Timaru groomer one of top dogs

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A Timaru dog-groomer can claim to be among the best in the business after winning three awards in Auckland recently.
JR Alcantara, who competes individually and also as part of the New Zealand Groom Team, was second in the 2016 Groomalong competition morning gold class with a bouvier des flandres and won the afternoon gold class with a lakeland terrier.
Mr Alcantara was also named runner-up best in contest, missing top spot to one of his New Zealand team-mates, Emma Case, of Christchurch.
Mr Alcantara, formerly of Los Angeles, has settled in Timaru, where dog-grooming was very much a part of his life.
He has set up a business and is working towards his next big competition with New Zealand team-mates, in Europe. The team comprises Mr Alcantara, Ms Case, Arlene Hawkyard, of Wellington, Matilda Van Rynberk, of Auckland, and Tracy Loomes, of Christchurch.
Mr Alcantara said he started working for a dog groomer when he was 13.
‘‘It’s developed into a career and it’s amazing.’’
The industry had its challenges for Mr Alcantara and anyone else wanting to break into the industry, because there was no schooling for people who wanted to learn, he said.
‘‘If you liked poodles, you would go and work for someone who specialised in poodles.’’
However, the industry has made some improvements.
‘‘Now we have a National Dog Grooming Association of New Zealand, and [it does] offer certification towards a master groomer’s certification.’’