Erin Gundesen is a master groomer of the canine kind.

In August, the Palmerston North woman was in the New Zealand groom team which competed at Groom Quest Australia in Sydney where she won gold for grooming a model dog.

She was tasked with cutting a style and created a lion trim on a poodle toy dog.

"My special is Bichon," said Gundesen, who has three Bichon Frise which go to work at Transfurmation with her every day where she and two staff take in locals pets to shampoo, dry and brush the dogs.

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Gundesen has worked part-time as a groomer for seven years and says it takes four full-time years to become a master groomer.

Dogs of every breed come for their regular shampoo and brush and nail trimming. And yes, Gundesen also has one small dog that comes for its nails to be painted.

Some also come for a coat colour.

"We use vegetable dyes which are skin-friendly."

However, grooming is a specialist art and a dog's coat has to be brushed out properly and maintained well.

"Dog hair should be well-brushed, not tangled so that it's clear from the skin.

"The coat, when maintained well, is like insulation where air travels to the base of the coat to the skin," Gundesen said.

Many of these dogs are not just there for their looks.

For example Alfie, a schnoodle who was in for his groom last week, is a service dog foir his deaf owner. Gundesen said Alfie barks to alert his owner to the phone ringing, or a knock at the door.

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