From Staff Reports
CRESAPTOWN — Kevin Knippenberg, owner/groomer at Strut Your Mutt Pet Grooming in Cresaptown, hosted a Swan film crew from the United Kingdom recently for a documentary about his involvement in the new craze of creative grooming.
The crew spent eight hours with Kevin and Valerie Knippenberg and their female standard poodle, Dahni. The pets are clipped, carved, colored and sprayed into anything from dragons to dolphins to dinosaurs and more.
Todd Shelly of Barkleigh Productions of Mechanicsburg, Pa., invited Knippenberg to take part in the documentary because he is the only male groomer who has participated in the creative competition at Groom Expo in Hershey, Pa., for the past two years.
Su Eld Weaver, a groomer from the U.K., traveled to compete on the same stage in the September competition and ended up taking the grand prize. Competitors from all over the U.S. flew in to Hershey to showcase the art and style of creative grooming and the film crew was there as well.
Each pet groomer creates an original design on the dog using favorite cartoons, heroes and other inspirations. It can take up to an entire year to prepare the dog for competition, Knippenberg said. The vegetable-based dyes are nontoxic and scissoring skills, grooming technique, color and design are being judged.
Knippenberg has been grooming dogs since 1991 and started creative grooming three years ago. “It’s an honor to be involved at this level in the grooming industry,” he said. “Competing in creative is not all about the win for me. I intend on using this great platform to bring more awareness to animal rescue and therapy animal programs. In the near future, I will be starting a group called K-9’s for Christ.” He is working with First Wesleyan Church in Cresaptown.
The documentary “Doggy Sty-ling” aired in the U.K. in December and is scheduled to come to the U.S. in the near future, Knippenberg said. He is preparing to compete in additional national shows including the Hershey Groom Expo in September.