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“WELL GROOMED” To Dye Fur :-)




Review by John Delia

A fun and furry documentary, Well Groomed takes you into the world of colorful dog styling and it’s mesmerizing. Director, writer and producer Rebecca Stern follows four of the top dog artists as they clip, dye and design the hair on long haired pooches. It’s very fascinating watching the competition between the chosen four, but more so the amazement of what can be created with a scissors. Add to that a lot of safe colorant made especially for those that want to make their dogs a special canvas.

Adriane Pope and her poodles become Alice in Wonderland for an afternoon in Conway, South Carolina in WELL GROOMED. Photo Courtesy of Cattle Rat Productions

After watching Well Groomed, at first I thought about the TV show that featured little kids being beauty queens all dolled up with make-up and special costumes so they can be crowed the best. That show really bothered me as the children, who are beginning their early maturing phase, are being exposed to stressful competition, and in some cases pushed way too much to do so. They are experiencing a lot of attention, getting upset if they lose and their parents show a lot of anxiety in front them, even if their little cutie wins. On one show there was actually some very visceral confrontations in front of their child.

Adriane Pope brushes her poodle, Encore, in her mobile grooming van in WELL GROOMED. Photo Courtesy of Cattle Rat Productions

Enough about that. In Well Groomed we find experienced dog groomers putting their dogs through the same kind of contest, except there’s very little pressure on the dogs except to stand quietly while they are getting a trim. And, win or lose there’s no stomping of feet or nasty comments. Much like a sporting event, the groomers talk about how they can improve for the next show.

And speaking of the grooming shows, hundreds of people fill the seats and you can hear the ooh’s and aah’s as they applaud all the contestants. It’s more of an event that shows not only the creativity of the groomers, but a spectacle of accomplishment. Not a dog has a tear in their eye, or barks out that they won or lost. They even seem to relish the idea with a statuesque pose when the trophy is handed out.

Nicole Beckman and her poodle, Ira, practice grooming before a big show in WELL GROOMED. Photo Courtesy of Cattle Rat Productions

The road to getting to each of the four main competitions is nicely helmed by Rebecca Stern who brings a lot of insight to the world of dying animal fur. While at first one may think that it could be dangerous to the dog or other animal when you dye their fur, and it actually could if you use the wrong products. Shown in the film are the product brands like Opawz that they use and are perfectly safe. Your human hair and those of the animal are dead cells growing out of your body forming strands. Yipes! And if you do not use the right formula of hair die, it could damage even human follicles and maybe even your skin. But, like these pros of the grooming industry that only use approved dyes that do not affect the body, it’s harmless when properly applied. There’s one scene at the very end where we see one of the dog’s fur getting clipped after a show, and presto their coat is back to its original color.

Cat Opson’s poodle, seems to smile as he’s groomed in WELL GROOMED Photo Courtesy of Cattle Rat Productions

SPECIAL NOTE: “Throughout the process of making this film, people have asked me if the women’s actions are safe for the dogs. The questions mostly come from a place of care for animals, and I appreciate that as an intense dog lover myself. During the last several years of filming the grooming community, I’ve only seen happy animals who have been treated with tender, loving care. Everyone I’ve come across within the grooming world are real “dog people” whose lives revolve around taking care of animals. The dog pampering that goes on is really quite impressive. And, as professionals they know quite a bit about dog care and signs of discomfort. I hope viewers can watch WELL GROOMED and see for themselves how much the women love their dogs, and how the dogs care for the women right back.” – Rebecca Stern, Director, Producer and Writer

Well Groomed has been rated G by the TV rating service. It is now available on all VOD platforms and DVD. Check your streaming services and other outlets for times and play dates.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A fun and furry film that entertains. (5 out of 5 Stars for dog lovers)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Adriane Pope, Angela Kumpe, Cat Opson, Nicole Beckman, with Darrell Pope, Haley Pope, Cindy Oliver, Shelly Gross, Tom Beckman, Martine Gold, Matt Opson, Nancy Cribb, Frank Sedgwick, Kathy Rose
Directed and written by: Rebecca Stern
Genre: Documentary, Animals
TV Rating: G
Running Time: 1 hr. 28 min
Opening Date: July 21, 2020
Distributed by: HBO
Released in: All VOD platforms, DVD

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