Member of GroomTeam USA Top Ten: 2008 - 2013 Traveling Team: 3
Retired from the Ring in 2013
Irina “Pina” Pinkusevich immigrated from the Ukraine in 1989. She realized her passion as a Pet Stylist while working part-time as a bather. In the earlier part of her career Irina worked as a Pet Stylist at some of the most high-end grooming salons in New York. Looking to improve her skills & expand her horizons, Irina entered the world of Competitive Grooming in 2006. In her competitive career Irina has won multiple BIS & Best All Around Groomer awards. She is a two time recipient of the Lynne Carver Award for most Best All Around Groomer wins in 2008 & 2010. Irina was also honored to win the Liz Paul Memorial Award for the most Best in Show wins in 2010. She is the winner of the Winner’s Circle Jackpot 2011 where she won $32,500 for grooming Lucas, her champion American Cocker Spaniel.
Irina was a member of GroomTeam USA from 2008 through 2013. She competed in the World Championships for the United States in 2009, 2011, & 2013 helping the U.S.team bring home a Silver & two Golds. Currently, Irina is a national & international judge & lecturer as well as an ambassador for Oster Professional Grooming Products. Irina was recently awarded the Cardinal Crystal Award for Judge of the Year 2014 & the Barkleigh Honors Award for Up & Coming Speaker of the Year 2014.
Irina is a National Certified Master Groomer (NCMG) with the National Dog Groomers of America. She is also a Certifier for their company.
Dedicated to improving the industry, Irina teaches at Merryfield School of Pet Grooming in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She travels the world educating through conferences & seminars.
Irina is associated with Kiyara Poodles. Owned by Michael Lamb & Bill Jividen Jr., Kiyara, is one of the top Miniature Poodle kennels in the United States. With Kiyara, Irina has bred & co-owned numerous champion Poodles.
Representing the United States in Germany, Belgium, and Spain where our team won Silver & two Golds. Being asked to judge the World Competition 2015 in Italy.
What is your favorite breed of dog to groom?
American Cocker Spaniel, Poodle, and Kerry Blue Terrier
What is your favorite breed of dog to live with?
American Cocker Spaniel, my boy Lucas in particular.
What advice can you offer to aspiring pet professionals?
I would tell them to be true to themselves and follow their and dreams; this industry can be difficult but so very rewarding if you are doing what you love. Invest in yourselves: attend educational seminars, grooming competitions, and dog shows. Buy the best equipment you can afford; read everything you can about the breeds you love and work with - keep learning... always!
What do you love to do when you are not working?
I don’t know. I’m always working: grooming, dog shows, seminars, judging, teaching…OMG, I need a vacation!!
What driving force keeps you going?
I find teaching to be extremely rewarding…I love seeing when a student “gets it”!
What one thing really ticks you off?
Closed minded people unwilling to learn new things.