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Experimenting with Stripping Knives

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Video DescriptionAbout Marc LaFleurAbout Melissa VerplankAbout Sarah Hawks


24 minutes, 36 seconds



Sometimes the best lessons have no structure. That’s exactly what was happening when we were with respected hand-stripping expert; Sarah Hawks. We were filming for a very different project to be released in the upcoming months. We were in the middle of a very enlightening conversation about stripping knives when it hit us. Our Learn2GroomDogs members could really get a lot out of this discussion! We opted to quickly turn on the camera and continue to chat with the camera rolling. Guess what? It worked! Join us as Sarah talks stripping knives and hand-stripping techniques.

In this video you will learn:

  • How to tell the difference between right hand and left hand stripping knives
  • What type of knife removes the most coat
  • How to turn a comb into a rake to remove undercoat
  • How to correctly pull coat
  • How hand-stripping can be therapeutic

Melissa Verplank

Certifications: CMG

Melissa Verplank - CMG, has over 30 years’ experience in the pet grooming industry. Her mastery of grooming techniques has won her numerous awards on a national & international level earning her the right to become a team member on GroomTeam USA. She has been the GroomTeam Coordinator and currently sits on the Board of GroomTeam USA. Ms. Verplank is an industry speaker, author, two time Cardinal Crystal Achievement award winner, Barkleigh Honors award winner and contest grooming judge.

During her formative years she ran a fleet of mobile grooming units and a busy grooming salon. In 1992, Verplank founded one of the Midwest's largest and progressive pet styling training centers; The Paragon School of Pet Grooming Inc. in Jenison, Michigan. Ms. Verplank realized the need for quality training and reference materials. To meet that need she created White Dog Enterprises Inc., a business which develops creative learning products for the professional pet stylist. The leading products for this company are Notes From the Grooming Table, The Theory of Five, and core-skill method training videos geared to training professional pet groomers. In 2007 she opened Whiskers Resort & Pet Spa. The resort has become the premier boarding facility in the west Michigan area offering luxury accommodations for boarding, daycare, grooming, and pet training. In 2010, Melissa launched her latest educational business,, an on-line streaming video library of educational material for all levels of professional pet grooming and styling.

Most recently, Melissa has earned the 2016 Barkleigh Honors Award for Book of the Year with the release of the second edition of Notes From the Grooming Table.  Her website, also was its third consecutive Barkleigh Honors Award for Website of the Year.

Sarah Hawks

Sarah Hawks began her grooming career in 1979 when she was hired as a bather in a shop in Newark DE. She quickly learned the basics and after 3 years of service, she opened Dog Works by Sarah, In 1988, Sarah tested and became Delaware’s first Certified Master Groomer with the National Dog Groomers of America Association.

Sarah became well-known for her hand stripping and Terrier grooming ability, and she continues to be sought out for her expertise. Sarah’s skills at grooming have made her a champion in the competition ring. Starting in 1992, Sarah’s place as one of the top groomers was established. It is because of this grooming expertise that she has become a certifier for the NDGAA.

Sarah has earned many of the highest achievements for professional grooming including multiple “Best in Show” and “Best All Around Groomer” awards. Her grooming salon is filled with colorful ribbons, trophies and plaques from years of competition. She has also earned the coveted Cardinal Crystal Achievement Awards for “Judge of the Year,” which is one of the industry’s top awards. Sarah’s career has allowed her to travel around the world representing the United States.

Sarah’s first love is Sealyham Terriers and she has owned many champions. Sarah also breeds Sealyhams and welcomes inquiries about her Terriers. Sarah’s expertise on hand stripping has been the subject of many training videos and seminars. She works closely with world class professional handler and breeder Margery Good, the 2010 AKC Terrier Group Breeder of the Year. You will always find a Sealyham at Dog Works by Sarah.


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