Rob Altamura’s Story – Cancer Survivor & New Groomer

October 31st, 2019 by Iman Admin
“The dogs kept me going,” said Rob Altamura. I am a groomer thanks to Paragon.”

Rob grew up in the construction business, following in his family’s footsteps, until a cancer diagnosis in 2013 brought his world to a screeching halt. At the age of 44, unable to work and fighting colon cancer, Rob was exhausted. “It was a nightmare,” he said.

During the long days home recovering, his wife Bonny was running their small business, “Paw Printz Mobile Pet Styling,” and traveling around Rochester, New York, grooming dogs. Rob said he started grooming his own dogs and learning tricks from his wife but wasn’t able to do much during recovery. He subscribed to the video subscription and started soaking in the information. Slowly, he started going out with Bonny and grooming alongside her.

“That’s where my confidence got spiked,” he said. “The night before the groom she would go through the process with me. I would always reference back to the videos.”

Rob continued to push through biannual chemotherapy while working with Bonny, expanding the business as well as his expertise within the grooming industry. However, 2016 brought another cancer diagnosis. During his recovery from this second bout, Bonny was hospitalized with a back injury that took her away from the business, leaving Rob to continue grooming solo.

“I always say that I was thrown to the wolves,” Rob said. “Honestly if it wasn’t for the videos, we would have probably been out of business. I didn’t realize how much I knew and learned.”

Now, both in recovery, the couple recently attended a Pet Expo, where they met the video instructors and were able to tell their story. Rob was able to get his shirt signed by the people the inspired him to keep doing what he loved.

“Mark, Melissa, Lisa, Judy are my heroes,” he said, thinking about the expo and meeting the people who spread their knowledge of grooming to his family. “I was so excited. I about hit the floor, They are like super heroes to me. I don’t think they will ever know the impact they had on me. I want to stress how much this means to me and Bonny, I want the whole team to know that everything I do from this point out is due to them.”

Both Rob and Bonny now have their own clients and are looking to expand their business with a second van. They credit the videos as their inspiration to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity.

“Dog grooming saved his life,” Bonny said, tearing up with emotion as she and Rob told their story. “It helped him pick himself up and survive.”