Keeley is doggedly determined in her career choice

Keeley of Claws 2 Paws in Hemel Hempstead
Keeley of Claws 2 Paws in Hemel Hempstead

Keeley Wicking didn’t let any obstacles put her off her dream of being a dog groomer.

Now, after a series of knock backs, persistence and the help of family and friends, Keeley, 24, has finally got to open the dog grooming shop of her dreams.

Claws 2 Paws at Unit 1, The Nokes in Hemel Hempstead’s Gadebridge, has been given a revamp and upbeat Keeley has 100 per cent confidence in herself.

“I am 24 with a little girl who is two,” said Keeley. “After leaving school at 16 I never had thought that I would be where I am today. I am very proud of myself.”

When Keeley left school there were no college courses in her dream subject and she set about contacting every dog groomer around the area, but no-one wanted to teach her.

She didn’t have the money or the means of transport to attend courses many miles away.

So she applied for a Christmas job at Currys and ended up working there for three years – but her dream was only on hold.

Then a breakthrough came when she received a call from a local dog groomer who was looking for someone to work for her so she could semi-retire. She volunteered there for nine months until being offered a paid job.

She left in 2011 to have her little girl, Ronnie-Jo.

Keeley said: “My dream has always been to get my own shop and knew I would do it one day because I am a strong person and very passionate about everything that I do. I have worked very hard to get where I am today and with the help from my family and friends I have made Claws 2 Paws.

Keeley is an animal lover who comes from a family of dog lovers. She has two dogs of her own,Treacle the border terrier and Mackie the sprocker spaniel, who won a Gazette best pet competition a few years ago.

She said she didn’t know why she loved dogs so much. “Perhaps it’s because they don’t answer back,” she joked.

“I’ve always been brought up with dogs. My whole family are dog lovers. Between us we have Yorkshire terriers and Yorkshire terrier crosses, spaniels, border terriers, pugs, Jack Russell and a Irish wolfhound.”

Now up and running for about six weeks, Keeley is concentrating on drumming up more business. A big pile of leaflets are ready to go.