry school girl who left school during lockdown to pursue a career in dog grooming.

17-year-old Cliona Owens, from Maghera, took advantage of the Covid-19 slowdown to launch 'Fairy Tails Dog Grooming', and the animal-mad teenager hasn't looked back.

“Before Christmas it was crazy. I was fully booked and had to turn people away, and people have rebooked, so that means a lot,” she told the County Derry Post.

“I didn't really know what I wanted to do until I left school, but I always knew I wanted to work with animals.

“I wanted to be a vet, but after a bit of work experience I changed my mind!”

Cliona's mum Joanne has supported her throughout her move into dog grooming, and said the former St Patrick's College, Maghera student had an early introduction to animals.

“There have always been animals around her,” she said.

“She's had dogs all her life and used to do horse riding lessons at Laura Brown's in Magherafelt. When she was two and a half she asked Santa for a moo, neigh and a quack!

“Her uncle built her a stable and Santa brought her a first Shetland pony when she was two and a half.”

Dogs have always been part of Cliona's life.

After leaving school, Cliona completed a Diploma at Wizards of Dogs in Cookstown, where the experience was immersive.

“When I was training, if a dog comes in that was biting or anything, we had to do it ourselves, to help us learn how to cope when we qualify,” she told the County Derry Post.

“That prepared me for going out on my own; when you get dogs like that you know how to deal with it. You just try your best to work with them and find a way that works better than what you've tried.

“I couldn't have done it without the Wizard of Dogs, I've learned so much. You do your first aid and start off grooming two dogs a day.

“By the end it was loads more, and I covered all the different cuts, so I got plenty of experience there,” she added.

While dog groomers have been able to remain open throughout the latest raft of Covid-19 restrictions, Cliona's sister, Nicole, hasn't been so lucky.

“Her sister has a salon in Maghera and we were laughing that Cliona has only started and she can stay open whereas Nicole has to close,” explained Joanne.

“We could maybe get her an odd dog to bath.”

You can follow Fairy Tail Dog Grooming by visiting their Facebook and Instagram pages.

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